January 29, 2013

Ga. House speaker to propose lobbyist gift ban


Associated Press

ATLANTA — A leading Republican will formally propose banning lobbyist gifts to Georgia state lawmakers.

House Speaker David Ralston of Blue Ridge plans to introduce legislation Tuesday calling for a total prohibition on what lobbyists can spend while trying to influence legislators. Right now, lobbyists can give as many gifts as they like if they disclose their spending on lawmakers.

Ralston had long opposed gift prohibitions or caps because he said it would shift lobbyist spending underground. He reversed course this summer after more than 1 million people voted in favor of limiting what lobbyists can spend in separate ballot questions in the Republican and Democratic primary elections.

Senate lawmakers have adopted a weak cap meant to ban gifts worth more than $100. That rule has many loopholes.