Caleb Rowden

House Minority Leader Jake Hummel, D-St. Louis, and Rep. John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, meet the press after the House adjourned for the year in May. Both men voted to dissolve foreclosure mediation ordinances in 2013.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Republicans aren’t often compared to Russian communists. But that’s what happened recently after GOP members of the Missouri House helped pass legislation pre-empting cities from banning plastic bags, raising minimum wages or requiring certain work benefits. House Minority Leader Jake Hummel accused his Republican colleagues in a statement of believing that “Soviet-style central state planning is superior to local control.”

State Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia
Bram Sable-Smith I KBIA

This week’s Politically Speaking breaks some new ground. Through the magic of radio, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies joined with KBIA’s Bram Sable-Smith to interview state Rep. Caleb Rowden.

The Columbia Republican and Rock Bridge High School graduate was first elected to the Missouri House in 2012. Rowden had a somewhat unconventional road to Missouri state politics: He was a successful Christian rock musician before running for a vacant House seat in 2012.

Money gift
"Tax Credits" / Via Flickr

The Missouri House could debate a bill this week that would enact some changes to how lobbying is conducted and disclosed in Jefferson City.

Currently, there are no limits on how much a lawmaker can receive in gifts from lobbyists. The gifts from lobbyists can include anything from food and drinks to expensive travel to sports tickets. Altogether, lobbyists spend about $1 million each year on the gifts.

A bill by state Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, would make some changes to lobbying practices, but it wouldn't be the sweeping ethics reform that many have called for.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate and Missouri House have both passed bills to ban sales of electronic nicotine delivery devices to minors.

House Bill 1690 and Senate Bill 841 would both limit the sales of these devices, sometimes called e-cigarettes, to consumers 18 years old and older, and both versions would not subject the devices to  regulation or taxation as tobacco products.