LANSING, Mich., May 10, 2022 — This morning, the Michigan House of Representatives voted to approve a proposal to amend the state constitution to require elected officials to file an annual financial disclosure report and to modify term limits.
Michigan is one of only two states in the nation that does not require some sort of financial disclosure from politicians. Under this proposal, all members of the Legislature, as well as the governor, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general and the secretary of state would all be required to file an annual report containing information on income, debts, positions held in outside entities, and contributions from lobbyists. Said reports would be made publicly available online.
Additionally, the proposed amendment would modify term limits for Michigan legislators. Currently, a legislator can serve up to three two-year terms in the House of Representatives and two four-year terms in the Senate, for a total of 14 years. This amendment would shorten the total amount of time a person can serve to 12 years, regardless of which chamber they’re in. For example, a legislator could choose to serve their entire 12 years in either the House or the Senate, or they may choose to divide their 12 years between the two. The amendment proposes a compromise between those who would like to see more experienced legislators maintain office, while still preventing career politicians from taking over our Legislature.
“I am so glad to have voted to approve this amendment today,” state Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit) said. “Not only would this amendment increase transparency in our state government and make for a more ethical Legislature through the requirement of public financial disclosure — it also makes for a more effective Legislature through the modification of our term limits. Flexible term limits allow legislators to better serve the people of Michigan, as they’re able to focus less on their next jobs, and more on their constituents. Similarly, more experienced legislators are able to enact better policy, as they have full knowledge of the resources, rules and processes by which to move and pass legislation through the chambers, expertise less-tenured legislators often lack. This amendment is a great step towards improving our state’s government.”
While this proposed amendment was approved by the House, this vote is only the first step in the process. All amendments to the state constitution require voter approval, meaning voters will have the opportunity to have their say on the matter when this proposal is on the ballot in November.