Gov. Nathan Deal signed an ethics overhaul into law Monday that imposes Georgia’s first-ever limitations on gifts to public officials, and he hailed the move as a watershed moment shoring up the public’s trust of its elected leaders.
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House Bill 142, limiting gifts lobbyists may give to public officials, passed both chambers the final night of the 40-day session. Here’s a glance at what the bill would do:
- Limit gifts of food, beverages, travel and lodging to $75 or less per lobbyist.
- Ban sports and entertainment tickets as gifts, but officials may purchase them at face value from lobbyists.
- Ban “recreational or leisure activities” such as golf.
- Allow lobbyists to pay for annual committee dinners and events for caucuses, but not subcommittees or local delegations.
- Anyone receiving pay or reimbursement of more than $250 while attempting to influence legislation must register as a lobbyist.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has covered the push for ethics reform every step of the way with investigative reporting looking into how our public officials interact with lobbyists, where the system fails and how other states have done it better.