After hours of debate the Senate has voted NOT to prevent legislators from becoming lobbyists immediately after leaving office. The bill that left the House proposing a 1-year “cooling off period” now only prevents lawmakers from becoming lobbyists until their term expires.
Senator Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) wanted that cooling off period.
“What we’re trying to do here is to change the system so that good people don’t do things even on a subconscious level that advantage special interests against the public policy,” said Schaaf.
Senator Ed Emery (R-Lamar) thinks as long sa lawmakers wait until their term expires, it’s their choice where to work next.
“The process is certainly faulty. It has created crevices where weaknesses can be exploited,” said Emery, “but the process isn’t corrupt. The process is what it is.”
Senators opposing the proposal said it would not have effected situations including the scandals that led to the resignations of former House speaker John Diehl, Junior, and former senator Paul LeVota last year.
The Senate is expected to keep working on ethics proposals, including those passed earlier by the House to ban gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers; tighter financial disclosure statements for citizens on task forces and boards; and a ban on elected officials serving as paid political consultants.