Ethics Express urges voters to change lobbying in Atlanta

By: Justin Fabiano Email
By: Justin Fabiano Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, July 27, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Legislative leaders took to the steps of the Richmond County courthouse promoting ethics reform in Atlanta.

"Spending is unlimited, and it's something that drowns out the voice of the average Georgian," said William Perry, spokesman for Common Cause Georgia.

The spending he's talking about is lobbyists. Common Cause Georgia say they give too many gifts to lawmakers. Now, they're urging you to speak up against lobbyists' gifts by voting yes on question two.

"Question two is about limiting lobbyist gifts to the legislature," Perry said.

Some lawmakers want to limit those gifts to $100 or less in what's called an advisory referendum, which means if it passes, nothing will actually change; there will be no new law, but voters will gain momentum.

"We'll be able to go back to members and say, a very large percentage of your constituents want to see this pass," said Georgia Sen. Josh McCoon.

He calls it common sense reform, but if it's so common sense, why not ban lobbyist gifts altogether?

"If someone was to give you a ride home, for example, and you didn't reimburse them for the gasoline, all the sudden you got an ethics complaint," he said. "We're trying to get rid of these outrageous expenses, the international trips, the golf outings, the things that have nothing to do with a discussion of public policy."


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