Bills call for state lawmakers to disclose financial interests


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A bipartisan package of bills is receiving strong support in the state Legislature, calling for lawmakers to disclose their financial interests to ensure there’s no conflicts of interest in their votes.

Let’s imagine a hypothetical scenario: Say a Michigan lawmaker owns a bar and the state House is voting to raise a beer tax. Under the current rules, that lawmaker is supposed to voluntarily admit they own a bar and are voting against the bill because of that. However, it’s not mandatory and they could lie — and get away with it.

“We’ve had 16 instances where Bridge Magazine reported lawmakers voting on bills that helped their own businesses,” citizen Nancy Yang said.

Sixty-two out of 110 House members are cosponsoring eight bills that would require lawmakers to disclose all their financial interests. Backers of the bills believe the citizens are on their side.

The bills are gaining traction in the House, but in the state Senate, Republican leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake has not embraced the concept, saying it’s something the media can use against politicians.

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