ethics

Since Missouri's state lawmakers are on spring break this week, "St. Louis on the Air" is checking in to see what they've accomplished so far, and what remains on the to-do list.

Four bills have been passed by both chambers and sent to the governor:

Charles Valier, left, and Robert Powell listen to presentation of the ZMD's proposed 2015 Preliminary District Administrative Budget
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Zoo Museum District board member Robert Powell has resigned because of connections with two subdistricts.

“After reflecting on it, I just thought I should resign and not belabor this issue,” said Powell.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

After a few years of going nowhere, ethics reform may finally be gaining traction within the Republican-dominated Missouri legislature.

Senate endorses ethics bill

On Wednesday, the Missouri Senate gave first-round approval to Senate Bill 11, sponsored by Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin.  It touches on several issues, which include:

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

One day after a Missouri House committee considered a slate of Republican-backed ethics reform bills, a Republican lawmaker wants Missouri voters to have the chance to restore campaign contribution limits.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, has banned all committee hearings and legislative meetings held at country clubs and restaurants, effective immediately.

Wikipedia

Political dysfunction has been bandied about for several years, but its meaning remains unclear. That’s the first order of business Friday at the Political Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“One of the reasons that we decided to do the conference was precisely because everyone complains about political dysfunction, but you ask five different people what it is and you’ll get five different answers,” Wally Siewert, director of UMSL’s Center for Ethics in Public Life, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday.

Former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine
Courtesy of Olympia Snowe

U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe cited partisanship when she announced her retirement in 2012.

The ethics committee meeting on Oct. 15.
Willis ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Zoo Museum District Ethics Committee remains stretched between two poles. Board member Charles Valier continues to call for an annual disclosure of board member assets while board member Tom Campbell says this disclosure would be an undue burden on ZMD leaders.

Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Free admission to St. Louis’ cultural institutions for non-residents could be a thing of the past if talk by the Zoo-Museum District board members turns to action.

On Wednesday night, the board discussed the possibility of charging admission to the Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center and other attractions in response to a report by St. Louis City Alderman Joe Roddy.

Admission would remain free for people who live in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander unveiled on Tuesday a wide-ranging ethics proposal he wants lawmakers to take up and pass this year.  It includes:

  • restoring campaign contribution limits,
  • banning gifts from lobbyists to all state elected officials,
  • requiring a three-year waiting period before ex-lawmakers can work as lobbyists. 

Kander, a Democrat, says if adopted, Missouri can go from having the worst ethics system in the country to the best.

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