Across the country, Sunshine Week is celebrated each March to highlight the importance of transparency and accountability at all levels of government. March 12-18 marked the occasion this year, so it was the perfect time to introduce legislation to make our state government more transparent and accountable to the people of Michigan.
I was proud to co-sponsor the 12-bill government reform plan, contained in HBs 4261-4272.
The plan provides greater transparency and firmer ethical standards by:
- Opening state records: Michigan is currently one of two states whose Freedom of Information Act does not allow citizens to obtain government records from the Legislature or Governor’s office. Our plan would subject the governor, lieutenant governor, and legislators to open records requests.
- Disclosing officials’ finances: With two-thirds of voters in support, the people of Michigan overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to require the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and legislators to disclose their finances publicly. The new legislation would implement Proposal 1 and require state officials to file an annual report describing their assets and liabilities; sources of earned and unearned income; positions held in organizations other than religious, political, social, and fraternal entities; agreements for future employment, continued or deferred payments from past or current employers, and other employment arrangements; and gifts and travel payments from lobbyists.
- Eliminating conflicts of interest: Our plan would expand current conflict of interest laws to prohibit a lawmaker from voting on any measure that would provide a substantial financial benefit particular to the legislator, an immediate family member, or a person or entity to whom the legislator owes a legal or financial obligation. Bipartisan ethics committees in the House and Senate would ensure legislators comply with the ethical requirements.
- Closing the revolving door: Former legislators and cabinet officials often take lobbying jobs soon after leaving office. In recent years, one legislator was lobbying in other states while still in office. The legislation would bar lawmakers from lobbying out of state while in office. Departing legislators and state department heads would be prohibited from becoming lobbyists for at least two years.
The bills have been referred to the House Committee on Ethics and Oversight for consideration.
March is Reading Month! This is one of my favorite times of the year, because it means I get to visit local elementary schools and read to students. So far, I visited Hutchings Elementary in Howell and H.T. Smith Elementary in Fowlerville. I’m looking forward to upcoming visits to Voyager Elementary in Howell, Round and Village elementary schools in Hartland, and Charyl Stockwell Academy in Howell.
Did you know that in addition to improving vocabulary, reading enhances memory and reduces stress levels? Difficulty with reading can lead to difficulty with all schoolwork. That’s why it’s so important to encourage our children to read, during March and throughout the year.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by calling (517) 373-3906 or emailing [email protected]. I am always happy to hear from people in our community.
The state’s Child Development and Care (CDC) Program, which provides payment assistance for child care to qualified families, has come under a lot of fire recently – especially after a Detroit Free Press report revealed recurring problems that have left providers unpaid and parents unexpectedly and sometimes erroneously without funds they had been promised for […]
The House Criminal Justice Committee recently approved a bipartisan plan I am working on to restore arbitration rights for sheriff’s deputies who work as corrections officers in Michigan. A labor strike involving public safety officials would pose a serious threat to community safety – which is why our state laws provide police officers and firefighters […]
I’m pleased to report that this week’s legislative update is full of progress. Several of the measures I have touched on in past weeks are advancing through the Legislature. On May 24, the House approved the bipartisan plan I co-sponsored to offer more support to sexual assault survivors and strengthen efforts to bring their abusers […]
The plan for next year’s state budget is making its way through the process, with the first votes in the House taking place this week. The budget has grown substantially in size since I first took office – going from $62.7 billion in 2021 to about $81.4 billion in the plan pushed through by the […]
© 2009 - 2023 Michigan House Republicans. All Rights Reserved.