September 29, 2022

Michigan political candidates could use campaign funds for child care under new bills

Michigan political candidates could use their campaign accounts to fund child and dependent care under new legislation introduced in the House and Senate, a move supporters say could make it easier to run parents and caregivers.

The legislation, House Bill 5840 and Senate Bill 882, were introduced Thursday and would allow child care expenses as an allowable expense for candidates and elected officials with children or other dependents. dependents who need care, including the elderly and disabled family members.

A total of 26 states have approved the use of campaign funds for child care, either through legislation or through notices from state ethics commissions or the attorney general, according to Vote Mama Foundationa group that tracks mothers’ political participation in American politics.

The Senate’s top patron, Detroit Democrat Stephanie Chang, was the first senator from Michigan to give birth while in office and is the mother of two young daughters.

In a statement announcing the legislation, she said one of the most important factors for many mothers when considering running for office is whether they can juggle campaign work and caring for children. children.

“By giving candidates the ability to use campaign funds for childcare or dependent care while they knock on doors or campaign at events, we are opening a door for parents who might otherwise think it’s impossible to run for office with young children,” she said. .

Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, who has sponsored accompanying legislation in the House, said the proposal is a “common sense solution” to help potential candidates run for office who might not be able to do otherwise.

Michigan ranks 14th in the nation for female representation in the state Legislature, with 35 Democrats and 17 Republicans taking 35.1% of the 148 seats, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. 11% of Michigan’s legislative seats are currently held by women of color.

The bills were referred to the House Elections and Ethics Committee and the Senate Elections Committee, respectively.

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