Missouri First Responders Free to Be Politically Active
May 14, 2013 – After the passage of Missouri State Senate Bill 216, Missouri State Council of Fire Fighter (MSCFF) members and other first responders can now be politically active and run for elected office. The law is effective August 28, 2013.
While the legislation did pass overwhelmingly, getting initial support was a heavy lift. “Both sides of the state legislature have a Republican veto-proof majority, which can be an obstacle for legislation like this,” says IAFF 2nd District Vice President Mark Woolbright. “Our MSCFF Executive Board deserves full credit for helping our Missouri members gain the political freedom they deserve.”
“Our Legislative Director Mark Habbas did an excellent job of lobbying both sides of the state legislature,” says MSCFF President Tony Kelley. “The MSCFF also appreciates the support of the bill’s senate sponsor, Senator Ryan Silvey (R), and house sponsor, Representative Dave Hinson (R).” Hinson is a retired member of the Professional Fire Fighters of Eastern Missouri Local 2665.
There is no statewide law that prohibits first responders from being politically active or running for office. However, many municipalities have their own ordinances prohibiting both.
With the passage of SB 216, those ordinances are void. Missouri first responders are now allowed to be politically active and run for elected office as long as they do so off duty and out of uniform. The only exceptions are that active first responders cannot run for a seat on a Fire Protection District Board or for state representative or senator, as both are prohibited by state statute.