Major piece of ethics reform bill faces time limit
JEFFERSON CITY — The ethics bill under review would limit lobbyists' gifts to lawmakers. The original bill proposed a full ban on lobbyists' gifts, but recent changes would allow lawmakers some flexibility for small dinners with lobbyists.
Governor Nixon has already signed three other ethic bills. One will place tighter restrictions on public officials becoming lobbyists. Another adds restrictions on politicians acting as paid political consultants. The third will require campaign investments be made only in mutual funds or COD's.
The bill is one of several pieces of legislation House Speaker Todd Richardson made a priority this legislative session. If the bill is not addressed in this session, it will not be heard again until the next.
Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said, "I don't think this would rise to the level of special session. The governor may call a special session for something else but he won't for this topic."
Before the bill can move forward at all, the Senate has to vote on amendments to it.
“It has been sitting on in the Senate's possession for the last three and a half months," Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, said. "Now that we only have tonight and tomorrow to get this done, I'm becoming more and more pessimistic that we're going to get something done."
Thursday is the last full day when this bill could be passed by the Senate and then go back to the House for approval of amendments. The session ends Friday at 6 p.m.