A state lawmaker hopes to keep his former colleagues from jumping right into jobs as lobbyists when they leave the Legislature.
Several lawmakers have gone on to jobs at lobbying firms after their terms end, and state Representative Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) says it’s troubling when it happens shortly after they leave office. “As legislators, I see our jobs should be to focus on creating jobs for others…and not for ourselves,” he argues.
The Eau Claire Democrat is proposing a bill that would ban individuals from registering as a lobbyist for the first year after they leave office. “This bill will ensure that those who are elected to the Legislature to serve their constituents will do so without the goal of ‘cashing in’ for a high-paying special interest job later,” Wachs says. “Other states have similar ‘cooling off’ periods, and it’s time that Wisconsin takes this important step.”
Wachs sponsored a similar bill last session that would have put a two year prohibition in place, but it failed to receive a public hearing. He talked with majority Republicans this time around and decided to reduce the limit to a single year, which has resulted in bipartisan support. “The way I see it, one year is better than zero years,” Wachs says.
He remains optimistic the bill will receive a hearing during the spring legislative session.