Lawmakers are being asked to put limits on how soon they can come back to lobby their former colleagues.
There are currently no restrictions on how long lawmakers have to wait to become a lobbyist after they leave office. As a result, Jonathon Becker of the Government Accountability Board says they can quit one day and then come back to lobby their former colleagues the next. He says that can lead to public perception of them wielding undue influence or even voting certain ways under the promise of future employment.
Proposed legislation would require lawmakers to wait a year after leaving office to begin lobbying at the Capitol. Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign told a legislative panel Tuesday that at least 31 other states have adopted similar restrictions.
State Representative Bill Kramer (R-Waukesha) questions if the restriction could stifle free speech by forcing former lawmakers to wait. However, supporters say the same restriction already applies to other top state offices and agency heads.
The bill is being considered by the Assembly Committee on Judiciary and Ethics.