News Story

State representative on energy committee owns solar company

Michigan Rep. Joey Andrews claims company is dormant, but records show it was never dissolved

Public records show State Rep. Joey Andrews IV, D-St. Joseph, as owner of a solar company, Parasol Solar. The company was founded in 2015 and has never been dissolved.

On Wednesday, Andrews voted in favor of legislation that would benefit the solar industry by allowing statewide permits to be granted out of Lansing.

Andrews, who is vice-chairman of the House energy committee, voted for bills that would give the Michigan Public Service Commission the right to permit solar and windmill projects statewide.

This would remove local leadership from the decision process. It would further empower the governor, who appoints the three-member commission.

Andrews’s sister is a solar lobbyist, The Detroit News reports. That sister, Nealie Andrews, was Andrews’ campaign treasurer, records show. 

Andrews has claimed that Parasol Solar is dormant and would not stand to benefit if the bills were enacted into law. 

“A conflict of interest is supposed to represent me as an individual benefiting from this vote,” Andrews told The Detroit News. “It’s not a conflict if I don’t benefit.”

Parasol’s most recent annual statement is for 2021. Andrews, a first-term lawmaker, started work in January. Public records do not show that a certificate of dissolution was ever filed.

The bills passed Wednesday and moved from the House energy committee to the full Michigan House.

Michigan law requires that bills need an actual majority to pass, not just a majority of lawmakers present. Democrats control the Michigan House by a 56-54 margin. Had Andrews recused himself from the committee vote, the bill still could have passed.

But if Andrews recuses himself from the House vote, there wouldn’t be enough Democrats to pass it. At least one Republican would need to cross over.

Andrews 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.