The first proposed change in legislative ethics to face debate this year is being heard in the state Senate. Senator Charlie Shields of St. Joseph, the President Pro tem, wants to make lawmakers more accountable to the public for their campaign donations and wants greater accountability for relations between lawmakers and lobbyists.

Shields points to the legal problems of four now-former lawmakers since the last session s the motivating force behind his proposal. He admits that the accusations against them have nothing to do with their service in the Missouri legislature. “While this wouldn’t affect them, those cases have affected this body. They have brought the people’s trust in this institution down,” he says.”

He knows his proposal is likely to see a number of changes before it’s adopted.

The Senate debated his bill for a couple of hours today before he set it aside so the Senate could work on an omnibus local government bill that will take the rest of this day.

AUDIO: Shields’ opening statement in the ethics bill debate 8 min