Gift Bill Doesn't Pass State Senate

Apr 13, 2012

State lawmakers apparently are not quite ready to give up free stuff. 

Current law does put some restrictions on the kind and size of gifts that legislators can get from lobbyists. But Senator Steve Gallardo, a Phoenix Democrat, pointed out there are some major exceptions. One permits lawmakers to be wined and dined, whether individually or at group events. Another says legislators can get free tickets to events like the Fiesta Bowl and Diamondbacks games if everyone is invited.

"I think if we were to talk to our constituency, Republicans and Democrats across the state would agree that legislators should not be given these types of freebies," said Gallardo. "There's no need for us to get these tickets. If we want to go to these events, let's just go out and purchase the tickets."

But Snowflake Republican Sylvia Allen said these kinds of restrictions are unnecessary.

"We think that we're suddenly going to make politics so much better if we start regulating more and more and more," Allen said. "That's not the problem. It goes back to the moral integrity of the individual."

While Gallardo's proposals failed, they did pick up some Republican support, including from Senator Ron Gould who questioned why lawmakers would take free food anyway.

"Most of us are overfed as it is," Gould pointed out.