State Rep. Bronna Kahle helped introduce a sweeping, bipartisan reform plan today that will greatly improve ethics and transparency laws for government officials.
The comprehensive list of reforms includes improvements to public record laws, ethical standards, financial disclosure requirements, bans on conflicts of interest, and more.
“People are losing faith in their elected leaders,” said Kahle, of Adrian. “Government shouldn’t operate under a cloak of darkness. I am committed to restoring confidence in the process by holding elected officials fully accountable.”
Some of the reforms announced today have already begun moving in the state Legislature, including the expansion of the Freedom of Information Act and changes to the “lame duck” legislative session.
Other reforms are new, including gift restrictions, lobbying disclosures, new penalties for state legislators who fail to show up for the job or act unethically, and establish permanent, independent ethics committees in the Legislature to investigate complaints and ensure compliance.
Kahle’s bill in the package expands lobbying disclosures. While under current law, lobbyists must disclose money spent to lobby state officials, they do not have to do the same for the influential staff of those officials.
“My legislation will close this loophole by adding all policy-making staff in the Legislature and governor’s office to the list of ‘lobbyable officials’ in state law,” Kahle said. “I have heard from so many people that are sick and tired of the same old political games from their government. They want higher standards and real accountability. The bureaucrats should always answer to the people for the decisions they make, and those decisions should always be made in a transparent way.”
The proposed reforms were referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee for consideration.
State Rep. Bronna Kahle, of Adrian, today delivered testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in support of her bipartisan plan to provide legal protections to young people who are victims of human trafficking.