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Missouri Senate backs end to lobbyist-catered group events

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri Senate has backed a proposal to stop the practice of lobbyists paying for catered events for groups of elected officials.

Senators voted 19-8 Tuesday for a proposal to stop group spending by lobbyists. The change was made as an amendment to legislation aimed at limiting lobbyist spending on lawmakers.

Some senators criticized a practice of lobbyists regularly catering meals for lawmakers at the Capitol.

Republican Sen. Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph proposed changing that. He says lobbyist spending can lead to a pay-to-play system that allows lobbyists to pay for access to legislators.

The change was part of a larger debate in the Legislature over tightening the state’s lax ethics laws following recent resignations of lawmakers accused of inappropriate behavior.

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