On Tuesday, May 10, the Michigan State House and Senate passed House Joint Resolution (HJR) R by the required 2/3 majority vote in the affirmative in both chambers.
HJR R would propose an amendment to the state Constitution to change the term limits of state Representatives and Senators to 12 consecutive years of service in the Legislature, replacing the current term limits of 14 years – three two-year terms in the House and two four-year terms in the Senate.
Additional language in the resolution would require constitutional officers and legislators to disclose assets, liabilities, income, positions held, future employment agreements, gifts, travel reimbursements, and other payments. Language would also require the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and attorney general to submit annual financial disclosures including all of the items above and additionally include any payments made by a lobbyist or lobbyist agent to a charity in lieu of honoraria. All items must be reported to the Department of State and be made available online.
If legislation implementing the financial disclosure section is not enacted by December 31, 2023, residents may initiate legal action against the legislature and governor in the Michigan Supreme Court.
The impetus for the legislative action was a ballot proposal effort led by several stakeholders, including the former heads of the Michigan AFL-CIO and Michigan Chamber of Commerce. To change the Michigan Constitution, a ballot proposal must receive 425,000 signatures or supermajority approval in both the House and the Senate to send the proposal to the ballot. While the language approved by the legislature today is considered weaker than the initial ballot proposal language, some supporters of the ballot initiative ultimately appeared to indicate their support for the action.
This initiative will now head to the ballot in the November General Election and if passed by the majority of Michigan voters, will go into effect starting April 15, 2024.