Legislative Notebook: Toby the Bear carved out of ethics reform

February 21, 2013 

Toby the Bear is not a lobbyist, says the House Rules Committee, as it passed a multifaceted ethics reform bill that, in part, sets a new definition of a lobbyist.

Groups of students and teachers from colleges and universities regularly come to the Capitol to take tours, set up exhibits about their school in the lobby, or introduce their mascot to their legislators.

House Bill 142 specifically says when public universities do that, it’s not lobbying. In committee, state Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, had the word “accredited” added, to make Mercer University and other private colleges exempt.

Macon rep promoted

State Rep. James Beverly, D-Macon, is moving up in his party caucus after not quite two years in the state House.

Beverly has been named deputy whip by the House Democrats, a job that entails helping keep other Democrats on the same page of party policy and keeping track of votes.

-- Maggie Lee

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