The ethics law passed last year (the bill that was, at one time, "the most comprehensive and sweeping ethics reform bill in the universe") requires incoming legislators to pay all of their outstanding fines and fees to the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) before they're sworn in. From Section 130.071 of SB844:
If a successful candidate...fails to file the [disclosure] reports which are required by this chapter, the candidate shall not take office until such reports are filed and all fees assessed by the commission are paid.
As of this morning, Jonas Hughes (D-Kansas City) owed $19,000 in fees and fines to the Missouri Ethics Commission, making him unable to be seated in the General Assembly.
Missouri Ethics Commission records show that at least three other legislators were scrambling to get their affairs in order before taking office on Wednesday:
- Sanctimonious self-professed elections expert John Diehl (R-Town and Country) paid d a $1,600 late fee to the MEC on Tuesday
- Mark Parkinson (R-St. Charles) paid a $300 late fee on Tuesday
- Steven Webb (D-Florissant) paid a $2,234 Commission order and $4,590 late fee on Monday