Gov. Nathan Deal signs sweeping ethics reform legislation into law at the state Capitol surrounded by House and Senate members.
When the law takes effect January 1, lobbyists will no longer be able to spend more than $75 dollars on state or locally elected officials. Exceptions will be made for dinners for large groups of lawmakers.
“I believe it is a step toward ensuring that we continue to have good government in our state,” says Deal. “Our success as leaders in this state depends heavily on the public’s ability to trust us.”
House Speaker David Ralston, who stood alongside the governor, calls it among the most important measures lawmakers passed this session.
“I think that it’s something that’s been embraced by the membership in a positive way,” he says.
Ralston admits while he would like to have seen tougher restrictions, he wants to see how effective the new law is before suggesting any changes.
The bill also requires anyone who is compensated at least $250 to lobby on behalf of a bill to register as a lobbyist.
In addition, it restores rulemaking powers to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.
A second bill, also signed by Deal, requires that campaign contributions received between Jan. 1 and the start of the session, that are greater than $100, be reported by Jan. 31 as opposed to March 31.