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lobbyists

Samuel King / KCUR 89.3

Beyoncé tickets. Pricey steak dinners. Royals games. 

Lobbyists used to be able to spend thousands in an effort to influence Missouri lawmakers. Voters approved a $5 dollar limit on gifts for lawmakers in November. A KCUR analysis of data released this month by the Missouri Ethics Commission shows there’s been a 94% decrease in spending from the 2019 to 2018 legislative session. 

In this year’s session, lobbyists spent less than $17,000 on lawmakers. That’s a significant drop from the about $300,000 spent in the 2018 session. 

Out of all the items on the Nov. 6 ballot, Clean Missouri is creating some of the most unusual partners in recent Missouri political history.

Proponents of the measure, on the ballot as Amendment 1, include left-of-center activists who helped write and fund the initiative, as well as some current and former GOP officials. Clean Missouri backers believe that the amendment will make lawmakers more responsive to people instead of special interest groups or lobbyists.

Ken Zirkel / flickr

Segment 1: Ballot measure looks to restrict lobbyists and make legislative districting non-partisan.

The Clean Missouri initiative on the November ballot is so controversial opponents sought to have it removed from the ballot. Today, reporter Jason Rosenbaum and political science professor Debra Leiter explained the multiple goals within the proposed amendment, and the long-term effects it could have on state politics if it passes.

Ben Schumin / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: Are lobbyists the secret to keeping local companies competitive?

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In light of newly passed legislation impacting gun laws and school funding, many college students in Kansas and Missouri may not feel like lawmakers are hearing their concerns. 

Two student lobbyists are hoping to change that.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How do university students ensure their priorities have a voice in state government?

Students in Kansas and Missouri have concerns that go beyond their next exams and life after graduation. They point to soaring tuition rates, concealed weapons on campus, sexual harassment and assault, and state support for higher education. To communicate their concerns, student lobbyists work the hallways in both state Capitols. Today, we met the students who do this important work.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Questions about a private company’s efforts to win a lucrative prison contract from former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration have lawmakers looking to close a loophole in state lobbying laws.

Current law requires legislative lobbyists to register with the state and report their expenses. But there are no such requirements for those peddling influence in the executive and judicial branches of state government.

On Wednesday, members of the Senate voted 40-0 to pass a bill that would change that.

On this weeks Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Rep. Lauren Arthur (D-Kansas City) talks about the future of the state's Democratic party, Gov. Eric Greitens' State of the State address, and casting the lone no vote in committee on the session's first ethics reform bill.

Guests:

Republican Roy Blunt has represented Missouri in Washington, D.C., for 19 years. After seven terms in the House of Representatives, Blunt moved to the Senate in 2010. Now, Blunt finds himself in a tight race against Democrat Jason Kander that may cost his party control of the U.S. Senate. Also, Brian McTavish presents the latest Weekend To-Do List.

Lobbyists get a bad rap, but before we judge, let's hear from the lobbyists themselves about what they do and how they get it done. Everything you've always wanted to know but were too afraid to ask. Plus, notes on the recent legislative session in Kansas.

Guests:

  • Kimberly Svatie, lobbyist, Gencur Svatie Public Affairs
  • Bill Sneed, lawyer and lobbyist, Polsinelli

Recently, Harvest Public Media took a look at the new Farm Bill, and what they found might surprise you.

On Monday's Up to Date, we discuss how little influence farmers and agricultural groups had in shaping the bill and look at who the major players actually were.

Guests:

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.

File Photo

Missouri lawmakers in both chambers are pre-filing bills for next year’s regular session.  Much of the legislation pre-filed in the State Senate so far deals with tax credits.