(KCPW News) One Utah lawmaker is asking for the resignation of lobbyists who were legislators last year. A bill passed in the Utah House of Representatives yesterday prohibits a state official from lobbying within one year of being in office, though bill sponsor Brad Dee said it wouldn't prohibit past lawmakers from speaking on behalf of themselves or a business they're associated with.
"If they were a commissioner, or an elected official, or a teacher, or a business owner and they were on Capitol Hill to speak to those things that addressed their concerns and they are not working for a firm of paid lobbyists, then they have that ability to do that," Dee said.
Some lawmakers discussed why the bill was needed, and said that past legislators wouldn't influence them any more than other lobbyists. Dee said the view of the public is important, and he wants to curb skepticism of public officials. And Representative Christine Johnson said she feels this is a major ethics issue.
"I hope that simply passing it out of the house today will send a signal to current lobbyists, who last year sat on this floor and I hope that they will understand that it's the will of the people, and it's the will of this legislature that we have a cooling off period. I know that the language in the bill is not effective now, but I think it would be a good faith measure if those lobbyists resigned," Johnson said.
The bill passed with just three votes against it, and will now be sent to a Senate committee.