LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jim Runestad on Tuesday filed legislation to require greater transparency for appropriation requests sponsored by individual lawmakers.
“The people of Michigan deserve to know where their money is being spent and who is benefiting from those dollars,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “At the very least, a legislator must be willing to put his or her name on any special request, certify they or immediate family members would not benefit from the spending allocation, and include documentation from the community in support of that funding.”
Runestad said his Senate Bills 319 and 320 are based on federal rules and outline reporting requirements for funding requests made in support of special community projects, including written statements that must be made available for public review for at least 48 hours before a vote.
“Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent,” Runestad said. “No one should be surprised to learn about appropriations that have been passed the morning after the Legislature votes; that is completely unacceptable.”
SBs 319 and 320 are the most recent bills introduced by Runestad this year aimed at increasing government transparency and accountability. He has previously introduced legislation to 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 FOIA and the Legislative Open Records Act to apply to both the governor and the Legislature.
“Michigan continues to rank at the bottom in terms of government transparency and for years Democrats have promised to take positive action if provided with the opportunity,” Runestad said. “Well, now that they have both legislative majorities and the governor’s pen, I will continue to introduce legislation that will give them those opportunities. Providing more sunshine into government is an issue all sides of the aisle can agree on.”