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Senate Starts Ethics Debate

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The state Senate is considering a proposal that says people who run for the legislature better finish their terms before they take another job in state government—or else.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The state Senate is considering a proposal that says people who run for the legislature better finish their terms before they take another job in state government—or else. 

Backers of the ethics bill say approval of it would rebuild public confidence in government.  Plenty of skeptics in the Senate doubt that claim.   

One part of the bill says any members of the legislature who takes another state government job before the end of their terms cannot be paid in that new job until their terms would have run out.

Two state senators facing the ends of their careers because of term limits this year have resigned; Ryan McKenna has become the state labor director  and Scott Rupp is the newest member of the Public Service Commission.  If Senator John Lamping’s proposal were in effect now, neither could get a paycheck in their new jobs until next January, when their terms would end. Lamping says commitments to voters should be fulfilled.

                                  AUDIO: Lamping :16 

But critics of his idea say it would eliminate opportunities for lawmakers to transfer their skills to another area of service to the public, and denies the public the services of people with special expertise gained through their legislative service.

Some lawmakers say they support most of the bill but they think it leaves out the most important element of restoring public confidence in government–tight limits on campaign contributions.

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