For Immediate Release
Contact: Eric Lupher
Organization: Citizens Research Council of Michigan
Date: September 13, 2022
Livonia, MI – The Citizens Research Council of Michigan, a 106-year-old, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving government in Michigan, has analyzed Proposal 1, a constitutional amendment on the November 8 ballot that would modify the implementation of legislative term limits and require certain financial disclosures for state elective offices.
What we found:
If Proposal 1 is Adopted, legislative term limits will be modified to allow legislators to be elected to the House of Representatives, Senate, or a combination of the chambers, for terms that combine for no more than 12 years and, upon enactment of an implementing act, each member of the legislature, the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general will be required to file annual financial disclosure reports.
If Proposal 1 is Rejected, legislators will continue to be limited to three terms (6 years) in the House of Representatives and two terms (8 years) in the Senate. Michigan will remain one of only two states without a financial disclosure law, but financial disclosure requirements could be enacted legislatively even without a constitutional mandate to do so.
Major Issues to Consider: Michigan has some of the strictest term limits among the states with legislative and executive branch term restrictions. They have had the effect of creating rotation in legislative and executive branch offices, but in doing so term limits have affected, among other things, important public leadership roles, relationship building, and the willingness of policymakers to tackle difficult political issues. Proposal 1 seeks to maintain term limits but modify them to allow legislative members to gain more tenure within a given chamber without extending their potential total time in the legislature.
Additionally, Michigan is one of two states without financial disclosure requirements for state elected officials. Ethics have been an issue in the Michigan legislature recently. This amendment would tackle one element of ethics reform by mandating legislative implementation of new financial disclosure requirements. This element of the legislatively proposed amendment is tantamount to the legislature asking the people to force it to address an issue it should have addressed on its own.
“Proposal 1 would keep term limits, but it would fundamentally change the legislative restrictions,” said Eric Lupher, President of the Citizens Research Council. “By changing the restrictions from terms to years, it would allow legislators the opportunity to spend more time serving in one chamber of the Michigan Legislature than under current restrictions. Only six percent of past term-limited legislators have exhausted their opportunity to serve the maximum number of years in both chambers. For everyone else, this constitutes an extension of eligibility.”
The Citizens Research Council of Michigan does not take positions on ballot issues. In analyzing the questions on the November ballot, the Citizens Research Council hopes to provide more information so that voters can make better informed decisions in formulating their votes.
Paper copies are available upon request.
Founded in 1916, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan works to improve government in Michigan. The organization provides factual, unbiased, independent information concerning significant issues of state and local government organization, policy, and finance. By delivery of this information to policymakers and citizens, the Research Council aims to ensure sound and rational public policy formation in Michigan. For more information, visit www.crcmich.org.