Bill would slow legislator-lobbyist revolving door

November 19, 2008
A prominent state senator filed a bill this week that would require retiring legislators to wait at least one year before they could lobby members of the Indiana General Assembly.

Under the legislation proposed by Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, lawmakers who retire after June 2009 couldn't register as a lobbyist before June 2010.

The state has a long history of lawmakers leaving the Statehouse and immediately becoming lobbyists. Just this month, Rep. Michael Ripley, R-Monroe, who did not seek re-election, said he was becoming a lobbyist for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says that more than 30 states already bar former legislators from becoming lobbyists for six months to two years.

In 2005, Gov. Mitch Daniels imposed rules that prevented most former executive-branch employees from lobbying state agencies for one year after leaving the administration. Last year, Miller introduced similar legislation for lawmakers, but the bill did not pass out of committee.

"Lobbyists are an important part of the legislative process because they are informed on particular and important issues," Miller said in a statement. "But having legislators sit out a year before taking on a lobbyist job is better public policy and can establish a better, more trusting relationship with Hoosiers."

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