Missouri bill would let police, firefighters engage in politics

Monday, June 3, 2013 | 7:21 a.m. CDT; updated 2:57 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 3, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY  — Missouri first responders would be allowed to engage in political activity under a bill being considered by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The measure would prohibit local governments from restricting the political activities of first responders while they're off-duty and out of uniform.

First responders, including firefighters and police, could also not be prohibited by local ordinance from seeking political office.

The legislation was sponsored by Republican Rep. Dave Hinson, of St. Clair. Hinson is a firefighter and paramedic.

Another version also awaiting Nixon's signature would repeal a law barring Kansas City police officers from serving in political office or engaging in political activity.

Nixon has until mid-July to act on legislation.

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Bill Weitkemper June 3, 2013 | 4:37 p.m.

There are many City of Columbia employees, including firefighters and police officers that would do just as well, or better, than some of Columbia’s present elected officials. I doubt that is the intent of the ordinance change. Even if it was there is still the residency requirement that would prevent most firefighters and many police officers from serving on Columbia’s City Council.

However, I don’t see a major reason to prevent any City of Columbia employee from engaging in political activity off the job or having the opportunity of seeking a political office in another city where they may reside.

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