Runestad co-sponsors resolution to increase accountability

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Runestad co-sponsored a resolution on Thursday that would increase accountability and transparency in the Legislature.

Senate Joint Resolution H would require a two-thirds vote to pass any bill introduced in a regular legislative session during lame duck, which occurs after the November election in even-numbered years.

“We need a higher threshold to pass legislation when legislators are heading out the door,” Runestad said. “This is a matter of helping improve public trust in the work of our elected officials.”

Of the 38 state senators serving in 2018, 26 of them — nearly 70% — were term limited, along with 25 of the 110 representatives. During that same year, 342 of the 690 bills signed into law were adopted by the Legislature after the November election.

“We can’t have half of our laws being passed during lame duck, when so many of the lawmakers who sent these bills to the governor were term limited and are no longer accountable to constituents,” Runestad said. “That is no way to conduct public policy.”

Runestad has made accountability and public trust a cornerstone of his work as a lawmaker. Earlier this year he introduced Senate Bill 57, which would establish a “cooling-off” period for state legislators wanting to be lobbyists.

SJR H has been referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations for consideration.