Weakened ethics reform bill passes state Senate
JEFFERSON CITY - An ethics bill (HB-1979) that prevents lawmakers from leaving office early to become a lobbyist passed through the state senate Thursday. The bill originally aimed to prevent lawmakers from taking a lobbyist job for one year after their term. It was amended in the senate to just require lawmakers to wait until the end of their term.
The bill is just one of many ethics bills proposed in the Missouri legislature following a year in which two lawmakers resigned amidst allegations of inappropriate relations with interns.
On Wednesday, a third lawmaker, Rep. Ron Gosen, R-Ballwin resigned. He said his decision stemmed from rumors about his behavior, but no further details have been released.
The Senate is still set to discuss a number of other ethics bills including one that would ban lawmakers from receiving gifts and meals from lobbyists.
Governor Nixon made his stance clear in his State of the State address that he supports tightening ethics laws. The bill will now go to his office for approval, before becoming law.
Opponents of the bill said it was addressing a non-issue. During discussions multiple senators said that a small percentage of registered lobbyists are former lawmakers.