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Do You Think State Legislators Should Be Prohibited from Accepting Gifts from Lobbyists?

A question on the ballot on July 31 will ask whether voters support ending the current practice that allows legislators to accept unlimited gifts from lobbyists. Would you support this measure?

On both the Republican and Democratic ballot for the July 31 Primary there will be several questions, but there is only one question that is common to both. 

Democrats will be asked, “Do you support ending the current practice permitting unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators?” The question of the Republican ballot will be almost the same. It is, “Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts.”

At a recent Greater Eastside Chamber event, state Rep. Brett Harrell (R-Snellville) was the guest speaker. In giving an update on his first term in office, he said one of the things that surprised him most when he first began working under the Gold Dome in Atlanta was that one of the strongest lobbying forces was not from private business, but from government lobbyists - city and county governments looking to influence state legislators.

So the question today is, do you think all there should be a total ban of state legislators receiving any gifts from any lobbyists?

Tammy Osier May 30, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I'm also for term limits for the Senate.
Susan May 30, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Yes, the rich have taken EQUAL speech and rights out of the game. They are now buying the votes and even judges. It has to be limited. Watching the Presidential Election is making me sick with all the big PAC monies. Big donors hoping for their chances to deregulate so they can build crappy houses, pollute, dump, then walk off.
Kathleen LaFlam May 31, 2012 at 08:16 PM
I definitely believe accepting gifts from lobbyists can make for a biased government official. It should NEVER be acceptable...because in the end we are all subject to human emotions leading to an error in judgment.
Mike May 31, 2012 at 08:38 PM
I have written to the 102nd District House Rep B.J. Pak about this, and in his response he basically parroted the justification House Speaker Ralston (he of the lobbyist-funded European vacation to the tune of $17K) gives for opposing the gift limit: That if we legally ban our (Honest, Good & True) state officials from accepting expensive gifts, those same Honest, Good & True officials will turn around and start illegally taking bribes under the table. If you'd care to share your objection to this line of thinking with Rep. Pak, you can reach him at votebjpak@gmail.com.
Rebecca McCarthy (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Well put, Kathleen. Thanks for commenting.
Rebecca McCarthy (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Dear Susan, are you thinking of a particular scenario of "crappy houses, pollution, exit" or just an attitude in general? That seems to be happening everywhere, doesn't it?
Rebecca McCarthy (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Mike, the logic of that thinking remains curious to me.
John Cook June 01, 2012 at 04:02 AM
I asked Rep. Pak about the lobbyists giving thousands of dollars to various Georgia legislators which in essence allow our legislators to "buy" enough advertising to win an election against any challenger. He said it is their free-speech right to give to (influence) our local elections. For example, I looked at ga.ethics.gov for the campaign contributions for Rep. David Casas in the 2010 primary election, and noticed that no contributions were from addresses within his district, and only a couple of contributions had addresses within Gwinnett County. Much of the money came from outside Georgia. Some came from other legislators who were unopposed. Some came from businesses and lobbying groups within the state. The challenger came within a few hundred votes in spite of the massive amounts of money spent by Casas. But there is more money available from lobbyists if needed. So if you are not involved in local races on a grassroots level, maybe it is time we get involved and take our county and state back from the lobbyists. Fayette County citizens have defeated the big-money lobbyists' gifts in several elections by becoming active in elections.
STEVE RAMEY June 03, 2012 at 11:25 PM
My name is Steve Ramey and I am a candidate for State Senate seat 9. i have given a vow not to take gifts from lobbyist. I am being paid by the taxpayer to do the job elected to do...represent them. Allow me to share with you Websters Dictitionary's definition for bribe. Bribe: a price, reward, gift, or favor bestowed or promised with a view to prevent the judgment or corrupt the conduct of a judge, witness, voter, or other person in a position of trust. i will not not be obligated to anyone other than my constituents!
John Taylor June 25, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Good for you Steve. It will be hard for you to be elected if you truly intend to keep your promise. I am thinking seriously about voting against all incumbents. I hope the votors in your district realize that they have an honest politician in you and vote you in with a landslide vote.

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