Michigan's woeful record on government transparency one of nation's worst

Jun 24, 2013

As NSA leaker Edward Snowden makes his way from Moscow to, what sounds like, Cuba or Venezuela today, the debate across the country continues over government transparency and what sorts of things the public has a right to know about its government’s actions.

Much less robust, however, is the conversation here in Michigan about transparency and open records at the state and local level. Yet, it is an important one, as Michigan is one of the least open states in the country. In 2012, this state earned a failing grade and was ranked 44th out of 50 states in a State Integrity Investigation conducted by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International. And there are two bills making their way through the legislature that, open records advocates say, will make Michigan’s court system even less transparent.

Jane Briggs-Bunting is the executive director of the Michigan Coalition for Open Government. She’s also an attorney, a former Free-Press reporter and the former director of MSU’s School of Journalism.  Patrick Clawson is a former CNN investigative reporter and currently an open government advocate based in Flint. They join us to detail Michigan's dismal record of government transparency.