Missouri lawmakers can eat for free when giving speeches

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Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Constitution forbids lawmakers from accepting free lobbyist meals worth more than $5, unless the lawmakers are official speakers at the dinner.

It also prohibits them from taking free tickets to St. Louis Cardinals or Kansas City Royals baseball games _ unless they’re throwing out the first pitch.

The Missouri Ethics Commission outlined those exceptions along with various others Monday as it released a series of interpretations about what state lawmakers and their staff can and can’t do under the so-called Clean Missouri amendment approved by voters in 2018.

In general, the commission says it’s OK for lawmakers to receive some items above the $5 gift limit if they are performing an official duty or service.

A spokesman for Clean Missouri says that could be abused.

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