Committee approves lobbying restrictions

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The House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with two bills meant to crack down on state officials who trade on their public posts to join or set up private lobbying practices.

The committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment (PCB 17-01) that would extend the two-year ban on former members lobbying the Legislature to six years, along with a bill (PCB 17-02) revising state law in line with the amendment.

The measures would extend the lobbying ban for lawmakers, statewide elected officials and appointed state officials to six years, while also extending to six years a ban prohibiting former lawmakers from lobbying the executive branch.

If approved by the Legislature, the constitutional amendment would still need the support of 60 percent of the state's voters to take effect.

Both measures are part of a drive by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, to toughen ethics requirements for legislators and lobbyists.