Legislative column

As we are now less than one week away from election day, I am reminded of the ethical standards to which Missouri lawmakers and elected officials are held, and to which I’ve held myself while serving in the Missouri Senate. This year the House and Senate were able to pass some meaningful pieces of legislation that aim to clean up the ethical guidelines here in Jefferson City and ensure the main focus is always on representing the needs of the people first. I was happy to support these pieces of legislation and will continue to do so in the future.

During this political year we’ve all been inundated with claims of legislators accepting handouts from various organizations. I want to assure you that in my time serving Missourians in the Senate, I have not taken any gifts, meals or otherwise from lobbyists. You can verify this by checking my ethics report. By law, lobbyists are required to report something as small as a cup of coffee. Failure to do so can result in fines and/or penalties. The purpose of serving my constituents in Jefferson City is to do just that, serve YOU, not lobbyists and special interests.

I would encourage you to hold your elected officials accountable for their actions while representing you. One way to do this is to stay informed. The Missouri Ethics Commission, (MEC) comprised of six members appointed by the governor and tasked with staying non-partisan, is responsible for transparency and providing public information to constituents. The MEC website (www.mec.mo.gov) contains a wealth of information including detailed financial information about campaign expenditures and contributions and monthly reports for each legislator. The Commission is responsible for enforcing Missouri’s ethics laws and retaining information pertaining to conflicts of interest and lobbyist reporting. I encourage you to visit their website and take advantage of the resources and information available.

Mike Cunningham is a Republican member of the Missouri State Senate, representing District 33. Contact him at 573-751-1882 or www.senate.mo.gov/cunningham

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