Tyler’s Take: Plenty of sunshinePublished 7:27pm Thursday, March 17, 2011
Shortly after springing our clocks forward, we Michiganders always expect to see more daylight. Although the sun might not be streaming in our windows yet, this week it is shining bright on government transparency and openness as the nation celebrates “Sunshine Week.”
The idea for Sunshine Week started in 2002 when Florida legislators tried to create a number of exemptions to their state’s public records laws. Journalists rebelled, and so did the public. Florida newspaper editors exposed the efforts on “Sunshine Sunday” and the idea caught on as more states called for more accountability from lawmakers — demanding to know what the government was doing and why. National Sunshine Week was born in 2005.
As taxpayers, you have the right to know how your hard-earned money is spent. For many areas of our government, however, it is nearly impossible to find where your money is going and why.
The Michigan House of Representatives recognizes the need for more transparency in Michigan. To address this need, we recently opened the curtains on our own spending habits with a newly-redesigned website that provides as much financial transparency as possible.
Links on the redesigned website let residents easily find out how the Legislature is allocating tax dollars, including the salaries and benefits representatives and staff receive. There are also links to help residents easily track current budget bills, find information on committees and representatives, and watch live streams of House session and committee meetings. It is a great way for residents to stay up-to-date on issues and actions that may affect them.
As a lawmaker, I work for you. Transparency is an important part of keeping our working relationship at its best. Let’s let the sunshine in.
To visit the new and transparent House of Representatives website, go to www.house.mi.gov.
I look forward to hearing your comments on these important issues. Please feel free to contact me by calling (888) 373-0078 or e-mailing sharontyler@house. mi.gov.