Restricting lobbyist gifts next target for state lawmakers

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri lawmakers pushing to change the state’s loose ethics laws next will turn to ways to clamp down on the flow of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers.

A bill to ban lobbyist gifts to public officials is up for review Tuesday in a House committee.

Lobbyists can spend whatever they want on sports tickets, meals, drinks and other gifts to Missouri lawmakers. Last year, lobbyists doled out nearly $220,000, including more than $800 worth of Cardinals baseball tickets to one lawmaker.

Legislative leaders have cited ramping up state ethics laws as a priority this session after two former lawmakers who were accused of inappropriate behavior toward interns resigned last year.

Pushback so far has primarily centered on concerns from Democrats that the proposed changes don’t go far enough.

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