Rep. Brinks Introduces Bills in Ethics and Transparency Package

House Dems demand open, honest and accountable government
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

LANSING - State Representative Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) will be sponsoring a series of proposals in a Democratic-sponsored package of ethics, accountability and transparency bills that call for an open, honest and accountable legislature.

“Voters have had enough of politicians who selfishly game the system to stay in office rather than doing the job they were elected to do and serving the public,” Brinks said. “The measures I’m introducing will send a message that our government needs to be as fair, honest and transparent as the people it represents.”

The House Democratic package of bills, if enacted, would create a culture of accountability and transparency in campaigns and in the legislature. Rep. Brinks is introducing seven proposals that will:

  • Create a constitutional amendment requiring state representative and senatorial candidates to be registered to vote in their district for at least 60 days before filing to be a candidate (House Joint Resolution P).
  • Extend penalties for perjury to a person assisting another person to commit perjury (House Bill 4430).
  • Increase penalties for perjury to a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine of up to $10,000 (HB 4431).
  • Require candidates that change parties to reimburse contributions with interest made in the prior year (HB 4432).
  • Allow a political party to select a new candidate if the incumbent candidate changes parties within seven days of the filing deadline (HB 4433).
  • Require state representative and senatorial candidates to be registered to vote in their district for at least 60 days before filing to be a candidate (HB 4434).
  • Require candidates for state office to file an affidavit of candidacy in person (HB 4435).

Other bills included in the package will:

  • Require a corporation that makes independent expenditures to file a notice with the Secretary of State and get permission from shareholders.
  • Ban elected officials from lobbying for two years after leaving office.
  • Require committees to file quarterly campaign finance filings in both on and off years to shed more light on campaign contributions.
  • Create an ethics act for the administration and its employees to strengthen conflict-of-interest concerns for those individuals.
  • Require financial disclosure from certain elected officials.
  • Create a lobbying expenditure database.

“People have every right to demand a fair and honest government,” Brinks said. “These measures will go a long way toward cleaning up our government and reassuring the people of Michigan that we’re here to serve them, not corporate special interests or ourselves.”