Gov. Snyder signs election finance reforms

On January 6, Gov. Rick Snyder signed several election finance reforms, focused on eliminating abuse and creating transparency in how public resources are used for election purposes.
“This legislation includes many important campaign finance reforms that protect the integrity of our election process,” Snyder said.

“I understand there is confusion about how the bill impacts the use of public resources to disseminate factual information prior to an election.

“This provision needs to be clarified and I am working with my partners in the Legislature on a follow-up bill to address these concerns.”

Senate Bill 571, sponsored by state Sen. Mike Kowall, updates campaign finance rules to specify that:

• Trade association members may use one check when paying membership dues and making a PAC contribution, but the association must transfer PAC contributions in a timely manner or the amount must be returned to the association member.

• Payroll deductions are an acceptable way to collect voluntary PAC contributions from corporate employees.

• Automatic deductions can only support a PAC that a corporation has established.

• Automatic deductions of contributions are allowed without giving annual consent.

• The office of the Secretary of State will be required to post all campaign finance complaints and rulings to its website within 45 days.

• Debt incurred by a candidate in a previous election cycle can be paid with contributions collected in a subsequent election cycle.

• Disclaimers and identification of sponsor are required in political advertising, codifying existing Secretary of State practices.

• Campaign finance filings must contain email addresses in the contact information.

The bill also includes a provision that many municipalities and public institutions that rely on millages have concerns with: prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars being used for mass communications pertaining to local ballot questions 60 days before an election.

The intent was to prohibit the use of advertisement-style mass communications using taxpayer dollars, not to impact the expression of personal views by a public official or the use of public facilities for debates or town halls on ballot questions.

To address the concerns, Snyder is calling on the Legislature to pass clarifying legislation in time for the March 2016 election.

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and Speaker Kevin Cotter are both supportive of moving this legislation through their respective chambers quickly.

The governor further explained his position on PA 269 in a signing letter.

For additional information on this and other legislation, visit the government website at