Michigan voters will have a chance to relax the state’s strict legislative term limits in the November election.
In a surprise move yesterday, both the state House and Senate passed resolutions that will allow the proposal to be placed on the ballot without the need for supporters to turn in petition signatures.
The constitutional amendment would allow lawmakers to spend up to 12 years in the legislature, no matter which body they serve in. That could mean six two-year terms in the House, three four-year terms in the Senate, or any combination.
The current limit is three two-year terms in the House, and two four-year terms in the Senate, for a potential total of 14 years. Michigan’s term limits are the strictest in the nation.
The proposal would also create financial disclosure requirements for legislative candidates, along with candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general. Michigan is one of just two states that currently has no financial disclosure requirements.
Republican State Senator Ed McBroom of Vulcan spoke in favor of the disclosure proposal, saying there’s a need to restore public trust in the legislators after the scandal involving former Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield. Chatfield has been accused of sexually assaulting a teenaged girl at the private school run by his father, and of benefitting from money channeled to him and his campaign by political action groups and lobbyists.