LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jim Runestad said Thursday he will soon introduce legislation to require financial disclosure on any perks lawmakers receive from organizations that are not registered as lobbyists.
“These disclosure requirements would provide transparency on how lawmakers use money from donors potentially aiming to influence them,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “Nonprofit organizations and other entities that aren’t officially registered to lobby will often pay for special trips, dinners, and hotels for lawmakers without those expenditures ever having to be reported publicly. These kinds of perks should be public information; constituents have a right to know who is trying to leverage their representatives.”
This is just the most recent in a string of government transparency bills Runestad has introduced this year. He has previously proposed legislation to outline more detailed reporting requirements for special community appropriation requests made by lawmakers, shine light on the state’s utility companies, establish rules for former legislators becoming lobbyists, open up Child Protective Services to limited legislative inquiry, and expand the Freedom of Information Act and the Legislative Open Records Act to apply to both the governor and the Legislature.
“It is no secret that Michigan must do better when it comes to government transparency,” Runestad said. “I am happy to work with the Democrats to fix this debacle which they’ve been bellowing about for years. When it comes to transparency — right is right, wrong is wrong — and I don’t give a rat’s ass if the wrong is Republican or Democrat.”
Runestad has been a “pile driver” in the fight for government sunshine for years and has introduced over 30 transparency bills during his time in the Legislature, including:
- Senate Bills 319 and 320 of 2023 on budget appropriations transparency.
- SBs 297 and 298 of 2023 to establish public elections for Michigan Public Service Commission board members.
- SB 296 of 2023 on lobby reporting requirements for utility companies
- SB 257 of 2023 regarding video recordings of court proceedings
- SB 222 of 2023 to establish a cooling off period for legislators before lobbying.
- SB 221 of 2023 to prohibit spouses of sitting lawmakers from lobbying.
- SB 53 of 2023 for greater CPS transparency.
- SBs 1128, 1129 and 1130 of 2022 regarding video recordings of child interviews in CPS cases.
- SBs 818 and 819 of 2022 to expand FOIA and Open Meetings Act requirements for certain art institute service providers and zoological institutions.
- SB 788 of 2021 to require a candidate to establish a separate account for recall purposes.
- SBs 275 and 336 of 2021 regarding video recordings of court proceedings.
- SB 244, now Public Act 36 of 2021, requiring proof of service verification.
- SB 21 of 2021 to establish a cooling off period for legislators before lobbying.
- SB 828 of 2020 to require the attorney general to report contingency fee contracts with private attorneys.
- SBs 824 and 825 of 2020 to expand FOIA and OMA requirements for certain art institute service providers and zoological institutions.
- SB 619 of 2019 and SB 790 of 2020 regarding video recordings of court proceedings.
- SB 57 of 2019 to establish a cooling off period for legislators before lobbying.
- House Bills 6572 and 6573, now PAs 521 and 522 of 2018, to allow the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards to obtain officer records.
- HB 4527 of 2017 to amend certain legislator lobbying provisions
- HB 6007 of 2016 to amend certain legislator lobbying provisions
- HB 4890 of 2015 to expand FOIA to certain art institute service providers.