MI SOS Urges Legislators To Adopt Transparency And Ethics Reform

Lansing, MI - Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson testified Thursday, June 22, 2023 before the House Ethics and Oversight Committee in support of legislation to implement government ethics reforms supported by a bipartisan majority of Michigan voters last November and urged legislators to take further action to increase government transparency.

“For too long, our state has been among the worst, if not the worst state in the nation when it comes to government transparency and ethics laws,” Secretary Benson said. “Voters want this to change. They made this clear by passing Proposal 1, requiring more transparency at the intersection of money and politics. What I am here to do today is to urge you to go above and beyond what the voters required, and to pass laws that the voters, and many of you, actually want.”

In her testimony, Benson also urged lawmakers to adopt several reforms including:

  • Expanding financial disclosure requirements to include candidates, supreme court justices, and other statewide elected officials like the education and university boards
  • Aligning state disclosure requirements with those used by the U.S. Congress
  • Creating penalties for noncompliance including fines, candidate disqualification, and prosecution
  • Closing the “revolving door” from government to lobbying by requiring a 1-year gap for all legislators and 2 years for committee chairs, the Speaker of the House, Senate Majority leader, and any statewide elected official
  • Making high-level staff subject to the same disclosure requirements as the elected officials and department heads for whom they work
  • Banning all gifts above the federal threshold to officials and their staff
  • Limiting the number of PACs and related fundraising entities a person can have and strengthening requirements for contributions and disclosure
  • Expanding the Freedom of Information Act to include the Governor’s office and members of the state Legislature
  • Strengthening enforcement capabilities to ensure elected leaders and candidates obey our laws

“While that may sound like a laundry list of regulations, the truth is that many of the laws are already in place in other states and at the federal level,” Benson said. “They are tried, tested, proven effective and can be easily modified to fit within our existing legal framework in Michigan. We can go from worst to first by simply implementing the national best practices that are in place elsewhere, thereby making Michigan a place where the practices of governing, legislating and leading is done with integrity by all involved and in accordance with the will of voters.”

Cookie Policy

This website uses cookies to improve your experience and to show you relevant advertising on our website. By accepting this OR scrolling this page OR continuing to browse, you agree to our privacy policy.