JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Three Missouri state lawmakers have resigned just ahead of the date a new constitutional amendment takes effect requiring legislators to wait two years before they can become lobbyists.
Democratic state Sen. Jake Hummel confirmed Tuesday that he had resigned Friday in order to preserve his right to register as a lobbyist sooner rather than later.
Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew submitted his resignation Tuesday, to take effect Wednesday, a day before the requirement kicks in. Republican Rep. Kirk Mathews resigned effective Nov. 27. Neither stated a reason in his resignation letter nor immediately responded to phone messages Tuesday seeking comment.
Missouri voters approved Constitutional Amendment 1 with 62 percent of the vote in the Nov. 6 election. It automatically takes effect 30 days later.
Current law requires lawmakers to wait six months after the end of their elected term before they can start lobbying. The new amendment requires them to wait two years after the end of the session in which they last served, but it applies only to those serving on or after the measure's effective date.
Hummel, who is secretary-treasurer of the Missouri AFL-CIO, said he plans to continue working for the labor union.
"If, in the future, this position or any other requires filing" as a lobbyist with the Missouri Ethics Commission, "I want to ensure that I am able to do so," Hummel said in an emailed statement.
Hummel, of St. Louis, lost in the August Democratic primary and was scheduled to end his term Jan. 9. Corlew and Mathews also had been scheduled to leave office then.
Corlew, of Kansas City, was narrowly defeated in the November election. Mathews, of Pacific, chose not to seek re-election this year.
The latest resignations mean 11 of the 163 House seats and three of the 34 Senate seats will be vacant until newly elected lawmakers are sworn in to office in January. Several other lawmakers resigned before this year's elections to take new jobs.
Amendment 1 also subjects lawmakers to the state open-records law, imposes a $5 lobbyist gift limit and revamps the legislative redistricting process. The measure makes Missouri the first in the nation to use a mathematical formula to try to prevent gerrymandering and achieve "partisan fairness" and "competitiveness" beginning after the 2020 Census.