Day 13: Speaker Ralston’s Paris trip still possible under his current Ethics bill. Governor Deal supports GPA back to 2.0 for HOPE recipients.
Thursday 02/07/2013. Thirteenth day of the Georgia Legislative Session. There was an update by the Georgia Alliance for Ethics Reform regarding the Ethics bill (HB142) proposed by the Speaker of the House David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). One of the most controversial parts of the bill is the registration and definition of lobbyists. We remember on the original version of it, the bill required that anybody that likes to talk with a legislator in the Capitol would have to pay the lobbyist fee of$300. The update puts down this lobbyist fee to $25. However, the new price comes with a catch. The new version of the bill also requires that everybody with this $25 lobbyist license will have to fill reports twice a week of their endeavors in the Capitol, with a fee up to $10000 if fails to do so. How is this not a deterrent for regular citizens for getting involved in the live in the Capitol?. For starters, nobody seems to understand how this ‘lobbyist license for everyone’ requirement improves the ethics in the state. If anything, this only distracts from the main concern of the bill: it still has exemptions such that can allow such as the Paris trip of Speaker Ralston of last year. On its current version, this bill fixes nothing of what it claims to do, and it just diverts time and attention from what is the real ethical concern in the Capitol: Unlimited gifts to lawmakers by interest groups.
In a more positive note, Governor Nathan Deal agreed to return the GPA requirement from HOPE recipients of Technical Colleges from 3.0 to its original of 2.0. Good move by Governor Deal, hope the next one has to do with Medicaid Expansion.