Missouri House Democrats push ethics bills they say are based on Gov.-elect Greitens' ideas | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Democrats push ethics bills they say are based on Gov.-elect Greitens' ideas

Dec 14, 2016

Democrats in the Missouri House are calling on Gov.-elect Eric Greitens to keep his campaign promise to clean up Jefferson City.

They've pre-filed several bills that range from banning gifts from lobbyists to giving the state ethics commission the authority to prosecute violations. Democrat Kip Kendrick of Columbia said they want to see if the incoming Republican governor is serious about ethics reform.

"I spent a good amount of time going over his speeches and press releases and news articles and everything, and really that was the impetus for the seven bills that we filed," he said. "Basically my plan mirrors what he was discussing during his election."

Rep. Kip Kendrick says he patterns his ethics proposals on the governor-elect's statements.
Credit Nathan Lawrence | KBIA | File photo

Greitens' "discussions" famously painted Missouri's capital city as in need of a makeover, calling for some of the same reforms being touted by Kendrick and other Democrats. Namely, lessening the influence lobbyists have on state government, and expanding term limits to the offices of attorney general, secretary of state, lieutenant governor and state auditor.

Gov. Jay Nixon this year signed three ethics bills into law. They ban legislators and other elected officials from hiring each other as paid political consultants, impose a six-month "cooling off" period on former lawmakers wanting to become lobbyists and require any elected official-turned lobbyist to dissolve any campaign committees still open.

Kendrick called those three bills and other ethics reform efforts by Republicans "very small steps forward."

"I think when the general public looks at them, they could see them as half-hearted attempts," he said.

The full list of ethics bills pre-filed by House Democrats:

  • HB 212 – bans all lobbyist gifts; Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood
  • HB 213 – expands waiting period for ex-lawmakers to become lobbyists to five years (currently six months); Rep. Joe Adams, D-University City
  • HB 214 – bans use of campaign committee funds for services provided by candidate family members; Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-Olivette
  • HB 215 – prohibits persons no longer actively seeking public office from maintaining a candidate committee; Rep.-elect Mark Ellebracht, D-Liberty
  • HB 216 – would grant prosecutorial authority to the Missouri Ethics Commission; Rep.-elect Crystal Quade, D-Springfield
  • HB 217 – an omnibus bill containing each of the above proposals; Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia
  • HJR 6 – would create a constitutional amendment banning lawmakers and statewide office holders from seeking and receiving campaign contributions while the legislature is in regular session; Rep.-elect Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis
  • HJR 7 – would create a constitutional amendment that would impose term limits on the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and state auditor; Rep. Kendrick

No one from Greitens’ transition team has responded to request from St. Louis Public Radio for a comment.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport