Bipartisan group aims to change Michigan legislature term limits, increase financial transparency

Posted at 9:21 AM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 09:21:11-05

(WXYZ) — A new group is coming together for a new ballot initiative aiming to change the term limit laws in Michigan and increase financial transparency.

The bipartisan committee, known as Voters for Transparency and Term Limits, is chaired by former Michigan Chamber of Commerce CEO Rich Studly, a Republican, and Wayne State board member Mark Gaffney, a Democrat.

Under the proposal, term limits in Michigan would be reduced to 12 years in the legislature, but allow them the option of serving all 12 in one chamber.

Currently, Michigan legislators are limited to 14 years in the legislature; three terms in the House of Representatives – up to six years – and two terms in the Michigan Senate – up to eight years.

The proposal will also require legislators to submit financial statements to disclose where they have financial ties that could impact judgment on legislation.

“Michigan and Idaho are the only two states that don’t require state legislators disclose their finances and today’s ballot initiative would fix that,” Studley said in a release. In addition to requiring financial disclosure, the proposal would update term limits for the first time in 30 years. “I supported term limits 30 years ago and I still believe in term limits today. But after 30 years on the books, we need to update the law and create something that works for all of us.”

“Michigan should be leading the way in financial transparency and disclosure, not sitting at the bottom of the list,” Gaffney added in a release. “It’s time to change our constitution and come up with common-sense requirements that will best serve Michigan. We are calling for financial disclosure, updated term limits and finally slowing the revolving door of legislators to develop leaders who are committed to working for the people.”

Other leaders across the state have supported the cause, including former House Speaker Jase Bolger, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and more.

The group plans to submit the proposal to the Board of State Canvassers for review on March 23. If approved, they will then need to collect signatures. If they collect around 425,000 signatures by July 11, it will likely be on the November ballot.