The state Senate has debated banning lobbyist gifts to legislators but hasn’t come to a decision.  Senator Dave Schatz (R-Sullivan) said the bill needs work.

Senators Jamilah Nasheed and Dave Schatz

Senators Jamilah Nasheed and Dave Schatz

“All I suggest is that we lay this bill over for a while and we sit back and have a serious conversation on what we really want to accomplish. Right now we are so far out of whack from what we are really trying to address that I’m not sure where this ends up,” said Schatz.

Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) said Schatz should offer ways to improve the measure.

“I just don’t think you like the overall bill. I think you want to continue to get gifts. I think you want lobbyists to continue to buy your staff gifts,” said Nasheed.

Schatz replied by saying the bill would only make it harder to see who is giving and receiving gifts. Nasheed disagreed with Schatz’s statement.

Senators have unanimously passed a House ethics bill that would prohibit legislators and statewide elected officials from being paid political consultants while in office. Legislative staff is not included in the bill. It’s on its way back to the House with changes.

Last week, the Missouri Senate rejected a House ethics proposal that would keep lawmakers and elected officials from becoming lobbyists one year after the end of a term. Senators voted instead to make officials wait only until the end of a term to cross over.

After a scandalous 2015 in the Missouri legislature, leaders in both chambers have said passing ethics proposals is a priority this session. Former House Speaker John Diehl, Jr. resigned after admitting to exchanging sexually-suggestive texts with a college intern and two college interns also accused former senator Paul LeVota of sexual harassment.

House Speaker Todd Richardson asked Representative Don Gosen to resign last week, though the reason for his resignation has not been made public beyond saying it involved “personal” issues.