Ethics Reform’s time has come. Jefferson City’s Capitol Culture is ripe for clean-up!
For too long millions of dollars in gifts have flowed from lobbyists to legislators while the revolving door of legislators cashing out to become lobbyists keeps turning.
With last year’s session ending in the resignation of former Speaker John Diehl for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with an intern followed by the resignation of Sen. Paul Levota under similar circumstances the stage was set to for the General Assembly to finally take action.
Enter new House Speaker Todd Richardson and new Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard. Both have told Missouri Alliance for Freedom ethics reform that we can be proud of will be a priority this year.
Neither man seems to be wasting any time. Since the 2016 Legislative Session began last Wednesday, Jan. 6th ethics reform bills have been filed and referred. They will be heard in committee this week.
The House hears its bills on Monday and the Senate hears the Onder ethics bill on Tuesday.
If you want to sound off with your opinion you better hurry. Click here to find your legislators’ phone numbers. Call in to let them know it is time for real ethics reform.
The ethics reform bills that are moving
In the House…
HB1981 Sponsored by Justin Alferman bans lobbyist gifts to state public officials. No longer will legislators be allowed to accept gifts such as tickets to sporting events, steak dinners, or travel from registered lobbyists.
HB1574 Sponsored by Caleb Rowden has been called the Steve Tilley bill because it will require former candidates/legislators to dissolve their campaign committees if they want to become lobbyists.
Former Speaker Steve Tilley left office; registered as a lobbyist and doled out large campaign donations from his campaign account to his former colleagues while lobbying them on important issues.
If Rowden’s bill passes outgoing legislators will no longer be able to become lobbyists while maintaining large campaign war chests. Their accounts will have to be shuttered.
HB1979 Sponsored by Caleb Rowden has been called closing the revolving door. It is intended to stem the tide of legislators becoming lobbyists.
Actually Rowden’s bill will only impose a one year cooling off period before outgoing members of the Missouri Legislature, statewide elected officials, or appointees who required Senate confirmation can become lobbyists.
HB1983 Sponsored by Shamed Dogan will make it illegal for a member of the General Assembly or a statewide elected official from receiving compensation as a paid political consultant while still in office.
HB1998 Sponsored by Jay Barnes will disallow candidates from investing their campaign war chests.
Over in the Senate…
SB643 as sponsored by Sen. Bob Onder tries to do it all. Onder’s bill (if successful) will ban lobbyist gifts, close the revolving door by making legislators sit out for two years before becoming lobbyists, requires outgoing public officials who register as lobbyists to close their campaign accounts, and discourages members of the General Assembly from accepting appointments to paid state boards or commissions before their terms end.