Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) will not allow full capacity at high school graduation ceremonies this year, despite rapidly declining COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide.
Thursday, she vetoed legislation that would have exempted high schools from the state’s 50 percent capacity limit on indoor gatherings, according to Detroit News.
The governor also vetoed a bill that would have forced the state to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests even during state-designated emergencies.
Whitmer suspended public records requests last April for 60 days, saying that she wanted to protect public officials in the state who were dealing with “an exceptionally frightening and uncertain moment in Michigan’s history.”
The governor has recently faced increased scrutiny for a lack of transparency into her administration.
At the end of March, she vetoed a bill that would have curbed the power of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) during emergencies. Before that, she found herself under fire after the resignation of MDHHS head Robert Gordon, who left under unclear circumstances with a $155,000 taxpayer-funded severance package in February, and a confidentiality agreement.
“I am calling on the Department today to release to the public the separation agreement between Governor Whitmer’s administration and former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon as well as any other similar agreements made with other public officials,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Johnson (R-MI-72) wrote in a letter to MDHHS at the time.
Later, Whitmer signed an executive order protecting her power to part with state employees confidentially.
She was also questioned for handing out a no-bid state contract for contact-tracing to a Democratic firm.
Johnson blasted Whitmer for the latest veto, saying that she is “more concerned with her power than with being transparent.” The bill had bipartisan support in both the state House and Senate.
“It’s sad that the governor is turning her back on her campaign pledge to increase government transparency,” Johnson continued. “Transparency is especially important at this time and we will continue to be an advocate for transparency.”
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Michigan Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to email@example.com