Senate panel approves conflict of interest bill

LANSING — School board members with a conflict of interest would be required to abstain from voting on financial matters under legislation recently approved by a Senate panel, said Sen. Joe Hune.

Senate Bill 1051, sponsored by Hune, was approved Wednesday by the Senate Education Committee.

“School board members should not be voting on financial transactions when the outcome may affect them or a member of their family,” said Hune, R-Hamburg Township. “I introduced this bill to address these concerns and help ensure that our school board members carry through their duties first and foremost with the best interests of our children in mind.”

SB 1051 would require a member of a local or intermediate school board, or a member of a public school academy (PSA) governing board to abstain from voting on a contract or other financial transaction when the member believes there is a conflict of interest.

Hune’s measure clearly states that a board member is presumed to have a conflict of interest if the member or their family has a financial interest in the contract or other financial transaction, or if the board member has a family member who is an employee of the district, intermediate school district or PSA.

The proposed law defines a “family member” as an individual’s spouse, in-law, child, child’s spouse, sibling, spouse of a sibling, niece or nephew, parent or parent’s spouse.

SB 1051 now goes to the full Senate for further consideration.