Ethics legislation has been filed in the House for the 2012 legislative session.
Its sponsor, Jason Kander (D-Kansas City) says House Bill 1080 deals with issues that have been brought before lawmakers many times before, but he says it’s time they get some traction. “Campaign contribution limits, a ban on lobbyist gifts, closing the revolving door between legislators and lobbyists…legislators just quitting or leaving office and becoming lobbyists the next day.”
His bill includes some new material, as well. “For instance a prohibition on legislators soliciting lobbyists for jobs for after they leave their position as legislators.”
In spite of possible election year contention and issues stemming from the redrawing of legislative districts, Kander says he doesn’t plan to approach the ethics debate any differently than he has in the past. He notes the success seen in 2010. “That’s when we passed bipartisan ethics reform…and that was an election year.” He adds, “To me, every year, this is one of the most important issues out there…I view ethics reform as sort of an umbrella issue that affects how every other issue comes out.”
He has filed a second bill, House Bill 1121, that deals with another issue of ethics, related to an elected official having access to information through his or her position about a publicly traded business. Kander wants to make sure such privileged information is not used for financial advantage.
He says that bill creates transparency. “It require folks to attest on their personal financial disclosure that they have to file every year that they have not misused information like that. Of course there are penalties already in place if you were to say something false on that statement.”
Kander says bills dealing with ethics issues stand much less of a chance of getting through the legislative process if they don’t receive attention early in the session. He’s also hoping for some pressure from voters.
AUDIO: Mike Lear interviews Representative Jason Kander – 6:37 mins.