Legislative Notebook: Make lawmakers declare gifts

January 16, 2013 

State Rep. Rusty Kidd, I-Milledgeville, is proposing ending lobbyist disclosure of gifts to state legislators, instead making legislators and other elected state officials responsible for reporting all the gifts they receive.

There are 1,276 state-registered lobbyists representing 2,649 groups, and there are 236 state legislators. For failures to report, the bill would mandate civil fines at least equal to the amount of the omission. House Bill 61 is one of several ethics reform proposals that already have been filed in the state Legislature this year. No other legislator had signed the bill when it was filed Jan. 15.

State legislators from the country gathered for the first meeting of the Rural Caucus at the state Capitol on Jan. 16. Olive farmer and state Rep. Jay Shaw, R-Lakeland, was elected caucus leader. The caucus meets weekly to hear presentations about issues such as agriculture and the lack of rural doctors.

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