More Progress on Ethics Reform in Missouri

(AP) – The Missouri Senate on Tuesday backed a proposal to stop the practice of lobbyists paying for catered events for groups of lawmakers and passed a bill blocking some elected officials from serving as paid political consultants.

The Senate’s actions are part of a larger debate on revamping the state’s loose ethics laws following recent resignations of legislators accused of inappropriate behavior. The former House speaker resigned at the end of the legislative session last year after admitting to exchanging sexually charged text messages with a Capitol intern, and a state senator left office months later amid allegations that he sexually harassed interns.

Just last week, former state Rep. Don Gosen stepped down and said he had an affair.

Lawmakers working as political consultants for colleagues and catered events paid for by lobbyists have fallen under criticism as legislators debate how to change Capitol culture and restore public trust in government.

The bill banning all legislators and statewide elected officials from also being paid political consultants passed 31-0, with one senator absent.

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