The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

April 24, 2014

Other Views: Time for reform is now

— Missourians support ethics reform. Why won’t the Legislature act? Despite many sincere and meaningful bills from both Democrats and Republicans being filed to reduce the pernicious influence of money in the legislative process, legislation to undo Missouri’s status as the only state in the nation with no limits on either lobbyist gifts or campaign donations appears stuck in mud.

A Senate debate over a proposal from Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, intended to reduce lobbyist gifts and end the revolving door between lawmaking and lobbying, gave a strong indication that state lawmakers just don’t have the courage to police themselves.

Some still want their free lunches and dinners. Others want to continue collecting six-figure checks from mostly anonymous donors. Some, knowing their time in the Legislature is almost up, don’t want to give up the possibility of sliding into a lobbyist gig or a gubernatorial appointment.

The sweet lure of quick cash is hard to ignore.

Here’s what should also be hard for those reticent lawmakers to ignore: Missourians want ethics reform. Badly.

A new poll conducted by The Wickers Group on behalf of the Missouri Liberty Project shows broad-based support, among Democrats, Republicans and independents, for serious ethics reform in the Show-Me State. The poll, conducted in March among likely general election voters, found that between 70 and 80 percent of likely voters supported five different elements of ethics reform:

• Banning free tickets from lobbyists for professional or college sporting events, hunting and fishing trips and golf outings.

• Limiting the number of meals lawmakers can accept from lobbyists.

• Barring lawmakers’ staff from working as paid political consultants.

• Requiring lawmakers to wait several years after retiring before becoming lobbyists.

• Creating a new unit in the attorney general’s office to fight abuse and corruption in state government.

Missourians want ethics reform because they want to believe in their government again. That is true of liberals and conservatives, city-dwellers and farmers, Democrats, Republicans, and everybody in between.

What is the Missouri Legislature waiting for?

— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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  • Our View: Vote no on Amendment 1

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  • Your View: Amendment 5 is deception of the highest order

    Amendment 5, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, “relating to the right of Missouri citizens to keep and bear arms” provides that “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

    July 21, 2014

  • Other Views Other Views: No time to turn away

    With the shooting down of a commercial airliner over Ukraine and fighting that has now escalated to a ground war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, it would be easy for most U.S. citizens to throw up their hands and turn their backs.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Your View: Power to defend

    The Globe’s editorial ‘More guns not the answer’ (July 15) was saturated with classic progressive blather.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: Thanks for the generosity

    Generally, all we hear about is the bad news, and obviously, there is plenty available. Our church felt this event worthy of public knowledge.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your View: How to upgrade your business

    Let’s see now. When some folks wish to improve the exterior of their properties and have other taxpayers pay for the improvements, they create a community improvement district.

    July 21, 2014

  • Our View.jpg Our view: Street smarts

    If your daily commute has been shortened because you no longer have to wait at 26th Street and Connecticut Avenue for a train to pass, thank your own tax dollars.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Other Views Other Views: Decision fails test

    With the announcement that the State Board of Education has decided not to release individual school test results because of cyberattacks and other problems this spring, educators are scratching their heads, as are taxpayers who footed the bill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

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