Archive for Thursday, May 6, 2004

Legislature reduce lobbyist disclosure requirements

May 6, 2004

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— The Legislature on Thursday approved reducing the amount of public disclosure required of lobbyists on whom they wine and dine.

The bill sent to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will allow lobbyists to provide meals to lawmakers when they attend professional conventions, such as the National Conference of State Legislatures and American Legislative Exchange Council, without having to report itemized expenses.

And the bill will allow entire legislative committees to eat meals at lobbyists' expense without having to make an itemized report.

The measure also makes some changes in other reporting requirements retroactively, from when the law was adopted in 2000 to last January.

Several lawmakers said they have been given no explanation as to why this retroactive proposal was made.

"The rumors in this Capitol are sending a message to the people that Kansas legislators and lobbyists are hiding something," state Sen. Donald Betts, D-Wichita said.

But the measure passed in both the House and Senate. Many supporters said they favored the bill because of another part that will allow politicians to be able to transfer campaign funds one race to another should they seek election to a different office.

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