Throwback Thursday: Remember when MOLeg Republicans were serious about ethics reform?

Remember when Republican leadership in the Missouri legislature were serious about passing real ethics reform this session? It was just five months ago, but now it appears they may even fail to pass what amounts to baby steps forward for Missouri's ethics laws.

In December, Representative Caleb Rowden pledged that the House would move a "number of bills early in the process" to "get to a point where we can say we passed ethics reform in 2015." In January, he said the House was pursuing a different strategy on reform than the Senate, but "I think the final product can be one that both bodies will endorse and support."

Presenting his ethics reform bill this January, Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard said "there's enough nonsense in this building going on. I'm going to try to clean this up before somebody is indicted." He added that he was just trying to "get something small through both sides of the building."

In February, the Senate passed Richard's reform bill SB 11 which would implement a "cooling off period" that would block future legislators from lobbying the legislature for two years after leaving. In early April, the House passed a modified version of the bill that went further and capped lobbyists gifts at $25. Since then, the bill has stalled in a conference committee between the House and the Senate with no sign of progress.

With just a handful of days left in the session, it looks like legislators may not even follow through on their promise to pass these "small" ethics reforms through the legislature, much less, the serious reforms like banning lobbyist gifts and capping campaign contributions that Missourians overwhelmingly support.

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