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Whitmer signs Michigan lawmaker financial disclosure rule

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(The Center Square) – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation requiring public officials and candidates seeking elected office to file financial disclosure reports with the Department of State.

“State government must be open, transparent and accountable to the people it serves,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Since taking office, we’ve taken action to improve transparency and accessibility for Michiganders, and I’m proud to sign this good government legislation that implements Proposal 1 into law.”

Whitmer signed Senate Bills 613 through 616. Voters approved Proposal 1, a Constitutional Amendment aiming to avoid conflict of interests.

SBs 613 and 614 will require government public officials and candidates seeking elected office to file financial disclosure reports with the Department of State. Officials and candidates will also be required to file certain information about their spouses.

“After years of pushing for more openness and transparency in policymaking, we have finally enacted Michigan’s first-ever financial disclosure law that would unveil potential conflicts of interests from the officeholders who govern our state,” Sen. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, said in a statement. “With Gov. Whitmer signing our bipartisan legislation, we are taking critical steps to strengthen the trust between elected officials and the people we serve.”

SBs 615 and 616 amend the Michigan Campaign Finance Act to allow candidate committees to pay fees associated with SBs 613 and 614.

“These financial disclosure requirements are a good step toward a more transparent state government and toward better ensuring elected officials are making decisions for the people of Michigan and not for their own personal benefit,” Sen. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker said in a statement. “They are also examples of the positive solutions we can achieve when we work together — and I hope to see more bipartisan efforts like this in the new year.”

Previously, Rep. Brian BeGole, R-Antrim Township, said the plan leaves “too many loopholes”, including only requiring disclosure of gifts and trips reported by lobbyists instead of all trips.

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