This week the Missouri House approved several bills on ethics reform, including HB 1452, HB 1575, HB 1979, and HB 1983. In addition to adding to the current financial reporting required of public officials (HB 1452 and HB 1575), the bills include these reforms:
- Prohibits statewide officials, members of the Missouri General Assembly and officials whose appointments are subject to Senate confirmation from registering as lobbyists until one year after the expiration of their term in office. (HB 1979);
- Members of the Missouri General Assembly and statewide elected officials, while in office, may not solicit registered lobbyists for a position with a lobbying firm. (HB 1979);
- Prohibits members of the Missouri General Assembly and statewide elected officials from receiving compensation as paid political consultants on behalf of another individual who is candidate for, or is holding office, as a member of the Missouri General Assembly or as a statewide elected official. (HB 1983)
These proposals may be likened to layups in basketball, easy shots but not the three-pointers needed to win games. It will be interesting to see if the General Assembly tackles more substantive measures, such as banning lobbyists’ gifts to legislators or setting limits on campaign contributions. Missouri is out of step with most states, which limit campaign contributions. Recall that the Stowers Institute spent $30 million in 2006 to convince voters to legalize human cloning (Amendment 2).