Missouri lawmakers' bills raise questions about conflicts
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - In the Missouri Legislature, farmers shape agriculture policy and a landlord has championed rental legislation. Those are among several examples in which lawmakers have pushed bills affecting the industry in which they work.
While some lawmakers said they don't personally stand to make financial gains, bills filed this past session could help their industries as a whole.
For example, Republican Rep. Dan Shaul of Imperial is the state director of the Missouri Grocers Association. He sponsored a bill sent to Gov. Jay Nixon that would ensure stores have the option to offer customers plastic bags.
An industry advocate said plastic bags cost a business about one cent, compared to five to seven cents for paper bags.
Legislative leaders said outside experience can help inform policymaking.