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Michigan Democrats Propose Campaign, Ethics Laws

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LANSING (AP) - Democrats in the Michigan House on Thursday introduced proposals that would require personal financial disclosure forms for many public officials and put some restrictions on state-level political campaign donations.

Some of the proposals in the wide-ranging package are similar to ones that have been debated in Michigan for years without becoming law. But Democrats are hoping some of their ideas might dovetail with Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s recent call to improve laws related to lobbying, campaign finance and ethics for state and local governments.

Republicans who hold the majority in the House said they would review the proposals. Republicans said an initial concern was that some of the proposed campaign finance restrictions would cover corporations but not labor unions.

“Saying you support better campaign finance and ethics laws is like saying you are for the sun coming up tomorrow – it’s difficult to argue with the concept, but the devil is in the details,” Ari Adler, a spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger, said in an e-mail.

One Democratic proposal calls for a “cooling off” period before state officials and department heads could become lobbyists. That period for lawmakers would be two years after leaving office.

Another measure would ban the state from awarding contracts worth more than $100,000 to a contractor who’s made campaign contributions to certain elected officials. Other measures would prevent or restrict companies that accept federal bailout money and foreign-owned companies from spending money in Michigan elections.

Another bill would require disclosure for “robo-calls” that pop up most heavily during political campaign season. The proposal would require the call to clearly state the name and address of the organization paying for them.

House Democratic Leader Richard Hammel said the measures are aimed at requiring more reporting and disclosure and making that reporting meaningful.

“Our proposals would put an end to `pay-to-play’ politics,” he said.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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