After 2 lawmakers resign, Missouri tries again on ethics

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) –┬áMissouri lawmakers will try in 2016 to tighten ethics laws in response to allegations that former lawmakers acted inappropriately toward interns.

Republican leaders of the state House and Senate say ethics is a priority in the session beginning Wednesday. House Speaker Todd Richardson says the culture of Jefferson City needs improvement.

Missouri is the only state with no restrictions on political donations, lobbyist gifts to lawmakers and lawmakers becoming lobbyists after leaving office.

Proposals in 2016 would set limits in those areas.

In 2015 former Democratic Sen. Paul LeVota resigned amid allegations that he sexually harassed interns, which LeVota has denied. It also follows the resignation of former Republican House Speaker John Diehl after he admitted to exchanging sexually charged text messages with an intern.