JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Today Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) pre-filed a four-point ethics reform package that will bring greater transparency and accountability to Missouri’s state capitol.
The first and most significant change proposed by Rep. Rowden would prohibit lobbyists from giving gifts to any state and local elected officials, their families, and their staff members. This lobbyist gift ban also prohibits gifts to the entire general assembly and legislative committee hearings.
After a number of legislators vacated their seats, Rowden’s second change would put restrictions on when legislators may choose to work as registered lobbyists after leaving office. Initially, legislators and statewide elected officials up for election during the presidential campaign cycle would be barred from lobbying for one session after leaving office beginning in 2016. Elected officials up for election during the midterms would be barred from lobbying for one session after leaving office beginning in 2018. After 2018, this “revolving door” rule would apply to all state elected officials.
The third proposed reform would prohibit lobbyists from maintaining a candidate committee with the Missouri Ethics Commission. Individuals would be required to terminate those accounts and distribute their remaining campaign funds, in accordance with the law, before being allowed to register to lobby.
The fourth of Rowden’s proposed changes would require stricter reporting of elected officials’ travel expenses on their personal financial disclosures. Any travel paid for by a third party (such as a professional organization) would have to be publicly disclosed within 30 days of the trip or within 30 days of travel expenses being paid; whichever is sooner.
“This ethics reform package represents a very clear and very simple path forward that will significantly improve Missourians’ faith in the legislative process,” said Rowden.
Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) said, “As I have been saying for months ethics reform will be a top priority for the House this session and will be among the first bills passed when session starts in January. I greatly appreciate Representative Rowden’s leadership in this effort as we work to improve the environment in Jefferson City and restore the public’s trust.”
Rep. Rowden represents northeast Columbia, northeast Boone County, and southeast Randolph County. Rep. Rowden is the Chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development and Business Attraction and Retention; and is a member of the Budget, Commerce, Emerging Issues, and Urban Issues committees. First elected in 2012, he lives in Columbia and is currently serving his second term in the Missouri General Assembly.