The Gongwer Blog

Moss: Prop 2 Work Winding Down; Prop 1, FOIA Among Next Priorities

By Nick Smith
Staff Writer
Posted: June 26, 2023 2:13 PM

The chair of the Senate Elections and Ethics Committee said the main work in getting Proposal 2 implementation bills is completed and the next items on his agenda will include financial disclosure as well as changes to campaign finance law and the Freedom of Information Act.

Two bills SB 386 and SB 387, dealing with the processing of absentee ballots prior to election day, were reported by the committee Tuesday. Movement on those bills followed movement on an eight-bill Proposal 2 implementation package that passed the full Senate last week with some bipartisan support (See Gongwer Michigan Report, June 14, 2023).

"I think we've completed our tasks regarding that ballot proposal," Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) told reporters following votes to report SB 386 and SB 387. "Today was not necessarily directed from Prop 2, but we know that early counting of absentee ballots just like 38 other states do is a central piece to reducing the chaos that we've seen in our past elections and allowing clerks to have a more smooth process rolling forward."

Moss told reporters one of his next priorities will be working to implement Proposal 1, which will require personal finance disclosures be made by all elected state officials. The proposal also changed term limits to a 12-year maximum.

The senator said his priorities include implementation of Proposal 1, changes to campaign finance law and updating the Freedom of Information Act, the latter of which is something he and Sen. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) have been working together on since their days in the House.

He said for Proposal 1 he has been working with Sen. Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), chair of the Senate Oversight Committee, as to how to approach that legislation and which committee through which the bills might be moved.

"We're working with our House counterparts as well, as we need to come up with a package by the end of this year," Moss said.

Prior to reporting SB 387, an S-1 substitute was adopted 7-0 that included provisions to ban the recording of photo, audio or video at absentee ballot counting board locations with some exceptions including for members of the media.

As reported, the bills would allow communities with a population of at least 5,000 to set up absentee counting boards to process absentee ballots between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on any of the eight days before election day. All other communities would be able to begin processing absentee ballots at 7 a.m. the Monday morning before an election day.

Sheree Ritchie with Pure Integrity for Michigan Elections spoke in opposition to the bills prior to the votes, saying SB 387 has several provisions the group does not support.

"There are numerous changes to the absentee voter ballot processing and there doesn't seem to be a clear motivation for this, other than to further harm election integrity in Michigan," Ritchie said.

Members voted 7-0 to report SB 386, which would amend statute dealing with penalties related to the early disclosure of election results.

For SB 387, the vote was 5-1, with Sen. Ruth Johnson (R-Groveland Township) voting no and McBroom abstaining.

Also reported 7-0 was SB 385, which would allow county, city and township clerks to provide the option for individuals seeking to apply to be election inspectors to do so by filing electronically.

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