The state House of Representatives Tuesday evening overwhelmingly approved legislation introduced by Rep. Annette Glenn, R-Midland, to improve transparency between state government and the public and to hold government officials guilty of misconduct accountable.
Glenn’s plan, House Bill 5981, would establish a state employee ombudsman to investigate and evaluate reports of suspected misconduct.
“Michigan’s hardworking taxpayers deserve to know they can trust that government officials are held accountable for their actions,” Glenn said. “My measure will make sure those who break the law are held accountable, while creating a more open and accountable state government.”
Under the legislation, the ombudsman could start an investigation based on his or her own initiative or if tipped off by a state employee whistleblower, Glenn said. The ombudsman would establish procedures for receiving and processing complaints, conducting investigations, holding hearings, and reporting findings of investigations.
“Back in July, Gov. Whitmer vetoed a bill that would’ve offered protection to state employees who report suspicious activity, which passed the House and Senate with unanimous bipartisan support,” Glenn said. “My plan is taking another run at creating greater transparency between state government and the taxpayers who fund it, and also ensuring whistleblowers who report misconduct or ineffectiveness to the new ombudsman in confidence are protected from reprisal.”
HB 5981, which passed with a bipartisan vote of 99-2, now moves to the Senate for further consideration.