On Monday, Oct. 3, the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted a reception featuring Mayor Mike Duggan, Rich Studley, Jase Bolger, and Mark Gaffney to inform attendees about Proposal 1 ahead of November’s general election.
The Chamber Board Executive Committee voted in March to support this bipartisan initiative that would make significant changes to rules for those serving in the Michigan Legislature, including term limit reform and financial transparency. “It’s rare to see an issue that both sides of the aisle can work on together. Republicans and Democrats can agree that our current term limit solution does not work,” said Duggan.
While reducing term limits for Michigan legislators from a 14- to a 12-year cap for service, this proposal allows for the flexibility for these 12 years to be spent in any combination between the House and Senate. Currently, the maximum service is set at six years in the House and eight years in the Senate, for a total of 14 years. On the downsides of the current policy, Studley said, “would you rather have your car repaired by a mechanic that has been doing it for 12 years or someone that has been doing it for 6 years and is planning on quitting soon? That is how our current legislature works. You come to Lansing with your eyes on your next job.”
This proposal would allow any combination not to exceed 12 years (i.e., all 12 years in the House, or two years in House and eight in the Senate). California, a state that had the same term limits as Michigan, has shifted to this same 12-year model and shown that it is effective in reducing turnover. The Chamber’s Chief Operating Officer, Tammy Carnrike, commented, “if a business had the same turnover as the state legislature, you probably wouldn’t be in business very long.”
Michigan legislators have some of the laxest financial reporting requirements in the nation, with the state being only one of two in the nation that doesn’t require financial disclosures of public officials, the other being Iowa. This initiative would also require members of the Michigan Legislature, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary of State to report their financial holding at the same level of detail (or greater) as that required of members of Congress.