Senators goal DIA, Detroit Zoo with public information, open meetings charges

The Detroit Institute of Arts and the Detroit Zoo would have to comply with general public records requests and hold open meetings below legislation introduced Tuesday in the Michigan Senate. 

The expenditures from Metro Detroit Sens. Jim Runestad and Ruth Johnson would amend the state’s Open up Meetings Act and Liberty of Data Act to include the Detroit establishments since they acquire taxpayer funds via regional operating millages. 

“With public funding, comes general public accountability,” Runestad, a White Lake Republican, said in a statement. “Voters in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties lead thousands and thousands to the DIA and Detroit Zoological Culture on a yearly basis as a result of their residence taxes, earning up a significant portion of the functioning budgets for these institutions. It is incumbent on the Legislature to need that conclusions designed on taxpayer bucks are finished in the open.”

Johnson, R-Holly, echoed Runestad and argued that both of those institutions have “an obligation to be clear with taxpayers.”

“Our bills would apply the identical laws that other general public bodies previously adhere to and would make obtainable for community critique their fiscal dealings which include contracts, loan agreements, workers reimbursements and journey expenditures,” she said in a statement. 

The bills, which have only Republican co-sponsors, were referred to the Senate Oversight Committee. 

The DIA and Detroit Zoo did not respond to requests for remark. 

The DIA and Detroit Zoo’s skill to sidestep transparency steps these types of as community records and open meetings laws has been a level of contention in modern several years as the establishments have handed operating millages to fund their enterprises.