Coalition Introduces Term Limit/Financial Transparency Ballot Proposal

A new potential ballot proposal aims to increase transparency and make the state capitol more effective.

A bipartisan coalition unveiled their plan to force state lawmakers to disclose their finances before taking office and revamping the term limits. Both issues are often discussed, with little action done.

“When I got into office, I was told that it takes six to eight years in Lansing to get real change,” said Rep. Jack O’Malley of Lake Ann, “If I’m lucky, I get six years.”Term Limits Pkg 3 1 2200 01 34 23still001

Right now lawmakers get 14 years in Lansing, a possible six years in the House and eight years in the Senate. The ballot proposal will cap it at 12 years but there is no limit for each chamber. One can serve all 12 years in the same chamber if they’d like.

“Originally the thought was that people would serve for six years, be diligent and then move on,” said Mike Duggan, mayor of Detroit, “As it turned out, the House of Representatives has turned into one large revolving door.”

“The House of Representatives was damaged with three two-year terms,” said O’Malley.

The coalition behind the proposal says they want to avoid lifelong politicians but allow experience to work in politics. Former Speaker of the House Jase Bolger was named leader after just four years.

“I would have benefited from more time certainly,” said Bolger, “Having more experience to understand state government better.”

The prop has a second arm, financial disclosure.

“Many of us know, on both sides of the aisle, that the best political disinfectant in the world is more sunshine,” said Rich Rich Studley, former CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Lawmakers would disclose where their money comes from and how much they make. Michigan and Utah are the only two states that don’t require it.

“Having that financial disclosure is important,” said Bolger, “So that people have confidence that those conflicts of interest could pop up and instead be avoided.”

Opponents say it could discourage good leaders from running for office but if the group gets 425,000 signatures by July 11th, the voters will decide in November.

“The only problem I have is I don’t want it too detailed,” said Rep. Tommy Brann of Wyoming, “Not that I’m trying to hide anything but my CPA charges me $345-an-hour, so I would at least want it a little simpler.”