Missouri Senate Scheduled To Debate Ethics Bill

Feb 9, 2010

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

The bill 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. Senate President Pro-Tem Charlie Shields sponsored the bill.

"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," says Shields.

Shields opposes restoring campaign contribution limits, saying that they don't add transparency to politics. But fellow Republican Kevin Wilson, who chairs a House special committee on ethics reform, is willing to consider limits.

"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," says Wilson.

Democratic leaders are insisting on campaign contribution limits, saying that there can be no true ethics reform without them.