LANSING, MI. (WILX) - A group marched on the state Capitol steps on Wednesday with a goal that includes banning gifts from lobbyists, ending the revolving door, and requiring more transparency, according to their press release.
The Coalition to Close Lansing Loopholes held a press conference on October 9 to announce efforts to reform Michigan's lobbying laws.
“Michigan has some of the worst ethics and transparency rankings in the country, and a big part of that is because of loopholes in our lobbying and transparency laws. One of the main focuses of the Coalition to Close Lansing Loopholes is on reforming outdated state laws that have allowed lobbyists to run the show in Lansing,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Our communities deserve things like safe roads, clean water, and quality public schools—but for too long, corporate lobbyists have stood in the way of the progress Michiganders deserve. It’s time we took real steps to check their power.”
At the event they also announced that the Michigan Nurses Association and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan had joined the Coalition’s efforts.
The following reform goals were outlined at the Capitol:
• Banning gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers
• A mandatory cooling off period for elected officials leaving office before they can take a job as a lobbyist
• More stringent reporting requirements on lobbying activities not only from lobbyists, but from lawmakers as well
“At Progress Michigan, we’ve seen over the years that many Michiganders have lost faith in our government and don’t trust our elected officials to work for them instead of corporate lobbyists,” Scott continued. “It’s time we worked to restore faith in government by reining in the out-of-control lobbying culture in Lansing.”
A new Mascot was also revealed named "Pie Guy."
"Pie Guy" is supposed to represent a walking pie chart. The press release explains it as: a representation of how big businesses in Michigan are not paying their fair share in taxes to help pay for the state’s priorities like schools, roads, and clean water.
The biggest slice (blue) is income tax, next (green) is sales tax, then yellow is representing other taxes, and the red, the smallest slice, stands for business tax, according to Progress Michigan.
“We see lobbying and revenue reform as issues that are inextricably linked,” Scott continued. “For too long, wealthy special interests and their lobbyists have run the show in Lansing, big business has spent untold millions on lobbying to make sure they could make untold billions without paying their fair share of taxes. It’s time for us to close those loopholes and create a system where the government works for all of us, not just the wealthy few and that exactly what the Coalition to Close Lansing Loopholes intends to do.”
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