January 17, 2014 •
Missouri Legislators to Address Comprehensive Ethics Reform
Missouri legislators made ethics a top priority at the start of their legislative session. The Legislature convened on January 8 and members filed at least 10 bills addressing issues such as lobbyist registration, gifts to public officials, campaign contribution limits, and revolving door provisions.
Although Missouri is one of few states placing no restrictions on campaign donations or lobbyist gifts, reform appears to be of bipartisan concern. Secretary of State Jason Kander announced the most comprehensive approach to ethics reform with HB1340, introduced by Rep. Kevin McManus. The proposal establishes contribution limits, closes the revolving door for legislative officials, and establishes a lobbyist gift ban.
Kander’s proposal is unique in that it also adds mandatory registration requirements for paid political consultants as well as whistle-blower incentives. Those who provide information about ethics violations could receive 10 percent of the fines collected for the violation they revealed.
The Legislature discounted opportunities in the past to address ethics reform. With momentum building, many are hoping this is the year for change.
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