LANSING — After being unanimously reported from the House Commerce Committee last week, House Bills 5131 and 5132, sponsored by State Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), sailed through the full House today and are now bound for the Senate. Each of the bills would amend a separate economic development statute to add the same language regarding board membership eligibility.

“The job of the Legislature is to create good public policy and provide oversight of existing statute,” Santana said. “The Brownfield Redevelopment Financing Act and the Economic Development Corporations Act are both good, useful laws, but I came across a flaw — which my bills correct. Now these good laws will be even stronger.”

The intent of the bills is two-fold: so that the rules or bylaws of a brownfield authority or development corporation could (1) allow the term of a member who serves on these boards by virtue of his or her role as an office holder to end when the term of office ends and (2) allow the term of a member appointed by an office holder to end when the term of that appointing office holder ends. The aim is to increase the accountability of such boards.

“In plain language, the intent of these bills is to allow an elected official the opportunity to choose his own team,” Santana said. “A few years ago, when the mayor of Detroit left office in the middle of his term, the interim mayor was obliged by law to work with board members that were not of his choosing. House Bills 5131 and 5132 correct this oversight.”

The bills will now be transmitted to the Senate, where they likely will be referred to the Senate Economic Development Committee.