Missouri House Moves 4 Ethics Bills in 2nd Week
January 14, 2016

(AP) – Still reeling from the chaotic end of last session and the resignation of the chamber’s leader, members of the Missouri House started anew Thursday by passing four measures to change loose ethics laws.

The legislation would close the revolving door of lawmakers becoming lobbyists; require candidates, elected officials and others to report their personal finances more often; ban officials from also serving as paid political consultants; and require lawmakers disclose trips paid for by third parties more quickly.

Republicans asserted the bills are step forward after years of failed attempts to enact change, but others, mostly Democrats, argued the measures don’t go far enough. Missouri is the only state with the trio of unlimited campaign contributions, unlimited lobbyist gifts to lawmakers and a policy that allows legislators to immediately become lobbyists after leaving office.

One Ethics Bill Clears Missouri Senate
February 4, 2015

(AP) – State senators on Wednesday gave initial approval to strengthening ethics laws in Missouri, the only state with the trio of unlimited campaign contributions, no limits on gifts from lobbyists and no restrictions against state lawmakers going into lobbying as soon as they leave public office.

The bill by Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, a Joplin Republican, is the first ethics bill to gain approval in either chamber this session. It begins to deal with lobbyist gifts and the revolving door of employment after public service, but it does nothing to limit campaign contributions.

The legislation would increase public reporting on gifts to legislators, ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists until at least two years after they leave office and ban out-of-state trips paid for by lobbyists.

The bill needs a second Senate vote to go to the House, which has been hearing public testimony on its own package of ethics proposals.

Bills to beef up ethics laws have been introduced with little success in previous sessions. But Republican and Democratic legislative leaders both have placed a higher priority on the proposals this year.