Multiple Missouri lawmakers resign ahead of new lobbyist limits taking effect

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Yet another Missouri lawmaker resigned just ahead of a new constitutional amendment limiting his ability to become a lobbyist.

Democratic Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis resigned at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. That was one minute before a voter-approved amendment took effect requiring lawmakers to wait two years before registering as lobbyists.

Current law requires lawmakers to wait six months after the end of their elected term before they can start lobbying. Amendment 1 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.

Curtis, of Ferguson, will give up about $3,000 in salary by resigning a month before his term was to end. His resignation letter didn't cite a reason.

Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew submitted his resignation Tuesday, to take effect Wednesday, a day before the requirement kicked in. He represented parts of southeast Platte County and southwest Clay County in the Northland, and narrowly lost in November's election to Matt Sain.

Republican Rep. Kirk Mathews resigned effective Nov. 27, he represented a district in suburban St. Louis. Neither Corlew nor Matthews stated a reason in their resignation letter nor immediately responded to phone messages seeking comment.

Democratic state Sen. Jake Hummel confirmed Tuesday that he had resigned in order to preserve his right to register as a lobbyist sooner rather than later. His district covered parts of St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

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 lost in the August Democratic primary and was scheduled to end his term Jan. 9.

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.

There now are 13 vacancies in the 163-member House and three in the 34-member Senate. Nearly a third of those came after voters approved Constitutional Amendment 1 on Nov. 6.

Some left earlier to take jobs in Gov. Mike Parson's administration.