Lobbyist gift ban would get tweaks under bill

Gift Ban
Posted at 6:30 PM, Apr 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-01 18:30:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The gift ban that prevents lawmakers from even accepting a cup of coffee from a lobbyist or anyone who hires one would get some tweaks under a bill approved by a Senate committee.

The bill (SB 1344) filed by Sen. Tom Lee was approved Monday by the Ethics and Elections Committee. It would allow lawmakers to accept a non-alcoholic beverage from lobbyists and to accept a meal and beverage from groups if they have been invited to speak at an event.

The gift ban was passed in 2005 after Lee sought to control the culture of lobbyists wining and dining lawmakers, often out of public view.

But since then, lawmakers have complained it's made it more awkward interacting with constituents.