Lobbyist measure rekindles tensions in Legislature

A bill that would require legislators who leave office to wait at least one year before they could become lobbyists got a
chilly reception in a Senate committee last session and went no further.

That isn’t stopping Republican state Sen. Patricia Miller of Indianapolis, some of her colleagues and some citizen groups
from trying to revive the issue in the session that starts in January. They say a "cooling off" period before former
lawmakers
can lobby the General Assembly would establish a more trusting relationship with Indiana residents.

Nearly 30 states prohibit former legislators from becoming lobbyists for a time ranging from six months to two years after
they resign or retire, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But Miller and other supporters of the
concept know they’ll likely have a tough time getting Indiana to join those states.

Efforts to regulate the career paths of Indiana lawmakers have routinely been thwarted, and now about two dozen former legislators
lobby the General Assembly, including three ex-House speakers.

Many Indiana lawmakers do not want to create a perception that they need to be regulated by such things as a "cooling
off"
legislator-to-lobbyist period, said Ed Feigenbaum, a former staff director for the Council on Governmental Ethics.

Miller has again filed a bill that would require a one-year waiting period before former lawmakers could lobby the Legislature.
During last year’s committee hearing, supporters told lawmakers that it looked bad when they leave public office and quickly
end up with jobs lobbying.

But some lawmakers bristled at testimony that hinted at perceptions of shady politics.

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, was among them and still opposes a one-year waiting period.

"If a person has spent 20 years in the Legislature and is well thought of by colleagues both in the hallway and the Legislature,
is a year going to mean anything?" Steele said. "Is he or she suddenly going to have less influence than 360 days
ago?"

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