Tighter ethics rules for lawmakers approved by House committee

lblackford@herald-leader.comFebruary 27, 2014 

The Kentucky State Capitol building in Frankfort.

SAM RICHE — Lexington Herald-Leader Buy Photo

A bill that would prevent Kentucky lawmakers from accepting a cup of coffee or meal from lobbyists won approval Thursday from the House State Government Committee.

House Bill 28 is aimed at tightening up ethics rules for legislators and lobbyists by prohibiting any gifts of food and drink to individual legislators. Currently, lobbyists can spend $100 a year on each lawmaker.

Under the bill, lobbyists can still entertain lawmakers in group settings, such as receptions.

It also would prevent lobbyists from paying for legislators to travel out of state, and prohibit lawmakers from accepting campaign contributions from employers of lobbyists or their political action committees during a session of the General Assembly.

John Schaaf, counsel for the Legislative Ethic Commission, said the recommendations have been under discussion for several years, but this is the first time a bill has been voted upon.

The proposal now goes to the full House for its consideration.

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