The flow of bills seems unstoppable at the state Legislature as the session picks up steam. The House alone had a dozen bills on its calendar Thursday. But like Ebenezer Scrooge confronting the Ghost of Christmas Past, lawmakers this week are also dealing with a bill they passed last year. On Tuesday, lawmakers attended a joint Q&A session to straighten out the confusion. And then on Thursday, they scheduled a meeting to discuss a part of the bill that exempts caucuses (except it’s not clear what a caucus is).
State lawmakers will be back at the Capitol in two weeks to start the 2014 General Assembly session and advocates have already been working on their legislative agendas. “We are also expecting it to be a very fast session—gavel in, gavel out—and that just means we have to be ready to hit the ground running,” said Liz Coyle, deputy director of Georgia Watch, a consumer advocacy group.
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.
Gov. Nathan Deal is weighing in on two key battles at the state Capitol -- a bill that would loosen gun restrictions and another that would rein in lobbyist spending on lawmakers -- even before the 2013 legislative session concludes.
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.
Many activists and concerned Georgians testified Tuesday at the State Capitol against an ethics reform bill. They voiced alarm that the current version of the bill would force them to register if they spent more than five days at the Capitol talking to lawmakers.
Georgia lawmakers will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a bill aimed at limiting lobbyists’ influence at the state Capitol. Some of the bill’s critics say it would also curtail citizen participation in politics.
State House Speaker David Ralston says the ethics reform bill passed this week by his chamber is a historic step toward limiting lobbyists’ influence at the Capitol. Speaking at the Atlanta Press Club Tuesday, he defended some of the bill’s more controversial provisions.