Of the few politicians who write blogs, state Senate President Pro-Tem Eric Johnson does a great job -- and I really mean that. Often times the posts legislators write are rambling or appear half-hearted. Sometimes they overuse exclamation points. Johnson writes these bizarrely captivating bullet-point posts about his day and the political process, what it means, and how it works. And believe it or not, they're actually entertaining. This one yesterday really made me scratch my head, though. I have to wonder if our most recent Add It Up was his muse.
Session Blog- Day 21
Day 21: Lobbying and Lobbyists
* To lobby is not to hang out in the front room of a hotel.
* "Winding in and out through the long, devious basement passage, crawling through the corridors, trailing its slimy length from gallery to committee room, at last it lies stretched at full length on the floor of Congress-this dazzling reptile, this huge, scaly serpent of the lobby."
* While this horrifying description of monster lobbyists from a newspaper correspondent in 1869 might reinforce the vast stereotype portrayed in the media about the practice of lobbying, lobbyists actually play a vital role in the Georgia's legislative process.
* The word "lobbying," according to the BBC, comes from the lobbies outside of the Parliamentary chambers where the Members of Parliament and their peers would meet and discuss issues prior to debate.
* Lobbyists have been present in America since the first Congress when, in an attempt to delay the passage of a tariff bill, merchants from New York offered Representatives and Senators free meals and treats.
* Things haven't changed.
* Despite all of the press coverage of this profession, it is still largely unknown to the American public. The definition of lobbying according to the United States Senate is "the practice of trying to persuade legislators to propose, pass, or defeat legislation or to change existing laws."
* A lobbyist may work for a group, organization, or industry, and presents information on legislative proposals to support his or her clients' interests.
* Here in Georgia during the current Legislative Session, there are more than 1,500 registered lobbyists representing 5,242 active groups, according to the State Ethics Commission.
* But just because a person is not a registered lobbyist, employed by a certain company or special interest does not mean they cannot lobby the Representatives and Senators of our great state. Any citizen of Georgia can e-mail the Governor, call their Senator, or set up a meeting with their Representative to talk about an issue important to them.
* Lobbying is a valuable part of democracy. What matters is that there is transparency for the voter. Who is lobbying and how much are they spending?
* So Bobby the lobbyist lobbies in the lobby for the hobbyists.
I'd pay $5,000 just to hear Sen. Johnson say that last line over and over again.
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