Four legislators resign before "Clean Missouri" takes effect
JEFFERSON CITY - Four state legislators have resigned within the last week, days before new rules about becoming lobbyists took effect.
Their terms were set to end in January with the new legislative session.
Former Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis, D-Ferguson, was the latest to resign at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. Curtis said Thursday the timing of his resignation was intentional.
His departure means there now are 13 vacancies in the 163-member House and three in the 34-member Senate. Nearly a third of those came after voters approved Constitutional Amendment 1 on Nov. 6. Some left earlier to take jobs in Gov. Mike Parson's administration.
Former Sen. Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, former Rep. Kevin Corlew, R- Kansas City, and former Rep. Kirk Matthews, R- Pacific, also will no longer serve out their terms in the legislature.
Hummel was the first to resign. In a statement to KOMU, he said he is taking the position as Secretary-Treasurer for the Missouri AFL-CIO, a federation of labor unions.
Starting Thursday Amendment One goes into effect, requiring state legislators to wait two years before taking a job as a lobbyist. The former law requires only a six month wait.
In a statement on Corlew’s Twitter account, he said he did not resign because of Amendment One. Further into his letter to the public he describes his plans for the future as a lawyer.
“While I have no plans to "wine and dine" politicians, as some perceive the job of a lobbyist is,” Corlew said. “I don’t want to tie the hands of my clients for two years if they need representation on a matter that involves a governmental entity.”
In addition to his resignation Corlew was recently granted a recount in his incumbent race for the Missouri 14th District. He plans to take the position if the recount deems Corlew the winner.
“I will gladly and humbly be sworn in as the next state representative,” Corlew said.
Rep. Kirk Matthews has not issued a public statement on his resignation at this time.