Bipartisan plan limits conflicts of interest and increases standards for ethical behavior
The Michigan House today approved a package of reforms to the state’s outdated ethics and transparency laws. The bills are the product of two years of bipartisan conversations and negotiations at the state Capitol and months of work drafting and amending legislation led by lead bill sponsor Rep. Andrew Fink, of Adams Township, and Ethics Committee Chair Ann Bollin, of Brighton Township.
“The simple truth is people are losing faith in their government, and the problem gets a little worse every day,” said Wentworth. “We need to listen to what the people are telling us and start fixing the broken culture in the halls of government. This package of bills addresses some of the biggest concerns people have shared with me and gives all of us more peace of mind that our public servants are truly working for us.”
The House had already passed an expansion of the Freedom of Information Act and reformed the controversial ‘lame duck’ legislative session. Other ethics reforms passed today, including the following:
- New penalties for illegal gifts
- Lobbying disclosures
- Raising ethical standards for legislators and lobbyists, including on conflicts of interest
- New penalties for legislators who fail to show up for the job or act unethically
- Financial disclosures for lawmakers and state officers
- Closing the “revolving door” for legislators and heads of departments
- Permanent, equally bipartisan ethics committees in the Legislature to investigate public complaints and ensure compliance.
Each of the bills passed the House with bipartisan majorities and will now move to the state Senate for consideration.
Speaker of the House Jason Wentworth and state Rep. Karen Whitsett today announced a plan to spend $15 million in state funding supporting community policing in the City of Detroit and beyond.
Speaker Wentworth says the 2022 state budget approved this past week by the Michigan House, with bipartisan support, reflects a House commitment to send a plan to the Governor by July 1, and that he is hopeful the Senate will move the budget this week.