MI Senate adopts bills to require financial disclosures from state lawmakers, elected officials
The state Legislature has begun adopting bills to require lawmakers to disclose financial information and potential conflicts of interest. The main bill passed the Michigan Senate Wednesday on a bipartisan vote of 36 to 2.
Senator Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) chairs the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and is one of the bill sponsors. He said Michigan needs to lift itself from having some the weakest ethics and financial disclosure standards in the country. The bills would apply to state elected officials and candidates. That includes the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and legislators.
“You will know what someone’s income was the previous year and where their income came from,” he said. “You will know if there is something in their financial portfolio that provides a conflict to the bills that they’re introducing and the bills that they’re voting on.”
The disclosure rules would include investment income such as stocks, annuities and pensions, trips financed by lobbyists or special interests and positions with outside organizations such as not-for-profit boards.
They’re required by an amendment to the Michigan Constitution approved by voters last year.
Senator Mark Huizenga (R-Walker) said the wide support for Proposal 1 shows voters don’t think it’s enough for elected officials to police themselves. And he says lawmakers should not be afraid of that.
“We do have conflicts and let’s acknowledge them,” he said. “I’ve declared that I’ve had a conflict even this year prior to this. It’s a great exercise that says we stand for what’s right and we want to make sure that we're standing up for what our constituents expect from us, and that’s transparency.”
The bills now go to the Michigan House.