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Child demonstrators may be in violation of Missouri lobbying laws

March 15, 2000
By: Jessica Carter
State Capital Bureau

Children rallying against gun violence have been accused by a top GOP legislator of violating state lobbying laws. Jessica Carter reports from Jefferson City.

Story:Carter
RunTime: 40sx
OutCue: "I'm Jessica Carter."

Taxpayers spent five hundred dollars to send sixty-five St. Louis students to the capitol to demonstrate their views on firearm saftey.

The money was spent to transport the students, but according to St. Louis county representative Todd Akin, tax dollars can't be used for lobbying purposes.

Actuality:Akin
RunTime: 10sx
OutCue: (a particular position)
Contents: (says it is illegal and not allowed to use tax payers money to advocate a particualr position.)

The students' organizer says they came to express their opinions on firearm saftey not to advocate any particular legislation. From the State Capitol, I'm Jessica Carter.


Child lobbyists rallying against firearm violence may be in violation of state law. Jessica Carter reports from Jefferson City.

Story:Carter
RunTime: 40sx
OutCue: "I'm Jessica Carter"

Sixty-five St. Louis students took a day off from school to take a ride to the state capitol and demonstrate their views on gun saftey.

Their ride was in a rented bus that cost taxpayers five hundred dollars.

According to St. Louis representative Todd Akin, paying for the bus ride with state funds violates lobbying laws. He says tax dollars can't be spent for any lobbying purposes.

But Senator Betty Sims says the students came to the capitol for a learning experience.

Actuality:Sims
RunTime: 5sx
OutCue: "in a classroom."
Contents: (says they learned more today about civics than they would ever learn out of a book.)

The students' organizer says they aren't lobbyists because they aren't advocating any particular legislation. From the state capitol, I'm Jessica Carter.


Child demonstrators against gun violence may be in violation of state lobbying laws. Jessica Carter reports from Jefferson City.

Story:Carter
RunTime: 40sx
OutCue: "I'm Jessica Carter."

Tax payers spent five hundred dollars to transport sixty-five St. Louis students to the state capitol to rally against firearm violence.

St. Louis Representative Todd Akin says using tax dollars for lobbying purposes violates state law.

But, the group's organizer Mary Wersch says the children aren't lobbyists, they only came to express their opinions.

Actuality:Wersch
RunTime: 13sx
OutCue: "it your attention."
Contents: (Says they are raising their voices because they know its their right in this country, also that gun violence is a terrible problem, they can't vote so this is a way to get people's attention.)

The students are members of an after school club concerned about gun violence issues. From the State Capitol, I'm Jessica Carter.


Children rallying against firearm violence may be in violation of state lobbying laws. Jessica Carter reports from Jefferson City.

Story:Carter
RunTime: 40sx
OutCue: "I'm Jessica Carter."

Five hundred tax dollars were spent to send sixty-five St.Louis students to the capitol to demonstrate their views on gun saftey.

St. Louis Representative Todd Akin says state money can't be spent for lobbying purposes and if the students are lobbyists, they're in violation of state law.

Senator Betty Sims agrees that the students are acting as lobbyists.

Actuality:Sims
RunTime: 14sx
OutCue: "they're fabulous lobbyists."
Contents: Says lobbying is meant to persuade and to give your opinion and in that sense they are fabulous lobbyists."

On the other hand, Sims says the students didn't come to advocate any specific legislation. They only wanted to express their views on gun violence. From the state capitol, I'm Jessica Carter.