A national study of state ethics and transparency laws ranked Michigan DEAD LAST. Strengthening ethics laws will allow citizens to have confidence that their elected officials are serving the public interest, rather than their own financial well-being.
A bi-partisan group of nearly 100 legislators have stood in support of the new Legislative Open Records Act which will remove the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Legislature’s exemption from state open records laws. Michigan is one of just two states that exempt their Governors and state lawmakers from public-disclosure laws . The recent scandals involving Representatives Courser, Gamrat and Banks, as well as the Flint water crisis, serve as a reminder of why our elected officials should not be exempted from the state's Freedom of Information Act.
As the next Representative in District 1, I will vote for the new Legislative Open Records Act.
Even with the changes brought about by the new Open Records Act, there are important changes that will still need to be made. Once elected to the Michigan House, I will also support:
Requiring public financial disclosures by elected officials. According to the House and Senate Journals, Legislators almost never recuse themselves from votes that may financially benefit them.
Prohibit legislators who resign, or are expelled, from running to fill their own vacancy. Former legislators who resign, or are expelled, should not be able to run in the special election caused by their actions. Resignations and expulsions take away the taxpayers voice in the Capitol and forces the taxpayers to bear the expense of an otherwise unnecessary election. As District 1's next Representative, I will support HB 4208.