This is an article discussing the legislation that had been enacted in regards to the nationwide criminal background checks that will help to keep foster care homes a safer place for children.
Officials Forced to Disclose Financial Information
Written by Amanda Rabe
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 02:02
On February 19, 2009, Representative Kate Ebli (D-56th District) introduced House Bill 4381 that would require candidates for state office or judge, elected state and university board members, and current state office holders, to file financial disclosure statements including the names of all of the person's family members, his or her employer, the source and amount of earned income and other income for the candidate and his or her spouse during the past year, and any gifts, a list of assets, certain transactions and liabilities, business ownerships, any trustee, director, or other positions held in a business, union, non-profit, educational or other institution, any future employment agreements, including leave-of-absence agreements, and many more disclosure requirements.
The purpose of so many required disclosures of personal finances by public officials is to establish if a personal economic interest is significant enough to potentially result in a conflict of interest when officials participate in funding decisions.
The bill would increase the costs to the Secretary of State due to additional administrative work and includes a violation punishable by imprisonment or a fine of up to $1,000.
Proponents of the bill cite the increased visibility of potential conflicts of interest between personal gain and public duty.To prevent over-exposure of officials and their families, the bill allows for detracted information that could identify the locations of property or real estate before the report of the financial statements is released to the public.The Michigan Campaign Finance Network and Common Cause both support the bill.
Opponents of HB 4381 argue that the listed required disclosures are too invasive and overly broad, infringing on the rights of official’s family members.The Michigan Judges Association and the Michigan Probate Judges Association oppose the bill.
HB 4381 was referred to the House Ethics and Elections Committee on February 19, 2009 and was reported in the House on March 4.
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