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Negotiations over ethics bill set


By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has formally said "no" to the ethics legislation passed last week by the House, setting up a final round of negotiations over the wide-ranging bill.

It contains several items that have not been associated with this year's ethics debate, such as requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon remained optimistic that a compromise can be reached by Friday.

"I think you need to have campaign contribution limits, I think we need to get rid of this murky committee-to-committee transfer world in which dollars flow around and people can't tell where they're going," Nixon said during a visit to St. Peters. "I think there's a chance...both the House and Senate have passed very differing bills, but I do think that they're feeling some pressure on that."

The centerpiece of the bill is a $20,000 cap on campaign contributions for statewide officeholders, but there is disagreement over whether the cap would also apply to lawmakers.

House Democrats say the bill was designed to fail by Republicans who don't really want ethics reform. House GOP leaders disagree, calling it a comprehensive reform bill.