The Union Recorder

Local News

January 30, 2013

Ga. House speaker proposes lobbyist spending ban

ATLANTA — Lobbyists would face restrictions on wining and dining individual elected officials in Georgia under a plan released Tuesday by the top-ranking Republican in the House, though his legislation leaves loopholes and falls short of a total ban.

The plan marks an about-face for House Speaker David Ralston. Ralston had long defended Georgia's existing system, which allows lobbyists to spend as much as they want on lawmakers so long as those expenditures are publicly reported.

Ralston's position changed after roughly 81 percent of Georgia voters, more than 1 million people, voted this summer in favor of limiting lobbyist spending in nonbinding questions on the Republican and Democratic primary election ballots.

"It is essential that the public trust be maintained and that citizens have confidence in those they elect to govern," Ralston said during a news conference.

His plan would generally prohibit lobbyists from spending money on individual state lawmakers and elected officials. But it would not entirely prohibit lobbyist spending.

Lobbyists seeking to influence lawmakers could still pay for food, beverages or registration at events when legislative committees or subcommittees are invited. Those committees have major sway in the Statehouse and decide whether legislation worth millions of dollars to industries and other interests gets rewritten, quashed, or sent to the House or Senate floor for a vote.

In another exception, lobbyists could pay for the travel, lodging, meals and beverages for state lawmakers who are attending meetings that relate to their official duties. That travel can be a lucrative perk. In one notable case, a lobbyist paid $17,000 to take Ralston, his family and two others on a trip to Germany in 2010. Closer to home, industry and professional groups commonly invite lawmakers to annual meetings at vacation destinations such as the Georgia and Florida coasts.

Supporters of limiting lobbyist spending were concerned about provisions of Ralston's bill.

Text Only
Local News
  • web break-1.jpg California-based manufacturer bringing 80 jobs to Eatonton

    Gov. Nathan Deal announced Thursday that Aalto Scientific, a leading manufacturer in the medical diagnostics industry, will create 80 jobs and invest $9 million into a new manufacturing facility in Eatonton.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • What we're covering.jpg What we're covering, Thursday, April 24

    Here’s a closer look at what we’re covering today:

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 04-24 EAgle Ridge File 2.JPG Eagle Ridge Elementary celebrates 10 years

    Eagle Ridge Elementary School is approaching a special historical milestone. April 26, the school will celebrate its 10th anniversary.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 04-25 Chaplinwood fishing 3.jpg Chaplinwood fishes in the sunshine

    Chaplinwood Health & Rehabilitation residents enjoyed the beautiful weather while fishing and having a picnic lunch at Walter B. William's pond Thursday.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • web break-1.jpg Need a Nerd expanding on North Wayne

    Need a Nerd, the Milledgeville based computer and cellphone repair company, is all set to expand its business to a One Stop Tech Shop that will include cell phone and computer repairs, web design, web development, computer training and additional retail offerings.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • web break-1.jpg Animal recovering from neglect

    Malcolm Hughes, 55, charged with two counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals Tuesday is currently being held at the Baldwin County jail, according to Lt. Lee Williamson of the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • web break-1.jpg Georgia College releases State of the State Poll

    The Georgia College Department of Government and Sociology has released the first edition of Georgia’s State of the State Poll.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • web break-1.jpg City, county joint meeting today on 911

    Milledgeville City Council and Baldwin County Commission will hold a joint meeting at 5:30 p.m. today at Allen’s Market, 101 W. McIntosh St.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • web break-1.jpg Gov. approves GMC four-year degree program

    Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation Tuesday authorizing Georgia Military College, a junior college, to offer a four-year degree program at select campuses across the state.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Morning update NEW.jpg Morning Update, Thursday, April 24

    Good morning. Here’s a look at what’s happening today.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

Poll
AP Video
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
NDN Video