The first ethics reform bill to reach Governor Jay Nixon (D) has gotten his signature.
The proposal, sponsored by Representative Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) would bar elected officials from hiring one another as paid political consultants.
Nixon said the proposal answered one issue he has called on the legislature to fix, in toughening Missouri’s ethics laws.
“When a lawmaker, or even worse a member of the legislative leadership, is working as a paid consultant for another member of the General Assembly or a candidate for public office, that’s a clear and unacceptable conflict of interest that compromises the integrity of the entire legislative process,” said Nixon.
Some legislative Democrats said the bill didn’t go far enough because members of elected officials’ staff can still be hired as consultants, but Nixon says it’s an important first step.
“This is substantive, important legislation that will make a difference both in the short run and in the long run in both the perception and the reality of how business is done in this state and in this building,” said Nixon.
Nixon called on the legislature to get him more proposals. Some things he wants – an end to gifts from lobbyists to elected officials, and on elected officials immediately becoming lobbyists – are being worked on by the legislature. Other things, like limits on campaign contributions, are not favored by the Republican majority.