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Mo. Senate passes ethics bill


By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate today passed an ethics reform bill just before adjourning for their annual spring break.

The bill would give the Missouri Ethics Commission authority to launch investigations into ethics violations, instead of having to wait for someone to file a complaint.

It would also require campaign donations exceeding $250 and made during legislative sessions to be reported within 48 hours. And it would end some committee-to-committee money transfers.

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

"Really working on transparency should be the guiding principle...campaign finance, and particularly contributions while we're in session, so we remove that notion of pay-to-play," Shields told reporters after Senate adjournment.

The bill now goes to the Missouri House, which has been working on its own ethics legislation. House Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) is not impressed with the Senate version.

"We don't think it's strong enough, and I assume that our chairman, Kevin Wilson (R, Neosho), will make it a bill that's a little more significant...I can tell you we're going to send a strong, significant, aggressive ethics bill from the House," Tilley said.

The House Ethics Reform committee has been considering numerous proposals, from reinstating campaign contribution limits to eliminating free meals provided by lobbyists at some committee meetings.


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