Whether the legislature will propose a ban on or restriction of gifts from lobbyists to legislators could be decided in the next few weeks.
The House proposed a total ban on gifts from lawmakers to lobbyists. That bill ran into resistance in the Senate, and House sponsor Justin Alferman (R-Hermann) is feeling anxious.
“Each day that we don’t get that bill back I grow increasingly pessimistic that we’re going to get this done,” said Alferman.
Senator Bob Onder (R-Lake Saint Louis) doesn’t think the bill is dead.
“I think what we’ll probably end up seeing is some sort of a threshold of gifts that are allowed,” said Onder of what might be a compromise between the House and Senate. “Because some people quite frankly don’t want to see any gift ban at all and others of us take a firmer position that we really ought to ban gifts completely.”
Alferman says if a threshold approach is taken, it must not be easily worked around or be too low.
“To make sure that there’s no unintended consequences of setting up a threshold that can easily be avoided or circumvented,” said Alferman. “I’m open to any and all suggestions in order to get something because between what we have now and the House bill, there’s a lot of wiggle room in there. Between unlimited gifts to lawmakers and zero, there’s a lot of wiggle room in there, so I have to see a finished product from the Senate before we actually get into a compromise position.”
The legislature returns Tuesday from Spring Break.