A last-minute push in Georgia to impose a cap on lobbyist spending may have opened the door to new complications. Legislation approved Thursday by the General Assembly would generally prevent lobbyists from more than $75 at a time on public officials, including state lawmakers. Right now, lobbyists can spend as much as they want as long as they disclose that spending. However, it remains unclear how firm that spending cap will be.
Governor Nathan Deal will soon begin the process of signing bills into law. The Georgia General Assembly adjourned shortly after midnight Thursday for the year. Lawmakers finished their session after midnight following a whirlwind final day that included passing a $41 billion budget for state government.
Georgia legislators have OK’d a historic gift cap on the last day of the legislative session to rein in lobbyists’ influence. Critics say it has too many loopholes but all parties say it has already changed the political culture at the Gold Dome.
Thursday morning Senator Jeff Mullis, Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, presented his substitute to the House ethics bill in front of that committee. Mullis, a Republican from Chickamauga, made drastic changes. His version rewrites the legislation to include a $100 gift cap, which the Senate passed early in the legislative session.
Lawmakers in the Georgia Senate are expected to publicly release their version of proposed limits on lobbyist expenditures. The Senate Rules Committee planned to meet Thursday to discuss its proposed legislation.
Proposed rules would ban lobbyists from buying airfare for Georgia's state lawmakers under an amended plan from a leading Republican. The latest changes to House Speaker David Ralston's bill would prohibit lobbyists from buying free airplane tickets for lawmakers.