Runestad bill would establish ‘cooling-off’ period for would-be lobbyists

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad introduced a measure Thursday that would establish a “cooling-off” period for state legislators wanting to be lobbyists.

Senate Bill 57 would institute a waiting period of two years before former lawmakers could become lobbyists and a period of three years for chairs of standing committees.

“To avoid conflicts of interest in state policy, it is critical to establish a cooling-off period for former legislators,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Clear rules for all lawmakers and committee chairs will improve the integrity of the Legislature and the confidence of our citizenry.”

Runestad said Michigan is one of only 12 states with no set waiting period before legislators can become lobbyists.

Among the states that provide for cooling-off periods for former legislators, 26 require a one-year gap between legislating and lobbying, 10 states set the waiting period to two years and two states provide for limits between zero and 12 months.

SB 57 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations for consideration.