St. Louis Public Radio News
8:44 pm
Mon February 8, 2010

Mo. Senate to debate ethics legislation this week

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate is scheduled to debate its main ethics bill Wednesday.

It would expand income reporting requirements to legislative staff members, provide the state Ethics Commission with a full-time investigator, and bar campaign contributions when the legislature is in session.

It would not, however, reinstate campaign contribution limits.

The bill is sponsored by Senate President Pro-Tem Charlie Shields (R, St. Joseph).

"I hesitate to throw down a gauntlet with the House, but I'll stand firm in my belief that limits do not add transparency to the process," Shields said.

A few House Republicans have expressed a willingness to consider including campaign contribution limits as part of an all-encompassing ethics bill.

State Representative Kevin Wilson (R, Neosho) chairs a special House committee on ethics reform.

"Everything is on the table...there's nothing off the table...I'm leaving it up to the committee to craft the bill, and this is truly going to be a bipartisan effort," Wilson said.

Democratic leaders have said that there can be no real ethics reform in Missouri without limiting the dollar amount of contributions candidates can receive from donors.