The future may be bleak for the comprehensive ethics bill, HB 798. There are only about 15 more legislative days until the infamous crossover day. This day marks day 30 of the legislative session, and the last day a bill can move from one chamber to another. If the bill does not make it out of the rules committee and pass the House, it cannot become a law. The process will have to start all over again next year.
Despite the cries of many concerned citizens, House Republicans have not given this bill the attention it deserves. It appears that Speaker Ralston’s wishes are more important to our legislators than ours. I’m very disappointed that the Republican representatives were not willing to defy the Speaker and co-sign the bill. The logic just doesn’t make any sense because the AJC recently found that 82% of Republican citizens said that they support a lobbyist gift limit. William Perry, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, confessed, “Essentially there’s one man standing in the way of letting the bill move forward.”
Ralston’s opposition to the bill is completely irrational. He claims that the current laws provide sufficient limitations and transparency. The problem is that he has a vested interest in defending the current laws because he is the one who passed them! The last ethics reform law was a step forward, but it was not nearly comprehensive enough. Even HB 798 has been criticized for not going far enough, but it would be a huge surge forward.
The Speaker’s stance may also be attributed to the fact that he has been the recipient of many of the most lucrative lobbyists’ gifts, including a $17,000 trip to Europe in 2010. The AJC reported last month, “House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, downplayed the need for more ethics legislation last week, saying lawmakers must report gifts quickly and voters can easily track gifts with the click of a mouse. He believes they will let legislators know whether they are unhappy.”
It’s time to show Speaker Ralston and the rest of our Representatives that we are NOT HAPPY with the current ethics laws. Take the time to contact him and show him that it is the voice of the people that control the Georgia House and not the threats of one bully.
You can send an email through our website
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Call Speaker Ralston personally at 404-656-5020