House committee passes four ethics bills, full chamber awaits

A Missouri House committee approved four ethics reform bills on Monday, the first day of the new legislative session that committees could hold public hearings.

The bills deal with a range of topics: the frequency of required financial disclosure filings; elected officials working as paid consultants; disclosure of third-party payments for lawmakers’ travel and lodging; and a waiting period before politicians can become lobbyists.

Republican leadership in the chamber has vowed to make ethics reform a focus this year, and Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, chairman of House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee, pointed out that bills were passed out of committee “in the quickest time” possible.

However, Rep. Gina Mitten, D-St. Louis, expressed concern that the bills don’t do enough. She cited a bill that prohibits elected officials from serving as paid political consultants but does not bar staffers from doing the same.

The bills can be brought up for debate on the House floor as early as Wednesday.

Read more: Kansas City Star, St. Louis Public Radio

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