Missouri Senate debates $40 limit on lobbyist-bought meals

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Lobbyists could spend up to $40 a day per lawmaker on meals under legislation pending in the Missouri Senate.

Republican Sen. Dave Schatz unveiled the proposal Wednesday that would ban most gifts to lawmakers and public officials but still leave them with a healthy limit for meals.

Lobbyist spending currently is unlimited in Missouri.

Backers say the proposal is a step forward, but critics say it doesn’t go far enough. House members previously had approved a ban on lobbyist gifts except for meals offered to all lawmakers and statewide officials.

Under the most recent Senate proposal, lawmakers still could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner for free courtesy of different lobbyists.

The bill is one of several proposed ethics changes gaining traction following Capitol scandals last year.