By: Summer Ballentine, Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- More than 100 new Missouri laws will take effect today, ranging from tougher ethics policies for lawmakers to a requirement that public schools give students time each day to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
House Speaker Todd Richardson made tightening the state's loose ethics laws a top priority in the legislative session that ended in May, after a tumultuous year that included the resignations of two former lawmakers who left office amid accusations of scandal.
Richardson's predecessor, John Diehl, resigned after exchanging sexually suggestive texts with a Capitol intern, as did Sen. Paul LeVota, who denied allegations of sexually harassing interns.
Both events gave momentum to efforts to revamp ethics laws that had failed for years.
Among the new laws is one that bans lawmakers, statewide elected officials and officeholders of seats that need Senate confirmation from registering as lobbyists for six months after their terms are set to expire.