LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – The Secretary of State Bureau of Elections declined to describe the term limits amendment proposal voters will see on their November ballots as a reduction in the total number of years a person can serve in the Legislature, in spite of what lawmakers had hoped.
Bureau of Elections Director Jonathan Brater wrote the language that is expected to be used when HJR R is presented to the Board of State Canvassers later this month as simply a “change.” It will be designated as Proposal 22-1 on the Nov. 8 ballot.
“The elections director did the right thing in repudiating their argument they could write their own ballot description,” Patrick Anderson, who wrote the ballot initiative that set the current term limits.
Brater’s wording is, “A proposal to amend the state constitution to require annual public financial disclosure reports by legislators and other state officers and change state legislator term limit to 12 total years in Legislature.”
“The Legislature continues to try to mislead the public into thinking they ‘reduced’ their term limits, when in fact they doubled the time most of them could stay in office,” Anderson said.
The current term limits are set at six years in the House and eight years in the Senate, for a total of 14 years. The ballot initiative would change that to 12 years in the House or Senate, meaning the person could serve longer in one Legislative chamber.
The amendment would require financial disclosure from the Legislature, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general starting in 2023. The disclosures would have to include assets, liabilities, income sources, future employment agreements, gifts, travel reimbursements, and positions held in organizations with religious, social and political organizations being exempt.
The Legislature would implement the reporting requirements.
The bill, similar to a proposal put forward by Voters For Transparency and Term Limits, passed both the Senate and House with no comment on either chamber’s floor.