Lobbyists | St. Louis Public Radio

Lobbyists

A drone photo from September 11, 2018, shows the site of the new headquarters of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Zach Dalin Photography

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has approved a plan to again use eminent domain to secure the new site of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters.

The federal government asked for the condemnation process to ensure the city can turn the 97-acre site over to them by a Nov. 14 deadline. But some aldermen questioned if they had enough information to make the correct decision.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated June 29  - It’s unclear if Missouri lawmakers will try next year to ban gifts from lobbyists, due in part to changing leadership in the House and Senate.

The two lawmakers who backed this year’s bill to ban most gifts from lobbyists have left the Legislature. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, who sponsored the bill in the House, is now Gov. Mike Parson’s legislative director, and the senate backer, Mike Kehoe, is now lieutenant governor.

Legislation passed by the Missouri House last month banning most gifts from lobbyists has been altered by a Senate committee.

The original version would ban all gifts except plants, flowers, and catered events in which all state lawmakers and elected officials are invited. Now, the bill would allow officeholders to accept no more than $40 worth of gifts per day, and would require them to reimburse the lobbyist for anything above $40.

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Lobbyist gifts, a tax credit for the elderly, and a bill frowned upon by labor unions are on next week’s tentative agenda for the Missouri General Assembly.

Some Senate members appear to be close to their own version of a proposal to ban most gifts from lobbyists. Details are being withheld at the moment, but Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said it could be voted out of committee next week.

Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate is again considering capping the state’s two biggest tax credit programs, despite their popularity with local leaders in urban and suburban areas.

Two separate bills, SB 590 and SB 591, would place limits of $50 million a year on incentives for both historic preservation and low income housing, which are both currently capped at $140 million. State Senator Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, sponsors both. He touted them Tuesday before the Senate committee on ethics.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

It was a short but busy day for the Missouri House, as they sent three bills - on lobbyist gifts, human trafficking and hair braiding - to the Senate on Wednesday.

For the third year in a row, the House passed legislation banning most gifts from lobbyists to elected officials. The exceptions allowed in the lobbyist gift ban include flowers for weddings, funerals and similar events, and free food at catered events as long as every lawmaker and statewide elected official is invited.

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. 

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.

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.

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