Lobbyists Ban proposal discussed then put off by Hillsborough County Commissioners by Mitch E. Perry

04/19/06

Last December the state legislature voted last to ban themselves and other state officials from accepting gifts of any value from lobbyists.

Today at the Hillsborough County Commission Meeting, a proposal submitted by Commissioner Kathy Castor that the County adopt a similar proposal was met with much grumbling and a sense that such a ban was not necessary. ( roll tape#1 o.q.�and decision making�)

Nevertheless, the idea was not dropped altogether, but instead put off until after the Legislative Session in Tallahassee concludes next month.

There has been talk in the State Capital about tweaking some of those new rules, passed overwhelmingly by both Republicans and Democrats alike.

Before the discussion began, Tampa land Use Attorney Vin Marchetti and his wife Laura came before the Commission to discuss their cause, which is a more stringent seat belt law in the state. The Marcetti’s daughter was tragically killed in a car accident last month., and the The Marchetti’s distributed coffee mugs to Commissioners.before they addressed the board.

In trying to show the impracticalality of Castor’s proposal, Commissioner Ronda Storms challenged the Decocrat (roll tape#1 o.q.�handed it to you�)

Commissioner Mark Sharpe said the bill needed to “rational�(roll tape#3 o.q. “as reasonable�)

The key line uttered by most Commissioners was “to let the dust settle� on what happens with any potential changes to the legislators proposal to have an outright ban on accepting any gifts from lobbyists.

Commissioner Ken Hagen said he didn’t understand why there was so much focus on local lobbyists, since there haven’t been any scandals (roll tape#4 o.q.� not a problem�)

The Commission voted 6-1 to discuss the issue again in July – Commissioner Castor dissented, saying she felt a strong tightening on gifts from lobbyist should be implemented immediately.

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