Bill Would Prohibit Legislative Conference Committee Members from State Employment for Two Years

You might call it the “No More Jay Roberts Promotions” bill.

Roberts was chairman of the House Transportation Committee during the 2015 session, and managed to shepherd House Bill 170 through both House and Senate, and fulfilling a goal expressed by Governor Deal, Lt. Governor Cagle, and Speaker Ralston during the early days of the session. A month after the end of the session, Roberts was nominated by Governor Deal to run GDOT’s planning department, replacing Toby Carr.

Under Senate Bill 256, prefiled on Monday by Senator Josh McKoon of Columbus, an offer like Roberts had would be prohibited for two years after a legislator serves on a conference committee. From the bill’s text:

No member of the General Assembly who serves on a conference committee shall be eligible for employment in state government, other than as an elected official, for a period of 24 months immediately following such member’s service on such conference committee.

Roberts, of course, served on the conference committee that produced the final version of the bill that was voted on during the penultimate day of the 2015 session.

2 comments

  1. objective says:

    I like the general idea behind this, but it doesn’t seem sufficiently targeted or viable. You can’t serve on any conference committee? – or get any state job?- regardless of whether the committee service is relevant to the job?
    What this touches upon is the difficulty in defining and crafting legislation addressing conflicts of interests among legislators. One one hand, we want those with expertise to serve and share the expertise, both in the legislature and in state agencies. On the other is financial conflicts of interest. My sense is that it would be better to focus on addressing any financial links between the content of the legislation/committee service, and personal financial benefit. That would mean a much more nuanced approach than the excerpted text above. Either way, I don’t see a lot of people getting behind this or anything resembling it.

  2. Dave Bearse says:

    It didn’t seem to be a problem when Vance Smith or Larry O’Neal did it.

    This isn’t legislation that would keep the primary Governor’s staff person for the Opportunity Schools District legislation from her six figure school district consulting gigs concerning the legislation.

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