LANSING – State Representative Andy Schor (D-Lansing) introduced House Bill 4828, which would require the state Legislature to create a bipartisan, bicameral ethics committee. The eight member committee would be empowered to investigate any complaints of unethical conduct by any legislator, officer or employee of the Legislature.
“Recently, we have seen a number of situations that have called into question the actions of Michigan legislators,” Schor said. “Allegations in these situations are very serious and need to be handled without regard to political considerations. The House and Senate business offices do a fine non-partisan job, but still report to partisan leaders. We need a committee of legislators, four from each party representing both chambers, which can oversee these investigations and decide whether law enforcement is needed to be brought in to investigate allegations of law breaking.”
The bipartisan committee would consist of eight members – two appointed by the Speaker of the House, two appointed by the House Minority Leader, two appointed by the Senate Majority Leader, and two appointed by the Senate Minority Leader. After receiving a complaint, the committee could allow either the House or Senate non-partisan business offices to conduct the investigation, can involve an outside entity if needed, or could bring in the Attorney General or other law enforcement. After investigating a complaint the committee would issue a report and recommendations to the members of both chambers. Any recommendations and report outline would have to be approved by a majority vote of the committee.
The committee is also tasked with reporting any evidence to appropriate law enforcement agencies if the evidence show wrongdoing on the part of the individual investigated.
“The United States Congress has this system, and it is a good model,” Schor said. “With all of the recent situations that we have seen here in Michigan, we clearly need a process to handle complaints and allegations.”