Lawmakers sponsor bills banning office of first gentleman

LANSING — Measures to ban the governor from giving their spouse a taxpayer-funded office and staff were introduced in the state Legislature recently by Sen. Rick Jones and Rep. Deb Shaughnessy.

While serving as a state representative last term, Jones learned that Gov. Jennifer Granholm supplied her husband with an office and three staffers funded by taxpayers. The office was even refurbished on overtime during a weekend.

Jones introduced a bill banning this practice and went on to debate Daniel Mulhern, known as the “first gentleman,” on both Lansing and Detroit radio stations. Serving in the minority at the time, Jones was unable to get the bill considered.

Gov. Rick Snyder has said his wife will not have a taxpayer-funded office with staff.

The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that future governors will not renew this wasteful practice. Jones and Shaughnessy are teaming up on this year’s effort with bills in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

“I commend Governor Rick Snyder for ending this practice under his administration,” said Shaughnessy, R-Charlotte. “My bill will make sure future governors also don’t start this practice.”

Jones, R-Grand Ledge, added “We all must set an example and Governor Snyder is doing that. Otherwise, millions are wasted throughout the course of eight years.”

Senate Bill 217 has been referred to the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee, while House Bill 4358 is before the House Government Operations Committee for further consideration.