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Ga. lobbying proposal raises free speech rules

4:28 PM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
Georgia House Speaker Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge)
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ATLANTA -- A proposal by a top-ranking Republican to tighten Georgia's lobbying rules has raised concerns it may inhibit free speech.

House Speaker David Ralston introduced a proposal this week that would ban lobbyists from spending money on individual elected officers, including state lawmakers. It would leave exceptions for spending on legislative committees and lawmaker travel.

It also requires anyone advocating for or against legislation to pay $300, register as lobbyists and report their expenses. There would be exceptions for people expressing their personal views to their hometown lawmakers.

Ralston says the rules need tightening because too many people seeking to influence legislation are evading lobbying reporting requirements.

Kay Godwin, co-founder of Georgia Conservatives in Action, says she shouldn't be forced to register because she isn't paid and runs a volunteer organization.

(Associated Press)

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