LANSING — Michigan ranks dead last in the nation for government transparency according to the Center for Public Integrity’s most recent study, due in part to its lack of some form of personal financial disclosure for state elected officials.  Last month, state Rep. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) led a bipartisan group of legislators to introduce an 8-bill package aimed at screening for conflicts of interest in elected officials’ personal finances. Today the package was taken up for testimony in House Elections and Ethics Committee.

“As we continue our work together to improve transparency and restore the trust of Michigan citizens, we must keep one thing in mind,” LaGrand said. “We are here to serve the people of Michigan. We can’t do our jobs effectively if we don’t earn their trust. These changes will ensure the voters know that their elected officials are putting them first, and while I believe every one of my colleagues comes to work with that in mind, actions speak louder than words. I am committed to seeing this through.”

The legislation balances the rights of citizens to know about potential conflicts of interest with the privacy of candidates and elected officials. Governor Whitmer, Secretary of State Benson, Voters Not Politicians, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, and Sierra Club of Michigan have all voiced their support for the package.