This week the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) sent a letter to all members of the Missouri General Assembly urging prompt action on ethics reform legislation. The MCC letter noted that: “Ethics reform can restore trust in government.”
The MCC urged support for banning lobbyists’ gifts to legislators, limits on campaign contributions and a one-year “cooling off” period before a retiring legislator could take a job with a lobbying firm.
The MCC observed: “A legislator may feel that accepting a dinner or other gift from a lobbyist will not affect how he or she votes, but for the ordinary citizen a doubt is sown about whether the legislator is working for them or for well-funded insiders.” As a long-standing practice the MCC does not provide dinners or other gifts to legislators.
The MCC warned that requiring a photo ID for voting could have the unintended consequence of disenfranchising many voters, including the poor, the elderly, and those with disabilities. If such legislation is to pass, the MCC said it should include provisions for an extensive public awareness campaign that would alert voters to the new requirement and explain how free photo IDs could be obtained.