The Georgia House of Representatives on Monday passed historic legislation that would bar lobbyist gifts to individual lawmakers and enact new rules on lobbyist registration.
The bill, House Bill 142, passed overwhelmingly, 164-4, and now goes to the Senate.
The bill would still allow lobbyists to pick up the tab for dinners or gifts for entire committees, caucuses or other recognized groups and includes exemptions for lobbyist-funded travel, minus airfare.
But it, for the first time, would bar lobbyists from paying for golf outings, tickets to professional sporting events and private, high-dollar steak dinners that had become the norm.
Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, sponsored the bill and rallied support from the House floor on Monday. He said he knows the bill won’t please everyone.
“But in conjunction with that realization, knowing you can’t please everybody is, in a way, kind of liberating,” Ralston said. “It allows this body to do what it truly believes is the right thing.
“These are big bills that do big things.”