The Missouri legislature has sent two more proposed ethics reforms to Governor Jay Nixon (D). One would require state elected officials to wait six months after the end of their term before they can become lobbyists. Senator Scott Sifton (D-Affton) says the measure is an improvement.
“I would support a two year cooling off period. I would support a one year cooling off period. I am pleased that we are at least getting some cooling off period of six months,” said Sifton. “If this is what we need to do in order to get a bill and get this to the Governor’s desk, it doesn’t go as far as I’d like for it to go, but it’s still progress,” said Sifton.
Senator Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) calls the bill horrible policy.
“This is a solution in search of a problem that merely doesn’t exist,” said Schatz. “About 95% of the people that are registered lobbyists are not former legislators.”
He says lawmakers should be able to pursue whatever job they want.
“I think this is a perfect example when you rush to do something merely for semantics. This is what you end up with,” said Schatz. “You end up with unclear policy that’s got so many holes in it, you could drive a semi through. Really, it’s just not good public policy that everybody here will stand up and vote for because they know the ramifications of voting against it will cause them problems in their future political endeavors.”
Those appointed to positions confirmed by the Senate would also have to wait. Nixon has said he supports a so-called cooling off period for elected officials. Those who violate the ban could face up to six months in jail.
Another bill passed would require candidates registering as lobbyists to end their campaign committees and return the money to their donors or give it to a nonprofit or political party committee. Senators voted 30-1 in favor of the measure. Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) cast the lone “no” vote. He said the legislation should have done more to bolster campaign finance reporting.