News Story

Michigan House Ethics Committee has not met since June

Transparency legislation is languishing, vice-chair claims

The House Ethics and Oversight Committee hasn’t met since June. And its vice chair questions whether the committee will move on transparency legislation by year’s end.

When the 102nd Michigan Legislature started work in January, Democrats took control of the House and Senate, promising that an ethics overhaul was coming. The Detroit News described the new majority as “vowing to make the state Legislature more transparent and take action in response to, and not ignore, the problems of the past.”

Rep. Erin Byrnes, D-Dearborn, chairs the committee.

“We have, I think, a broad scope of ethics concerns,” Byrnes told the News back then.

But that broad scope of concern has not caused lawmakers to pass any relevant legislation. Records show the committee has only met six times in 2023, the first time in March, the last time June 22.

Rep. Tom Kunse, R-Clare, is vice chair of the House ethics committee.

“Today is 223 days since we introduced our transparency bills,” Kunse told Michigan Capitol Confidential Monday. “The governor for FOIA. Lobbying disclosures. There were 11 bills. That was in March. March 11. And nothing. We have not heard testimony on a single bill, Democrat or Republican, all year.”

Byrnes did not respond to a request for comment.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.