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Missouri Senate passes bills tackling term limits and lobbyist gift bans

Missouri Statehouse
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio
The Missouri Capitol building.

Missouri House and Senate members were able to get some work done this week, despite the time and attention paid to the report that came out Wednesday on Gov. Eric Greitens.

Among the measures passed by the Missouri Senate is a proposed constitutional amendment to change term limits for members of the legislature, allowing them to serve up to 16 years in any one chamber or to divide that time between the House and Senate. Currently they can only serve up to eight years in each chamber.

It would also ban gifts from lobbyists to elected officials, their staff, and family members.

Sen. Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, voted for the measure.

“I don’t know if I want 16 more years of this, but it’s [up to] the will of the people,” she said. “It’s like everything else we put on the ballot – I don’t have a problem with putting it out there and seeing if things are different than they were 20 years ago.”

That’s when Missouri voters approved the current eight-year term limits. If the measure passes the House it would go before Missouri voters this fall.

The Senate also passed a bill to require school districts to report any data breaches to the state that target students.

The House spent only two days this week debating and voting on bills, taking the rest of the week off before the committee investigating Greitens released its report. But members of the lower chamber did pass several bills before leaving town. They include one that would create a system of courts to handle drug treatment cases, and another that would expand the number of healthcare professionals required to complete two hours of suicide prevention training in order to practice in Missouri. The House also passed “Toby’s Law,” which would require those convicted of DWI to enroll in a victim impact program.

Next week, a Senate panel is expected to vote on the state budget, but the full Senate may not get much accomplished if Democrats continue to slow down the work pace as a means to get the House to begin impeachment proceedings against the governor.

Follow Marshall on Twitter:@MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.