State Rep. Mark Tisdel is spearheading a plan to bolster transparency for key state agreements.
Tisdel, R-Rochester Hills, in June sponsored House Bill 4828, which would require the state to record and disclose memoranda of understanding — informal yet important agreements between Michigan and other governments, entities, or individuals. Tisdel said increased transparency will help Michiganders, legislators, and future governors evaluate the agreements and shape state policy accordingly.
“Michiganders should be able to see clearly into the inner workings of their state government — especially when our state is collaborating with other countries or states,” Tisdel said. “In the past, state officials have approved major agreements away from the public eye, but thorough record-keeping and full transparency will let citizens and lawmakers review these decisions. My plan will let in some sunshine so the people of Michigan and their representatives are not in the dark about our state’s national and international relationships.”
Memoranda of understanding can be used to partner Michigan with other states, nations, organizations, or individuals but current law does not require any clear record-keeping or disclosure of the agreements. Several years ago, a memorandum between Michigan and Canada dealing with trash was not readily available and was found only after more than a year of searching. Although memoranda of understanding are not binding, legislators tasked with overseeing state agencies and crafting state law should be informed. Without transparency, the people’s representatives will be unable to account for the agreements in their decision-making.
Under Tisdel’s plan, any memorandum of understanding signed by the governor would be filed in the Office of the Great Seal, posted online on the Department of State website, and sent to legislative leaders.
In 2021, the Legislature approved an identical proposal with broad, bipartisan support, but the governor vetoed the bill.
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