This is the fifth issue of the Missouri Policy Journal and we are proud of reaching this many issues knowing that more are planned for the years ahead.
The Missouri General Assembly term that ended in May 2017, failed to pass an ethics reform bill. The bill made some headway in the Missouri House of Representatives but failed to get anywhere in the Senate. Governor Eric Greitens made ethics reform an issue in his 2016 campaign when running for Governor. The article in the current issue on former Missouri Congressman Richard Bolling (who served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1983) addresses how Bolling looked at ethics reform. While the article in this issue may be seen as focused on Congress and not the Missouri General Assembly, it nevertheless provides insight into how to look at ethics reform regardless of which legislature is the focus of attention. It might be assumed that ethics reform will return as an issue in the Missouri General Assembly and this article may help to provide insight into how this issue should be approached.
The two articles on Ban the Box are an outgrowth of a conference that was held at Lindenwood University. Those who have been released from prison, after serving their time, will need to re-enter the workforce and both articles address how to examine that issue with the focus on Missouri.
Joseph A. Cernik, Editor
Cover: Photo by Tom Gasko - The Vacuum Cleaner Museum (St. James, Missouri) is dedicated to celebrating and preserving the history of Vacuum Cleaner. Starting before they had motors to the most recent introductions, the Vacuum Cleaner Museum divides these amazing machines into their decade of production. The original advertising is displayed in each decade-themed room, making the transition from decade to decade an easy one. Learn why vacuum cleaners have headlights, as well as take a peek into the inner workings of period machines (both motorized as well as non-motorized models). Tours of the Vacuum Cleaner Museum are FREE. Souvenir shop available with T-Shirts, Pens, Tote bags, Key Chains, as well as vacuum cleaner Ornaments. The Vacuum Museum, #3 Industrial Drive, St. James, Missouri is open Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Copy Editor: Shelley Walton
Congressman Richard Bolling and Missouri Ethics Reform by Rebekkah Stuteville
Ethics reform for government institutions in the United States has followed an uneven path since modern reform efforts began in earnest in the 1970s in the wake of Watergate. Ethics reform is arguably a “reactive” and “piecemeal process” that has been “undertaken defensively.” In the traditional cycle, ethics reform rises on the public’s agenda after scandals have been uncovered; public officials then become concerned about the reputation of their institutions and their own electoral prospect. Then, in response, regulations are crafted to prevent a reoccurrence of behaviors. Once an ethical problem is addressed through a regulatory “fix,” ethics reform becomes less salient to the public.
Challenges with Ban the Box by Scott Anders
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports if current trends continue, one in 15 adults and one in three African-American males will be imprisoned during their lifetime. A woman is eight times more likely to be incarcerated now than she was in the 1980s. As of today, one in 99 adults are imprisoned and one in 32 adults are on probation or parole. If an employer has a policy to exclude applicants who have a felony conviction, they are significantly limiting the number of qualified applicants. The ban the box campaign was created to remove this barrier at the application phase by asking employers to omit a check box regarding criminal records, while still allowing for criminal history to be considered prior to the job offer.
Missouri Among States Pursuing Fair-Chance Hiring Reforms by Michelle Natividad Rodriguez & Jeanette Mott Oxford
The United States has the appalling distinction of leading the world with its incarceration rate, which is five times that of other countries. One in thirty-five U.S. adults is under some form of correctional supervision. The result is that seventy million people—nearly one in three U.S. adults—must endure the stigma of having an arrest or conviction record. Any contact with the criminal justice system, no matter how minor, can be a modern-day scarlet letter.