JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Senate Bills 1, 2 and 3, pre-filed for the 2017 legislative session, would expand the role of small donors in political campaigns, restrict lobbyist gifts and lobbyist bundling, and extend the cooling-off period that former officials must observe before they may work as lobbyists. Sponsored by Senator Rob Schaaf, R-Saint Joseph, these bills would make Missouri government more accountable to Missouri citizens, addressing widespread dissatisfaction with the political process.
Senate Bill 1: The Taxation with Representation Act
The Taxation with Representation Act would let each Missourian subtract up to $100 per year from their state income taxes, letting them claim a dollar-per-dollar credit for donations to county-level party committees and to candidates for state representative, state senator and statewide office.
Speaking on the bill, Senator Schaaf said, “The Supreme Court has made it impossible to truly get big money out of politics, so we need to focus on expanding the role of small money in politics. By empowering more citizens to become small donors, we can dilute the influence of big-money special interests and make government more responsive to the needs of everyday citizens.”
Senator Schaaf recently published an op-ed further explaining the proposal. It can be found at: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/introducing-the-representation-credit/article_de5588fc-a96d-5721-a14a-6953d4afe447.html.
More information about the bill can be found at: https://www.senate.mo.gov/17info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=57095344.
Senate Bill 2: The Clean Lobbying Act
The Clean Lobbying Act would address the problem of lobbyist gifts, prohibiting lobbyists from making expenditures for public officials and for the staff and families of public officials. It also would address the problem of lobbyist bundling, prohibiting lobbyists from collecting contributions and then delivering them to candidates for public office.
Senator Schaaf explained, “To the degree that lobbyists influence public policy, they should do so by presenting evidence and reasoned argument, not by collecting up checks for candidates and giving gifts to public officials. When lobbyists do otherwise, both asking for favors and offering favors, they undermine good government and erode public trust.”
More information about the bill can be found at: https://www.senate.mo.gov/17info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=57095342.
Senate Bill 3: The Revolving Door Reform Act
The Revolving Door Reform Act would prohibit legislators, statewide officers and gubernatorial appointees from becoming paid lobbyists within two years after leaving office, extending by 18 months the cooling-off period that such officials currently must observe.
Senator Schaaf explained, “We have a problem when public officials view lobbyists as potential employers, or when they leave office and get paid to lobby their former colleagues. Public officials are only human, and humans are affected by incentives and personal ties.”
More information about the bill can be found at: https://www.senate.mo.gov/17info/BTS_Web/Bill.aspx?SessionType=R&BillID=57095343.