LANSING, MI — State Sen. Jim Runestad has finalized a substitute to his bill that would increase transparency for the lobbying efforts of Michigan’s utility companies. His legislation, Senate Bill 296, was introduced in April and would establish reporting requirements for utility providers in order to make their lobbying efforts more transparent.
While the initial bill directly covered the public utilities and the charitable, tax exempt organizations through which they contribute millions to campaigns, Runestad’s substitute would extend reporting requirements to parent companies and/or affiliates of the utility.
“My legislation directly impacts how the government protects certain utility companies that essentially enjoy a monopoly here in Michigan,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “It is long past time that we should be able to expect the maximum level of transparency from any government-protected entities.
“When it was brought to my attention that utilities also siphon money through these other channels, I knew my legislation had to be extended to cover all parts of the industry. Not a penny worth of lobbying should go unaccounted for by these mega government-sponsored monopolies.”
Runestad’s bill has yet to have a committee hearing and has been waiting in the Senate Committee on Government Operations since introduction. He has petitioned the chair multiple times to have his legislation brought up. His substitute would be adopted once the bill is brought up for a committee hearing. Requests for the substitute language can be made by emailing [email protected].