Lobbyists | St. Louis Public Radio

Lobbyists

State Senator Rob Schaaf addresses Lt. Gov. Mike Parson on the last day day of the General Assembly's legislative session.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans had a lot to be optimistic about when the General Assembly convened in January. For the first time nearly a decade, the GOP held the reins of power in the executive and legislative branches — giving the party a prime chance to pass longstanding policy initiatives.

That optimism turned out to be warranted, especially when it came to overhauling the state’s labor and legal climate. But the process was anything but smooth. 

Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Day at the Missouri Capitol, 2013
MoBikeFed | Flickr

Updated 6 p.m. April 28 to correct that Missouri would be among the only states with an abortion notification law — The only thing Missouri lawmakers must do in the final two weeks of 2017 legislative session is pass the state budget for the coming fiscal year.

But there are a whole lot of things they could do — some of which Gov. Eric Greitens wants them to do — such as tightening abortion regulations, raising the standard for workplace discrimination and creating the last-in-the-country prescription drug monitoring program.

The Missouri House floor in 2016.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Free stuff from lobbyists — anything from free meals to concert and game tickets to trips abroad — are part of the perks of being a lawmaker.

Such gifts, though, have been on the chopping block for a couple of years, with Missouri Republican legislative leaders and now Gov. Eric Greitens looking to ban them. In the face of last year’s failed efforts to ban lobbyist gifts, Greitens took quick action once in office.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House has moved fast on the latest effort to ban gifts from lobbyists, and it could send the proposal to the Senate this week.

House members gave first-round approval Thursday to this year's bill, which would ban gifts from lobbyists to elected officials, with a few exceptions such as flower arrangements and speaking fees. It's sponsored again by Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann.

The Missouri General Assembly placed most of this year's amendments on the ballot.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

If there was one big lesson that John Lamping learned during his tenure in the Missouri Senate, it was that it’s very difficult to pass a bill – but very simple to kill one. 

Case in point: The former GOP lawmaker proposed two-year ban on lawmakers going into lobbying, something that’s taken hold in other states and throughout the U.S. Congress. But Lamping’s proposal never got off the ground.

(via Flickr/Kami)

Through the first six months of the year, Missouri lawmakers accepted $675,000 in gifts from lobbyists.

On Monday, we'll be taking a look at some of the noticeable trends -- how this year stacks up with years past, which parties and lawmakers have been taking the gifts, etc. But today we're going to take a look at four noteworthy gifts from the first half of the year.

(via Flickr/401K)

Lobbyists spend nearly $1 million each year on gifts for Missouri lawmakers. The types of gifts vary greatly -- from expensive meals and drinks to tickets for sporting events to small things like stamps and books.

Each month, lobbyists have to disclose those gifts. And, in partnership with NPR, St. Louis Public Radio has a website (LobbyingMissouri.org) that keeps track of it all.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

This week the Politically Speaking crew welcomes Secretary of State Jason Kander to the podcast. Kander, a Democrat from Kansas City, narrowly captured the statewide office in 2012 after a hard-fought contest with Republican Shane Schoeller.

Interactive: Lobbying In Missouri

Nov 5, 2013

Companies and other organizations with an interest in Missouri state government hire lobbyists to influence policy in Jefferson City. In partnership with NPR, St. Louis Public Radio has a new way to keep track of all the gifts your state lawmakers have been receiving.

Busch Stadium
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Ah, the summer recess. A time for legislators to unwind, have a few cold ones, and get taken to baseball games by lobbyists.

Even though Missouri lawmakers won't return to Jefferson City until next week's veto session, lobbyists have continued to shower legislators with gifts through the dog days of summer. Lobbyists have spent about $100,000 on gifts since mid-May.

That brings the grand total for 2013 to $819,127.47.

(via Flickr/Tax Credits)

Nice restaurants in Jefferson City should be sad to see the Missouri Legislative session end. They’ve received tens of thousands of dollars worth of business from lobbyists courting Missouri’s legislators over dinners and drinks.

Who were the legislators taken out for expensive meals? Well, in many cases, we don’t really know.

Who Are Missouri's Biggest Lobbyists?

Apr 11, 2013
Money gift
Flickr

Infographics: Explore the Numbers

In the second chart in our "By The Numbers" project, you can see who the biggest lobbyists are. The top is probably a name you will recognize.

Infographics: Explore the Numbers

In just two months this year, Missouri legislators and state-wide officials received more than a third of a million dollars in gifts from lobbyists. Expensive meals, basketball tickets and clothes are all common gifts to the people that craft our laws and govern us.

(Office of Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson)

Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson’s decision to resign from the House of Representatives is disappointing for two reasons.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A Democratic candidate for the Missouri Senate is calling for a ban on all gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers, and accusing his opponent of accepting more gifts and free meals over the past decade than any other Missouri legislator.

Scott Sifton (D, Affton) is a member of the Missouri House and is trying to unseat incumbent State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) in the 1st Senate District that covers most of South County.  Sifton accuses Lembke of accepting 560 gifts over the past 10 years.