Panel votes to open governor, lawmakers to records requests

The state Capitol in Lansing, Mich.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Legislation advancing in the Michigan House would subject the governor and lawmakers to public-records requests.

The bipartisan bills were approved Thursday by a Republican-led House committee. The votes set the stage for passage in the House next week during Sunshine Week — a celebration of access to public information.

Advocates have said Michigan is one of just two states to wholly exempt the governor from open-records laws. It’s among eight states where the legislature is explicitly exempt. The legislation would exempt communications between legislators and their constituents from being disclosed, except if the constituent is a lobbyist.

Once the bills clear the House, they will face opposition in the GOP-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof opposes efforts to subject the governor’s office and the Legislature to open-records requests.