Page 18-Friday, May 4, 1979-The Michigan Daily
State house tries aga
LANSING (UPI) - Hearings on the
latest version of political ethics
legislation opened yesterday with
renewed warnings that mandatory
financial disclosure could cause many
qualified people to shun public service.
But a spokeswoman for the state
Democratic party strongly supported
the bill, saying forfeiting a certain
amount of privacy is "the price of
Lawmakers are trying for the third
time to stiffen a state conflict of interest
law widely viewed as unenforceable.
ETHICS PROVISIONS were a key
part of the omnibus 1975 political
reform law which was rejected by the
Michigan Supreme Court as overly
A separate ethics bill died on the
House floor last year.
Local government and school of-
ficials have fought the proposal all
along, claiming its disclosure
requirements constitute an invasion of
privacy which is especially
unreasonable in the case of unpaid,
THOUSANDS OF elected and appoin-
ted officials at all levels of government
would be forced under the bill to
disclose their major financial interests
and those of close family members.
The measure provides a clear
definition of conflict of interests and
establishes a special ethics commission
to investigate complaints lodged again-
st public officials.
Mandatory disclosure "will result in
mass resignations of good people from
boards and commissions," Fred
Mathews of the Michigan Community
College Association told the House
."THERE IS A limit to the price good
people will pay for the privilege of
voluntary public service," said
Mathews, who is chairman of the board
of trustees of Southwestern Michigan
Mathews said he would favor a
requirement that potential conflicts be
disclosed as they come up.
in for ethics bill
Arthur Saltman, an Oakland Univer- because their husband's businesses
sity trustee, also warned that passage would be affected. Some "are being told
of the bill will lead to numerous by their husbands to find something
resignations. else to get involved in" if the bill
FOR THE PEOPLE with business passes, he said.
and administrative backgrounds
needed by public bodies, "it isn't worth REP. JOSEPH Forbes, (D-Oak
their while to disclose in advance what Park), chairman of the committee and
they consider to be confidential sponsor of the bill, defended the
business relationships in order to ser- measure at length before the hearing
ve," he said. and often debated critical witnesses.
City officials from Center Line, "These dishonest people who are
Midland, and Birmingham presented pulling you and I down have to be
local resolutions denouncing the punished in some way," Forbes said to
measure in strong terms. one witness.
Joe Mann of Midland said disclosure "We're not asking you to bare your
is especially hard on female officials life," he told another.
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by The Michigan Daily