The Senate yesterday passed their revised version of House Bill 142 a proposed reform of lobbyist expenditure laws.
Here’s a description of the Senate version from yesterday’s Peach Pundit Daily (which if you aren’t subscribed to why not?)
On The Senate Floor Today: The Senate will take up their revised version of House Speaker Ralston’s ethics reform bills. The Senate version bans lobbyist expenditures except when overridden by “authorized rule, executive order, regulation, ordinance, or resolution which governs acceptance of expenditures by such public officer and his or her staff” and then such expenditures cannot exceed $100. Consequently the House and Senate, every City Council, County Commission, and School Board must either accept the complete ban on lobbyist expenditures or adopt their own rules allowing them. The Senate already has rules in place allowing lobbyist expenditures. Oh, and Citizen Activists can remain Citizen Activists, except for that pesky provision of current law which says if they spend more than 10% of their time per month at the Capitol attempting to influence the outcome of legislation. Then they must cough up $300 and register as a Lobbyist.
For a description of the version as passed the House see my post on February 26th, the day after it passed.
The Senate has not taken action on House Bill 143, the other ethics bill proposed by Speaker Ralston and which passed the House on February 25th.
Jim Galloway spoke with Speaker Ralston after the Senate vote.
In any fight over what is – and what isn’t – good and moral behavior, moral high ground is essential. That’s what the coming few days will be about, and the House speaker knows it. “I think what both chambers have to ask themselves is, what really keeps the faith with the people of Georgia?” Ralston said.
Speaker Ralston is right. There has been plenty written and said about changing how things are done under the Gold Dome and often it seems doing what’s best for the people of Georgia has been shoved aside in an effort to score political points. We have three Legislative days to pass a bill and I for one don’t want to wait until next year. The Senate and House versions of this bill are not so far apart that a reasonable agreement can’t be reached.