Members of the House Republican Caucus introduced legislation they believe will make Michigan government more transparent to residents. The twelve-bill package would extend state open records laws to include the executive office and the legislature, require key staff officials to disclose their finances, makes changes to conflict of interest requirements, and prohibits lawmakers and other officials from becoming lobbyists immediately after leaving office. Specifics within the proposal include:
- Subject the governor, lieutenant governor, and legislature to open records requests. Michigan is currently only one of two states whose Freedom of Information Act doesn’t allow citizens to obtain government records from these officials.
- Proposal 1 required the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and legislators to disclose finances publicly. This package would require annual reporting describing their assets and liabilities; sources of earned and unearned income; positions held in certain organizations; agreements for future employment; and gifts and travel payments from lobbyists.
- Expands the current conflict of interest laws to prohibit a legislator from voting on any measure that would provide a substantial financial benefit particular to them, immediate family members, or a person or entity to whom the legislator owes a legal or financial obligation. Bipartisan ethics committees in both chambers would ensure compliance.
The bill package was referred to the House Ethics and Oversight Committee for consideration.