Senate debates provision allowing gifts from lobbyist employers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Senate debates provision allowing gifts from lobbyist employers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Debates on lobbyists' interactions with lawmakers are at the top of the list as the General Assembly's special session on ethics reform enters its second day.

A special committee of the Senate is discussing a provision that allows employers of lobbyists to entertain lawmakers. That provision is part of the bill proposed to strengthen Tennessee's ethics laws.

This issue has been a sticking point since the bill was drafted.

That's because some lawmakers feel it creates a loophole for lobbyists to influence legislation with entertainment.

As written, the legislation allows an employer of a lobbyist to host an event as long as the lobbyist doesn't attend.

If the employer spends more than $50 per person, then that amount has to be disclosed, as well as the names of those who attend the event.

Critics say it still gives the appearance of wining and dining. But supporters say it cuts out most of this practice.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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