Today, Speaker Jason Wentworth announced that the House has adopted new, stronger rules on handling severance packages – rules that go far above and beyond changes the Governor made for the executive branch and even further than proposed legislation on the issue would require.
“If we expect the people of Michigan to trust their government, we have to be open, honest, and transparent with their money and how we operate. No government office should be able to rely on secret deals with employees using taxpayer dollars—it’s simply not right, and we’re going to make sure it never happens in the House,” Speaker Wentworth said. “This Legislature is determined to gain the trust of the people we represent by bringing in a strong new era of openness and accountability to state government.”
Under the new House policy on severances:
- Severance pay cannot exceed six weeks of compensation unless it’s part of a legal settlement that would save taxpayers money in the long run.
- The House must publish an annual summary of severance agreements greater than six weeks, including dates and amounts.
- The House cannot prevent employees from talking about their agreements or acknowledging the existence of the agreements.
Under Rep. John Roth’s proposed legislation:
- State employee severance pay cannot exceed twelve weeks of compensation unless it’s part of a legal settlement that would save taxpayers money in the long run.
- State officers will not receive severances except to settle legal claims, and even then, pay cannot exceed twelve weeks of compensation.
- State offices must publish on their website a summary of severance agreements greater than twelve weeks, including dates and amounts.
- The state cannot prevent employees from talking about their agreements or acknowledging the existence of the agreements.
- The state cannot enter into nondisclosure agreements with state officers.
“The Governor’s recent directive did not go nearly far enough and the potential for abuse still exists. We are going to fix the problem for all of state government with Rep. Roth’s proposed legislation and then hold ourselves to an even higher standard in the House,” the Speaker said. “That is the sort of accountability and transparency the people expect of us and that will rebuild the people’s trust in their state government.”
Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth today announced an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to work on a plan to create a permanent role for the Legislature in all future state pandemic emergency orders and to withdraw the permanent MIOSHA rules the governor has proposed, in addition to the earlier announcement giving everyone a date certain for ending COVID-19 restrictions.
The Michigan House and Senate today introduced a new plan to make dam repairs and improvements an even bigger priority at the state Capitol. The planned changes include $500 million in new funding for safety upgrades, dam repairs, restoring lake levels and replacements of aging facilities, along with stronger requirements increasing public involvement in future emergencies.