A waiting period for legislators to become lobbyists is a logical step in any ongoing movement to incorporate more transparency into state government.

Politicians already have difficulty gaining the trust of constituents. Too many citizens take a dim view of what happens after votes are cast and lawmakers take office, particularly given the influence of special interest groups.

A bill called the Kansas Integrity in Government Act stipulates that lawmakers wait one year before an elected or appointed official can lobby the same people they worked alongside in state government. …

House Minority Leader Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat who is running for governor, argued before the House Elections Committee that the bill would impose a “cooling off period” so legislators would not gain immediate in-roads as a lobbyist from associations made with others they serve alongside in chambers and committees.

The bill would also prevent such officials as the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, commissioner of insurance, Cabinet secretaries and high-ranking staff or appointed officials from working as paid lobbyists for one year after leaving office.

David Kensinger left his position as chief of staff for former Gov. Sam Brownback in April 2012 and returned to the lobbying firm he founded in 2004. …

A chief of staff for former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius also registered as a lobbyist within a year after leaving a prominent position in state government. …

Opponents of the bill contend the legislation unfairly limits employment opportunities for legislators who may have given up a previous job back home, or curtailed work, in order to serve as elected officials.

The proposed limitation, however, is for just one year and only prevents paid lobbying services. State officials and lawmakers can still begin employment with organizations that lobby state government. …

While Kansas lacks term limits for senators and representatives in the Statehouse, it needs to stop any perception that a “revolving door” exists for legislators to become lobbyists. …

No fewer than 41 states have imposed regulations on lobbying after state service and 26 require a one-year ban, while 10 demand a two-year limitation. A one-year wait for Kansas officials to cool off before becoming paid lobbyists should be adopted.

— GateHouse Kansas