Missouri Lawmakers Struggle with Ethics Measures
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Missouri lawmakers are running out of time to consider ethics legislation this year before the Legislature's mandatory adjournment in mid-May.
Although legislative leaders remain hopeful something will pass, a familiar pattern of opposition has emerged that suggests legislators are at an impasse.
Democratic attempts to reinstate limits on campaign contributions have thwarted recent attempts to impose restrictions on lobbying expenses. Republicans say campaign finance and ethics should be two separate issues, while Democrats argue that curbing influence can't happen without limiting donations.
The end result of the gridlock could be that lobbyists have at least one more year to spend lavishly on efforts to influence public policy. During the first three months of this year, legislators raked in more than $400,000 in freebies from lobbyists.