The legislature is close to passing a bill that would keep state elected officials and those appointed to positions that require Senate confirmation from becoming lobbyists immediately upon leaving office. The House has passed it, and Senate passage would send it to the governor.
The House and Senate earlier this session passed very different versions of that legislation – the House proposed a one-year wait after the end of such an individual’s term, while the Senate proposed that one had to wait only until the end of his or her term. Conferees from each chamber met and agreed on a six-month wait after the end of a term.
House sponsor Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) is pleased with the final product.
“After we saw that there was going to be some fairly significant opposition in the Senate we sat down with some of those individual senators and said hey, what can we do to move this forward,” said Rowden. “We want to make sure that if we pass a revolving door that it actually has a cooling off period.”
The House’s original proposal would only have applied to the next class of legislators, elected officials and appointees. The compromise version’s application begins with those currently in office, “which was actually something that was strengthened in the conference committee,” said Rowden.
As lawmakers and the governor have said about other ethics proposals this year, Rowden says this one is, “not perfect by everyone’s individual standards but I do think it moves the ball definitely in the right direction.”
Governor Jay Nixon (D) has called for passage of a bill to close the so-called “revolving door” from public service to lobbying. Of the six-month wait, Nixon said he would prefer a longer period, but said, “It will at least … break that cycle of leaving directly to go into employ.”
Rowden says he is hopeful the Senate will pass the compromise.