LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jim Runestad on Tuesday introduced legislation to address transparency and accountability concerns with the state’s major utility companies.
“The Michigan residents who pay the bills to fund our state’s colossal energy companies deserve better,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “It is time to shine the light of transparency onto this powerful and influential interest group. It is time to give consumers and voters more oversight to hold this industry accountable.”
Senate Bill 296 would establish reporting requirements for utility providers in order to make their lobbying efforts more transparent.
“My legislation directly impacts how the government protects certain utility companies that essentially enjoy a monopoly here in Michigan,” Runestad said. “It is long past time that we should be able to expect the maximum level of transparency from any government-protected entities.”
SBs 297 and 298 would require Michigan Public Service Commission members to be elected by statewide vote rather than be appointed by the governor.
“When these bureaucrats no longer have their appointments to hide behind and must answer to the voters, they will be more motivated to hold the state’s utility providers accountable,” Runestad said. “Accountability inspires accountability.”
Runestad said Tuesday’s legislation is part of his continued efforts to increase government transparency.
“Michigan continues to rate very poorly when it comes to government transparency, and I will continue to push legislation that will shine light into the darkest corners of our bureaucracy,” Runestad said. “The bills I have introduced are commonsense measures that I would expect average Michigander probably already assume are state requirements, unfortunately that is not the case.”