The Buzz

TheChat: Missouri House, Senate splitting on ethics reform

Good morning.

▪ “If that means I have to put ethics reform on every single Senate bill that comes over here, I’m willing to do it.” — Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson speaking about differences between the House’s interest in ethics reform — and the Senate’s.

The Senate last week rejected a House plan for a one-year cooling off period before lawmakers can become lobbyists. What this portends for other ethics bills remains to be seen. But grand forecasts about sweeping changes to the state’s loosest ethics laws now appear to be on shaky ground. Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard predicted rough patches ahead. (link via

▪ “We just don’t agree that the Senate is above the law. That’s our Capitol as citizens of Missouri. That’s a public space. These are public meetings.” — Progress Missouri director Laura Swinford on an open records suit the Democratic group has filed against the state Senate.

The case goes before the state Supreme Court Wednesday. To be decided: Can the Senate prohibit groups from recording Senate committee hearings?

▪ “We have no idea how many minor children are getting abortions in this state where someone pretending to be the parent is accompanying the child.” — Kerry Messer with the Missouri Family Network speaking in support of a bill that would require stronger proof that a parent or guardian has given permission for a minor to have an abortion.

The state already requires written permission from a parent. The proposal would up the ante. That permission would have to be notarized and kept on file in a doctor’s office for seven years.

▪ “I’m disappointed the judge ruled I wouldn’t be allowed to look.” — Wichita mathematician Beth Clarkson who lost her bid to review paper voting machine tapes from the 2014 election to check for possible fraud or malfunctioning.

Clarkson said the only way to find out if something was wrong with the voting machines would be to check election results against the paper tapes. “No one ever looks at them,” she said. “How can we know?”