Session Notes: Ethics Reforms Get A Boost
Despite a few flabbergasting legislative moments that threatened to blow it all up, Missouri's General Assembly eventually did pass a basket of important ethics reforms. Notably, a pair of the reforms dealt with the manner in which campaign funds could be spent by former legislators and the manner in which legislators could be campaign consultants for one another. Both of these proposals represented reasonable and substantive reforms, and I'm glad they passed.
But perhaps the most important ethics reform enacted this session was the legislator-to-lobbyist cooling off period, sometimes called the "revolving door" law. Similar to a non-compete agreement for elected officials, the law requires that legislators wait six months after their term ends before they can start lobbying their former colleagues on someone else's dime. Even if that general practice wasn't already the law in most states, it's simply good policy to make sure folks in public office have unambiguously undivided loyalty to their constituents. Forcing a break between a policymaker's public service and possible private lobbying helps to accomplish that end.
Congratulations to the General Assembly for making ethics reform a matter of primary importance in 2016… and following through on it. The legislature, and the state, will be all the better for it.