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House committee expected to OK bills to toughen ethics standards for lawmakers

A photograph of the exterior of Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

A state House committee is expected to vote Tuesday on bills that would set tougher ethics standards for lawmakers.

The package has bipartisan support and it’s expected the bills will be sent to the House floor.

The legislation would require both the House and the Senate to create bipartisan ethics committees, with the chairmanship rotating between Republicans and Democrats every six months.The committees would be equally divided between Republicans and Democrats so their decisions would have to be bipartisan.

Republican Representative Andrew Fink says that would help ensure better behavior between elections.

“Ultimately, the people determine whether the Legislature has been ethical because every two years, they can fire us if they don’t think we have been, but in the meantime, this gives us some tools.”

The committees would investigate complaints and recommend punishment if a lawmaker is found to have done something unethical.

The House Republican and Democratic leaders have agreed these kinds of ethics standards are a priority.

But the Senate leadership is not on board yet.  

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.