- Associated Press - Sunday, November 2, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - A new website showing contributions to Missouri lawmakers and their voting records has gone live.

Developers of the Access Missouri website received a $25,000 grant from a University of Missouri fund that provides money for interdisciplinary, student-centered projects, the Columbia Daily Tribune (https://bit.ly/1Ebf0OI ) reports. The website aggregates voting information from the House and Senate journals and financial information from the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Ryan Famuliner, the news director for the university-owned radio station KBIA-FM, said that while reporters and people who frequent Jefferson City know how to access voting records by thumbing through documents online, that’s not practical for the average person. The goal in creating the website was to give voters a one-stop shop for that public information.

Before coming to KBIA-FM, Famuliner worked at MissouriNet, a radio network out of Jefferson City. He recalls being in New Orleans during the Missouri legislative session one year and seeing a car with a Missouri senator’s license plates.

“People should be able to track what their legislator is doing,” Famuliner said. “You should be able to know: Is your legislator there?”

Right now, viewers can see a timeline that shows all incoming gifts and expenditures made by candidates’ or legislators’ financial accounts. One of the planned additions is to have a timeline of votes cast by the candidate - the votes currently are in list form - so viewers can compare the timelines, said Matt Kalish, a student member of the team.

For example, if a legislator votes on an issue related to energy companies and then receives a check from a company on either side of that issue, that would be visible on the timelines.

Famuliner said though the site currently shows how many “yes,” ”no” and “other” votes were cast by the legislator, he hopes to break down the “other” category even further to show when legislators were absent for votes. The site also shows how many times the legislator changed his or her vote, but Famuliner hopes that too will be broken down in the future to show specifically which bills they flipped on.

“This is for someone who wants to know basic information about how to vote,” Famuliner said about the site. “It’s all public information, which is nice, but it’s hard to access typically. So we packed the site with basic information you want to have.”

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Online:

Access Missouri: https://www.accessmissouri.org/

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com

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