STL Public Radio: Missouri Senate sends more ethics changes to the House

By Marshall Griffin • 11 hours ago

The Missouri Senate has expanded one of the proposed ethics bills passed by the House in January.

Originally, House Bill 2203 required that any money held by former lawmakers be held in bank accounts that could make that money readily available. It was part of the House Republican leadership’s approach to reforming Missouri’s ethics system.

The Senate added more requirements Thursday, including one that requires former lawmakers to dissolve any campaign committees before becoming a lobbyist. In addition, some political nonprofits would have to disclose who’s giving them money.

“I’ve said since last September (that) we’re going to try to advance ethics issues to move the ball down the field,” said Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City. “There’s no way, in my expectations, that we’re ever going to make every person in this room (and) in this building happy … (but) we’re going to work together, see what we can work through with both bodies, and then get a bill on the governor’s desk.”

The expanded bill passed the Senate unanimously, 30-0.

“I really think that, when this is all said and done, a measure like this will have a positive effect on how we conduct our business,” said Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City.

Holsman added, though, that the bill would have been better if campaign contribution limits had been included.

Fellow Democrat Jill Schupp of Creve Coeur tried to add language that would make public the names of donors who give large amounts of money to 501-C-4 committees.

“This is the best way that we could find that lets people know … who the donors are that are supporting a particular candidate or issue,” she said. “We want to know who is, right now, using that money in a way that we call ‘dark money’ that keeps their names from being disclosed in association with a particular candidate or a particular issue.”

Schupp’s amendment fell one vote short of being adopted, 15-15.

Last month, the Senate also passed House Bill 1983, which would bar statewide elected officials and lawmakers from hiring each other as political consultants. But the Senate made a few technical changes that House members don’t think are necessary. Both chambers have appointed conferees to hammer out a final version of that bill.

Several bills are being worked on, each with a different focus to try to ensure that each has a single focus. A previous attempt at ethics legislation was struck down by Missouri court for have multiple topics in one piece of legislation.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

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