A restriction on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers didn’t pass this legislative session, but House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) says it will be a priority in 2017.
“That bill will be the first bill out of the House of Representatives next year,” said Richardson. “We are going to look at every tool that we have to put a meaningful gift limit into law.”
That and other ethics reforms were a top priority for Richardson, but that one didn’t pass before the session’s end, yesterday.
Representative Brandon Ellington (D-Kansas City) says lobbyists gifts aren’t the problem.
“The only thing you can do with a lobbyist gift is use it at that time, so if you go to dinner, that food goes in your stomach. With a campaign check, you can use that for all types of resources. That’s what we should be focusing on,” said Ellington, suggesting that campaign finance reform should be the top priority.
The proposed restriction on lobbyist gifts died in the Senate. Some Senators said the measure went too far, while others said it didn’t go far enough.