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.
Some Georgia lobbyists say the gift ban bill proposed by the state House speaker unfairly paints their profession with a broad brush. On the heels of David Ralston filing the ethics reform bill Tuesday, many lobbyists are fighting back against the perception they’re up to no good at the Capitol. They say they’re merely trying to educate lawmakers about important issues they may not know much about.
State lawmakers will again try to pass an ethics reform bill in the upcoming legislative session. This time, with pressure from Tea Party groups and others, there’s a good chance a gift-cap will become law.
Lobbyists spent almost $10,000 a day on gifts for Georgia lawmakers during the legislative session. An analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows lobbyists spent $866,747 on gifts for lawmakers between Jan. 1 and March 31.
A review of records by The Associated Press shows lobbyists poured close to $1 million into meals, drinks, tickets and gifts for state legislators and bureaucrats during this year's legislative session.