Kander puts an end to accepting gifts from lobbyists

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander says he has adopted a new ethics policy barring the staff in his office from accepting gifts from lobbyists.

Kander says the policy is one of several initiatives he already has undertaken since being sworn into office on Monday.

The new Democratic secretary of state also announced plans for a commission to recommend what he terms the most "efficient, fair and secure way" to let Missourians cast ballots before Election Day.

Missouri now allows absentee voting only for people who swear they cannot make it to the polls on Election Day or meet other limited criteria. The state has no general early-voting period.

Kander says he's also increasing efforts to help new businesses that must register with his office.