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Lewis proposes ‘real time’ gift reporting for lobbyists, lawmakers (access required)

Lewis proposes ‘real time’ gift reporting for lobbyists, lawmakers <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/12/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

Sen. Jerry Lewis, the Mesa Republican who ran on a platform of transparency and lobbying reform during the recall election last year, today unveiled a proposal to tighten the reporting requirements for legislators and lobbyists and make it easier for the public to find out how the two groups interact.

Lewis said the proposal has the backing of Senate President Steve Pierce and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who has investigated the Fiesta Bowl scandal, where public officials received free tickets and took free trips without properly disclosing them.

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Time to give our first freedom as much respect as the second

A handful of elected officials in the Arizona Legislature have repeatedly tried to intimidate and silence Goldwater Institute analysts out of giving testimony in support of or in opposition to legislation this year. In one case, an elected official forced a Goldwater Institute attorney, who asked to speak on behalf of the Institute, to refrain from speaking because she was not a registered lobbyist for the Institute. Although the attorney was later allowed to testify after signing in as representing only herself, the instance demonstrates that certain Arizona legislators want citizens to curtail their First Amendment rights before daring to talk or write about public policy with their representatives.

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Anti-union bills expose lack of worker solidarity

While the slew of measures targeting public unions appeared to have re-energized organized labor in Arizona, it also exposed their inability to fully unite amid a sustained attack from foes. The discord over tactics was palpable on March 1, when hundreds of union members and their supporters protested at the state Capitol, but many public unions stayed away.

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Push for transparency focuses on campaign spending, gift giving (access required)

In the wake of two of Arizona’s biggest political shake-ups of last year, lawmakers are hoping a little sunshine will help clean up the mess.

Shadowy groups involved in the recall of then-Senate President Russell Pearce brought to light some of the flaws in the current financial disclosure requirements. Meanwhile, the Fiesta Bowl scandal brought to light ethical questions about what should be considered a gift from a lobbyist.

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Panel: Toss one-year wait for lawmakers to become Capitol lobbyists

A state House committee Tuesday narrowly endorsed scrapping a state law the prevents legislators from serving as paid lobbyists at the Capitol for a year after leaving office.

Its author, Rep. Jack W. Harper, R-Surprise, said the moratorium is intended to keep lawmakers from influencing legislation but fails to recognize that staff members are even better positioned to become lobbyists. He said it’s unfair to deny former lawmakers the same opportunities allowed for staff members.

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Montgomery: Lawmakers ‘screwed up’ but no prosecutions (access required)

Bad legal advice and confusing and conflicting lobbying statutes allowed 16 current and former lawmakers who accepted football tickets and other gifts from the Fiesta Bowl to avoid criminal charges.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said today that after an eight-month probe he can’t prove whether any of the lawmakers “knowingly” failed to disclose trips they took at Fiesta Bowl expense and game tickets they received.

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