by Collin Reischman
Jefferson City, MO — A Senate Committee Substitute to Senate Bill 78, pre-filed by Senator John Lamping and perfected in committee on January 29, would bar any legislators taking office as of January, 2014, from ever lobbying in the state of Missouri.
The bill would apply to members of the general assembly, statewide elected officials and federally elected officials from Missouri.
“Running for office and serving in office should be a noble thing,” Lamping told The Missouri Times. “It’s about sacrificing and saying ‘I’m going to try to serve.’ It shouldn’t be about ensuring another career down the line.”
Lamping said his bill, which modifies previous attempts to bar legislators from lobbying for two years after holding public office is open for debate and discussion and that he is not rigidly set on a lifetime ban.
“This is just where I’m at on this issue,” Lamping said. “It’s a concept that you can amend, so we can talk about it and so we can get input from one another on how best to go about this.”
Term limits for Missouri’s general assembly has led many former legislators into lobbying. Former Senators and representatives, like Steve Carroll and Chris Liese, turned to lobbying when they left office. Former elected officials tend to have more access and a wider understanding of the function of the capitol, and can sometimes make highly effective governmental consultants.
But Lamping said lobbying doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with serving the public. He mentioned the rule of the now-defunct Whig party, which only allowed congressional representatives to serve one term in Washington D.C.
Whether a lifetime ban would weaken the ability of lobbyists in the state to work effectively was non-starter for Lamping.
“I don’t think the public is worried about the quality of lobbying,” Lamping said. “There are lots of vehicles for [SB 78] to work. I think the people of this state would overwhelmingly support such a ban.”