lobbying

Senate floor at the Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

The Missouri Senate has temporarily set aside debate on ethics legislation that would curb lobbying.

Challiyan / Flickr

You’ve probably heard it before: rates of smoking and tobacco use in Missouri are some of the highest in the nation. Roughly 1 in 4 Missourians over the age of 18 smoke tobacco and the state ranks 50th for workplace exposure to second-hand smoke.  But what isn’t clear is why Missouri has consistently ranked so low compared with other states. I spoke with Traci Kennedy, Executive Director of Tobacco Free Missouri, who says it’s because lawmakers have made it particularly easy to be a tobacco user in the state.

Missouri Capitol
Ryan Famuliner / KBIA

A small handful of donors account for the bulk of money raised for statewide candidates and ballot measures in Missouri.

Missouri Capitol
File / KBIA

A Missouri Senate panel is considering legislation that would make legislators wait two years after leaving office to become lobbyists.

missouri house floor
File Photo / KBIA News

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has unveiled a wide-ranging ethics proposal he wants lawmakers to take up and pass this year.

It includes restoring campaign contribution limits, banning gifts from lobbyists to all state elected officials, and requiring a 3-year waiting period before ex-lawmakers can work as lobbyists. Kander said if adopted, Missouri can go from having the worst ethics system in the country to the best:

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.

A newly formed secular lobbying group is one step closer to finalizing its leadership after its second state-wide organizing call Thursday.