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Lawmakers required to report some finances under new laws

LANSING — Michigan’s government moved one step closer towards transparency Monday as state lawmakers and officials are required to submit the state’s first annual financial disclosures.

The disclosures a required under 2022′s Proposal One, a constitutional amendment that also extended term limits for state lawmakers.

Previously, Michigan was one of only two states in the country that didn’t require any sort of public disclosures for lawmakers. But 66% of voters approved the amendment in 2022, requiring legislators to institute the laws by the end of 2023.


The reports require an accounting of a lawmaker’s basic financial situation - a listing of debts, income and assets along with any other employment held by them or their spouse and possible conflicts of interest with state funding.

One major caveat remains - reporting the actual value of all of these figures is optional.

This year, some officials opted to make more of their personal finances known. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reported holdings of over $2 million, while Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist valued a Detroit home at $1.1 million.

Officials are also required to report any interest they or their spouse may have in state contracts. For example, Gilchrist reported his spouse as the manager of a nonprofit that received a grant from the department of education.


Disclosures are required to include any future employment agreements or leaves of absence taken by officials. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson took a leave of absence as a Wayne State Law School professor upon taking office, which is set to expire in 2027.

Northern Michigan lawmakers generally opted to include few details in their reports. All lawmakers other than Rep. Neil Friske, R-Charlevoix, reported receiving at least some gifts from lobbyists, though almost all of these are reported as food and drink.

These measures are meant to be the start of a new wave of state transparency - but no other such legislation has materialized.

Legislators from both parties expressed displeasure with the proposals last year , many saying the measures didn’t go far enough.


The package passed just before 3 a.m. amid visible frustration from dozens of lawmakers present on the house floor.

They have continued to introduce different types of transparency proposals, including more strictly regulating the political actions of nonprofits and expanding open records requests to include the legislature and governor’s office.

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