The Union Recorder

Local News

March 28, 2013

Ga. lawmakers reach deal on lobbying rules

ATLANTA —  

Lobbyists could not spend more than $75 at a time on state lawmakers under a deal reached Thursday by Georgia's legislative leaders on the last day of their annual session, lawmakers said.

Senate President Pro Tempore David Shafer said the rough agreement would also ban lobbyists from spending money on entertainment expenses. People would have to register as lobbyists if they are reimbursed more than $250 from third-party groups to cover lobbying expenses.

"It dramatically strengthens Georgia's ethics rules," Shafer said.

Two House officials speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the agreement confirmed the basics of the deal.

The agreement was still being drafted into legislation Thursday morning. It will have to be approved by a vote in both the House and Senate before it can go to Gov. Nathan Deal.

The deal came about under a tight deadline. By law, any bills not approved by midnight Thursday, the final day of the session, automatically fail for the year.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate had been deeply divided over how to limit lobbyist spending and over who should be forced to register as a lobbyist and publicly report their spending.

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