Missouri lawmakers prepare ethics bills for legislative session

3 years 4 months 2 weeks ago Sunday, January 04 2015 Jan 4, 2015 Sunday, January 04, 2015 2:38:00 PM CST January 04, 2015 in News
By: Arianna Poindexter, KOMU 8 Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri legislatures claim 2015 is the year they'll buckle down, limit lavish gifts from lobbyists and unchecked campaign donations.

However, some political scientists say they're doubtful ethics bills will pass after years of failure.

Peverill Squire, a political science professor at MU says he see's both sides. 

"Political scientists are skeptrical that the Missouri General Assembly will pass meaningful ethics legislation because it is hard for those who benefit from the current system to be motivated to change it," Squire said. 

On the other hand, squire said many members will claim to support ethics reform but when concrete proposals are made they'll find reasons to oppose particular details. 

In October, a New York times article said Attorney General Chris Koster was influenced by lobbyist gifts and campaign contributions. 

Ethics legislation is introduced regularly and rarely goes far during legislative sessions.

So far lawmakers have filed 28 bills addressing current ethics laws which currently allows limitless lobbyist spending on gifts and campaign contributions. About four of those bills put limits on lobbyist-paid meals, entertainment, gifts and travel limiting the size, place and manner in which gifts are given. 

Squire says he doubts any significant ethics legislation will pass in the absence of a major scandal. 

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