ATLANTA - Under an ethics proposal by House Speaker David Ralston, lobbyists would no longer have to pay a registration fee.
Ralston introduced the plan last week, which also includes a gift ban from lobbyists to all state and locally elected officials, but he made tweaks to the plan after concerns were raised by some as to the definition of a lobbyist.
“We’ve taken away the fee but we’re taking it away from everybody,” he says. “I’m not going to create two classes of lobbyists here… one of professional lobbyists and those that don’t want to be called lobbyists but really are lobbyists.”
Currently lobbyists pay $320 that includes their registration fee and their ID badge. Under the new plan, they would simply pay $25 for the badge.
Only those who spend more than five days lobbying on behalf of multiple organizations would have to register.
“Our intent never was to make the 4-Hers, or the garden club members, or the charter school children that come down here register and pay a fee,” says Ralston.
The full rules committee could take up the measure next week after it received unanimous passage Thursday in subcommittee.