House Speaker David Ralston has dropped his bill that contains a total ban on gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers:
Ralston said his bill, introduced Tuesday, also restores the state ethics commission’s ability to create new regulations and provides a specific ban on tickets to nearly all sporting events and concerts.
Along the way, my AJC colleague Chris Joyner talked to House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams of Atlanta, who said the broader definition of lobbyists contained in the measure should capture “fly-in lobbyists, those corporate folks who come in and aren’t captured by anyone’s rules.”
That also would include some specific people who work for non-profit pressure groups, she said. Abrams had someone specific in mind:
“I think Grover Norquist has had an outsized influence on the way we discuss and debate issues here at the Capitol. I think anyone who can change the direction of a state should be considered a lobbyist and should be captured by our rules and responsibilities. The fact that he has never been paid to do so in the state of Georgia should not exclude or exempt him from responsibility for the work that he does.”
Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform. The anti-tax organization has condemned the “bed tax” deal crafted by Gov. Nathan Deal to patch a hole in the state’s method of Medicaid financing. The measure passed the Senate two weeks ago, and now is working its way through the House.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider