Travis this bill is no joke we are currently using and allowing to be used taxpayer money to hire and support lobbists at the capitol I feel its wrong and I am trying to change it.---
The Political Insiders have an interesting post up about House Bill 854, which deals with the way the Georgia Secretary of State's Office oversees labor organizations. But, as they note, it also includes this language:
No public funds shall be disbursed, either through contract or grant, to any organization which engages in lobbying, as defined in Code Section 21-5-70, the General Assembly of the State of Georgia.
I'll let you read the insiders' analysis of how this may be a swipe at the Georgia Municipal Association and other lobbying groups opposed to the speaker's tax reform, since they're publicly funded.
But I daresay you'd be hard pressed to find a single state agency that doesn't engage in lobbying. Remember this story from The AJC's James Salzer, which ran in August of last year?
Over the past 2 1/2 years, Tom Daniel, senior vice chancellor for external affairs with the University System of Georgia, has reported spending about $139,000 on lawmakers, according to documents filed with the State Ethics Commission.
Daniel was far and away the top spender among lobbyists in 2006 and was third biggest spender during the 2007 session, records show.
So the No. 1 lobbyist was a state employee. In fact, the aforementioned state code 21-5-70 makes at least two references to employees of "the executive branch or judicial branch of state government" as it defines the word "lobbyist."
So I have to wonder, if this new bill passes, would it outlaw state employees from lobbying the General Assembly on behalf of their department or agency? Would it completely defund any departments that didn't comply?
Can you imagine the tax refund checks after we defund the university system? Sweet, sweet economic stimulus.