#TBT from St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Legislators arrive in Jefferson City and forget where they came from”
By Claire in News Posted August 3, 2017
“Missouri is the only state in the country with no limits in all three of those areas [campaign contribution limits, lobbyist gifts, and a waiting period before a legislator becomes a lobbyist], an embarrassing trifecta that you might think would prompt action. But every year, ethics bills die in the Republican-led Legislature. Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has sat on his hands on this issue for seven years, despite his vow to lead an initiative petition drive if legislators failed to act.
It’s up to the new House speaker, Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, and the new Senate president pro tem, Ron Richard, R-Joplin, to change this. Both are seasoned legislators with fresh slates. Wouldn’t it be heartening if they kicked off the legislative session in January by passing something other than the usual lobbyist-driven agenda?…
So far, Mr. Richardson, is offering half a loaf. He said in a statement last week that “the first issue we will move forward during the upcoming session is substantive ethics reform.” The bill will include limits on lobbyist gifts and an end to “the lawmaker-to-lobbyist revolving door,” he said.
Mr. Richardson needs to go further. Limits aren’t enough. It’s time to ban lobbyist gifts for lawmakers, statewide officials and their staff members….
No wonder the public doesn’t trust politicians.
Legislators arrive in Jefferson City and forget where they came from: a place where lunch isn’t free, dark money doesn’t pay the rent and selling out isn’t the way to land a better job.
An initiative petition drive may be the only way to rein in the pernicious influence of special-interest money. But we hope Mssrs. Richardson and Richard prove us wrong on that. They can, if they make real ethics reform their election-year priority.”
Missourians deserve better.
Here are the facts – The Clean Missouri amendment will:
- lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates
- eliminate almost all lobbyist gifts
- require politicians wait two years before becoming lobbyists
- require that legislative records be open to the public
- ensure that neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census, by asking a nonpartisan expert to draw fair legislative district maps, which would then be reviewed by a citizen commission