The Missouri Ethics Commission is ready to institute some significant changes passed by the legislature this year.

Julie Allen, the Executive Director of the Missouri Ethics Commission, says change is not very common when it comes to state ethics and campaign finance laws.

“I’ve been at the commission for several years, and this is the first time that we’ve seen, I believe, any significant changes to the ethics laws in Missouri during that time frame,” Allen said.

The changes will do things such as preventing political action committees from contributing to other political action committees, and requiring legislators or legislative candidates to report contributions of more than $500 dollars within 48 hours. Those reports will then be available at the Commission’s website. Allen summarizes the impact of the many changes this way:

“Increasing transparency, improving accountability, and enhancing enforcement,” Allen said.

She says the enforcement aspect will be especially beneficial.

“As far as the commission, there’s (an enforcement) tool that says that if you obstruct a commission investigation or provide false information to the commission, it’s specifically defined as a Class A Misdemeanor,” Allen said.

The changes go into effect Saturday. Allen says the Commission is prepared for the changes, and has been communicating with the parties involved since the legislature passed the changes.

“I think, currently, committees and individuals are learning about Senate Bill 844’s requirements and we’re directly communicating with them. I think that will continue after August 28th. That’s part of the commission’s job; to communicate with them and answer questions about the laws,” Allen said.

Follow this link to the Missouri Ethics Commission’s website explaining the changes in more depth, and this link to the section of that site with information about campaign finance reports.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 min MP3]