The Buzz

TheChat: Gov. Jay Nixon signs first ethics bill

Nixon AP

It’s a new week, so let’s get moving.

▪ “When a lawmaker, or even worse a member of the legislative leadership, is working as a paid consultant for another member of the General Assembly or a candidate for public office, that’s a clear and unacceptable conflict of interest that compromises the integrity of the entire legislative process.” — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signing a bill that bars elected officials from hiring one another as paid political consultants.

This is the first ethics reform measure to reach Nixon’s desk this session, and the governor hopes there are several more. That prospect looks uncertain, even though lawmakers made ethics reform the session’s top issue.

▪ “I’m voting yes.” — Missouri state Rep. Ron Hicks, a St. Peters Republican, indicating he will vote to approve the controversial SJR 39 in the House Emerging Issues Committee. Hicks’ vote should be enough to get the measure out of committee and possibly to the House floor.

The proposed constitutional amendment, which critics say would legalize discrimination against gay couples, has already passed the state Senate. Now it appears poised to move up another step on the legislative ladder. The issue remains white-hot in Missouri and a topic of national interest.

▪ “Others are learning from the examples that we are setting.” — interim MU System President Mike Middleton on how well the system is handling issues of racial diversity and inclusion on its campuses.

Middleton told curators last week that MU is getting a handle on the crisis and has emerged as a national leader in how to handle these issues. (link via

▪ “Unprecedented politicized effort.” — how a fundraising appeal on behalf of Kansas Supreme Court Justice Carol Beier is describing lawmakers’ attempts to undermine the retention prospects of justices because of the court’s school finance rulings.

Beier didn’t write the potentially inflammatory remark and noted that she’s recused herself from a key school-finance case. Four of the five members of the court facing retention election this year now have corporations designed to bolster their retention efforts. The appeal noted that lawmakers haven’t been happy with the court’s recent rulings on school funding issues at a time when “Kansas government is confronted with a self-created financial shortfall.”