[Photo of Michael J. Reitz]

Michael J. Reitz

Executive Vice President

Michael J. Reitz is executive vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, where he oversees execution of the Center's strategic plan. The Mackinac Center is an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute based in Midland, Michigan, with the mission of improving the quality of life for all Michigan citizens by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions.

Prior to joining the Mackinac Center in 2012, Reitz spent eight years with the Freedom Foundation in Washington state as its general counsel and director of labor policy. Reitz established the Freedom Foundation’s Theodore L. Stiles Center for Liberty, where he litigated for accurate elections, defended the First Amendment rights of individuals, fought against governmental abuses of power and wrote extensively on constitutional law. Reitz championed a number of reforms to modify public-sector collective bargaining and to protect workers from coercive union monopolies.

An advocate of accountable government, Reitz has worked actively to promote transparency in state and local government, serving on the board of the Michigan Coalition for Open Government, a nonprofit organization that educates citizens about their rights to access public records and attend public meetings. While in Washington state, Reitz led a research and litigation effort to expose the governor's secretive practice of withholding records under claims of executive privilege.   

Reitz frequently comments on public policy issues and has been cited by The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Seattle Times and other publications. He is a co-author of "To Protect and Maintain Individual Rights," a reference guide to the Declaration of Rights in the Washington Constitution. Reitz received his law degree from Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy. He is a member of the Washington bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Work Hard

Transparency Bills A “Significant Step Forward”

Reitz interviewed by Michigan Radio … more

Mackinac Center and Sierra Club Call For More Transparency in Michigan Government

Joint Free Press op-ed explains transparency efforts … more

On Persuasion

Flint Shows Importance of Open Government

Reitz in The Detroit News … more

Public Records and the Office of the Governor

FOIA lessons from the rest of the states … more

Liberty Depends on Clearly Defined Laws

It's Time to Expand Public Records Transparency

It's time to expand public records transparency … more

Mackinac Center Subject of SEIU Protest

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association at issue … more

Michigan Legislature Unanimously Passes Criminal Intent Reform

Gov. Snyder expected to sign HB 4713 … more

Mackinac Center Praises Michigan Legislature’s Passage of Criminal Intent Bill

Reforms make it harder to prosecute people for unknowingly committing crimes … more

Legislature Actively Considers Criminal Justice Reforms

The Idea of Liberty

Criminal Intent Reform Bill Clears Senate Committee

Now awaiting final action in the Senate … more

Fixing Detroit Schools – Five Principles

Criminal Intent Op-ed in the Detroit News

Executive Vice President Mike Reitz and Sen. Orrin Hatch advocate reform … more

Fixing Detroit Schools – Five Principles

The right approach could benefit students and protect taxpayers … more

Michigan Must Seize Opportunities for Criminal Justice Reform

Finding Agreement in Criminal Justice Reform

Sound priorities on sound policies for all … more

State Media Features Overcriminalization Fight

Mackinac Center partners with ACLU, others … more

Reitz Testifies on Overcriminalization, Mens Rea

Prepared Testimony Regarding House Bill 4713, House Oversight and Ethics … more

Midland Daily News Features Mackinac Center Partnerships

Joining organizations across the spectrum … more

Reitz Quoted on Criminal Justice Reform Efforts

Addressing overcriminalization and civil asset forfeiture … more

The Assault on Free Speech

Reitz Letter to the Editor Published in The Detroit News

Responding to allegations made earlier this week … more

Reitz Quoted on Transparency in Michigan Press

Detroit officials using private emails for business … more

Gov. Snyder Announces Criminal Justice Reforms

Uses Center's research to make case for reforms … more

House Considers Repealing Outdated Crimes

Current crimes include walkathons and reproachful language. … more

House Republicans Announce Criminal Justice Reforms

The state should repeal antiquated and unnecessary criminal laws. … more

Crime, Crime, Everywhere a Crime

Modernizing the Open Meetings Act

Michigan Law Revision Commission takes step forward. … more

Overcriminalizing the Wolverine State: A Primer and Possible Reforms for Michigan

(Editor’s note: This paper was co-authored with James R. Copland and Isaac Gorodetski and jointly published with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research).
At present, Michigan’s vast, disorganized criminal law inherently places the Wolverine State’s residents at risk of unintentionally violating a growing array of regulatory crimes that are difficult to discover and understand. The complexity of administrating such a criminal code threatens to divert scarce resources away from the enforcement of serious violent and property crimes. This study analyzes the size and scope of Michigan’s criminal law and makes policy recommendations aimed at curbing this “overcriminalization.” … more

Government Transparency Bill Stalled in Senate

Michigan House passed bill six months ago. … more

Supreme Court Ends ‘Dues Skim’ Nationwide

Center Files Brief at U.S. Supreme Court

Urges justices to take up free speech case. … more

Supreme Court Reviews Forced Unionization

Asset Forfeiture Laws Threaten Property Rights

Center statement on House Bills 5230 and 5233. … more

Sunshine Week 2014

Vague Criminal Laws Threaten Individual Liberty and Burden the Justice System

Criminal Minds: Defining Culpability in Michigan Criminal Law

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy recently published “Criminal Minds: Defining Culpability in Michigan Criminal Law,” which addresses the element of intent in Michigan statutes and case law. The policy brief is authored by Mackinac Center Executive Vice President Michael Reitz.
Conviction of a crime traditionally required a combination of a wrongful act and criminal intent. But frequently the criminal code is used for regulatory purposes, and those laws often omit a requirement that the prosecution prove the existence of criminal intent for a conviction to occur. Consequently, individuals can be charged, convicted and imprisoned for committing crimes without possessing a culpable state of mind — often for behavior a reasonable person would not think of as criminal.
The policy brief proposes a reform that would clarify the element of intent in criminal statutes. If the Legislature enacts a criminal statute that is silent on intent, a default intent provision would be incorporated. Such a reform could make for a more orderly criminal justice system and protect the rights of individuals. … more

Criminal Minds: The Importance of Defining Intent in Criminal Statutes

This Issues and Ideas Forum features Paul Larkin of the Heritage Foundation, Marc Levin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Michael Reitz of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy who will discuss the need to define intent in Michigan criminal statutes. … more

Shoulders of Giants

Center Focusing on Government Transparency

Mother May I?

Center Focusing on Government Transparency

FOIA, Open Meetings Act need updating for 21st century. … more