One of the original sponsors of a 2010 ethics reform law wants to move quickly to get it back into law, now that the Missouri Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional. The Court’s decision was not based on the content of the law, but because it was passed as part of an unrelated bill.
Representative Jason Kander (D-Kansas City) has filed a bill that includes the 2010 language plus two more bills that he had already filed with additional ethics provisions. He says his new bill could be on the Governor’s desk in two weeks if the Republican majority decides to make it a priority. He adds, “I”m also realistic, and I know that I filed (an ethics bill) before this legislative session even started and so far, not only has that bill not received a hearing, I’ve not been able to get the Republican leadership to actually send that bill to a committee.”
See Representative Kander’s new legislation, HB 1756.
Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka) says with the Court’s decision having been announced on Tuesday, his caucus has not yet discussed the issue. “We’re already a third of the way through the legislative session. I think any time that we delve in the ethics sections we encounter a lot of different thoughts about where we should go in that area and so I really don’t have a feel yet as to the pulse of my caucus as to what they’d like to do.”
The 2010 bill made candidates for the legislature and statewide office publicly report contributions of more than $500 or more, while the legislature is in session. It also banned certain committee-to-committee money transfers, so that the public could more easily track the source of contributions. It also gave the Ethics Commission the power to begin investigations by unanimous votes rather than having to receive a complaint about violations from an elected official, candidate or lobbyist.