A proposed constitutional amendment to replace Michigan’s current term limits is heading to the November ballot.
That’s after both houses of the state legislature on Tuesday approved a joint House resolution to send the question to voters.
The amendment would allow state lawmakers to serve a total of 12 years in the Legislative Assembly instead of the current cap of three elected terms in the House and two in the Senate.
Proponents argue the change would give lawmakers more space to learn their jobs without thinking about a countdown on their tenure.
“At all times, I think we anticipated some sort of change to the term limits law and gave it to voters to reconsider. I mean, it was passed about 30 years ago, and I think it’s time to kind of assess how it worked and give voters a chance to make a decision,” the senator said. of State Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield).
It would also require lawmakers and some statewide office holders to submit annual financial disclosure reports.
Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Twp) said now is the time to put the issue to the voters.
“The moment to do so became urgent. And if we hadn’t … the danger of further breaking trust could lead to other proposals and such that might not even be functional,” McBroom said.
The resolution is based on a petition that the group Voters for Transparency and Term Limits had circulated.
At a press conference on Monday, the coalition asked the state Legislature to add its proposal to the
“By putting transparency and term limit reform on the ballot in November, [lawmakers] empower the people of Michigan to play an important role in advancing our state,” effort co-chairs Mark Gaffney and Rich Studley said in a press release following Tuesday’s vote.
Meanwhile, opponents have argued that the proposal would oust Michigan’s term limits law instead of improving it. They say voters have approved the current system with broad support.
The resolution largely followed the petition to redefine these term limits, with a few exceptions. The Legislature’s version leaves it up to lawmakers to set financial disclosure requirements, whereas the petition would have based those on federal congressional rules.
Gideon D’Assandro is the spokesman for House Speaker Jason Wentworth (R-Farwell). He explained the change from using the Congress model.
“It creates a standard for what is a conflict of interest for our members of Congress, which may not apply to a conflict of interest for being a state representative,” D’Assandro said.
He cited a potential conflict with Michigan’s existing requirements on lobbyist interactions as an example.
Lawmakers previously expressed concern that overly strict financial disclosure policies would discourage some from running for office. These concerns have slowed past attempts to get financial disclosure laws on the books.
“It’s also important that we strike a reasonable balance when it comes to the financial information elected officials must disclose to help make government more transparent and not further discourage the right people from running for office,” the leader said. Senate Majority Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). ) said in a written statement.
Michigan is one of two states that does not require financial disclosure from its lawmakers.