Pricey Harrison

Friday, July 15, 2005

Lobbying Reform Debated In House Committee

A House judiciary committee began debate on a lobbying reform bill on Tuesday. The House bill focuses on more disclosure of lobbyists' expenses to legislators and executive branch officials. The bill also requires lobbyists to report any expenses above $10 in monthly disclosure reports while the General Assembly is in session and quarterly reports at other times. The Senate approved a lobbying reform bill in April that instead put a $100 annual cap on spending on any legislator or person lobbied within the executive branch of state government. Both measures would eliminate "goodwill lobbying," which allows lobbyists to spend unlimited amounts on legislators for meals and entertainment and not report it to state regulators if specific legislation is not discussed. The bill also includes a cooling off period of one year between serving as a legislator and becoming a lobbyist. The House committee will hold additional meetings to discuss the bill before members vote on the measure and send it to the full House for consideration.

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