The Senate Judiciary Committee has given unanimous approval to legislation mandating a two year cooling off period before a former lawmaker could become a lobbyist. State Sen. Debbe Leftwich is the author of Senate Bill 847. She’s championed the bill since first becoming a member, introducing the legislation three separate times, but this is the first year the bill has been heard in committee.
“I told the members that when I first served in the Senate in 2004, there were only a handful of former legislators lobbying, but three of them were former House Speakers—there’s no way the average person would have that kind of clout when they’re out here lobbying for a bill,” said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “Six years later, we have almost 40 former members who are lobbyists. I think we need to reassure the public that our focus is representing them, not trying to line up a high-paying job after we leave office.”
If SB 847 becomes law, former lawmakers or other elected officials would have to wait two years before they could return to the State Capitol as lobbyists.
“This is about perception, and it’s about public trust—and on this issue, the two go hand in hand,” Leftwich said. “I’m very grateful to the Judiciary Committee for hearing and approving this legislation and I hope for their continued support as the bill moves through the legislative process.”
SB 847 must next be considered by the full Senate.