New Law Closes Revolving Door in Delaware Politics - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Law Closes Revolving Door in Delaware Politics


DOVER, Del. - Under a new law, lawmakers in Delaware are no longer permitted to begin lobbying their former colleagues immediately upon leaving office.

A bill signed by Governor Jack Markell today seeks to close this “revolving door” by requiring a one-year gap between departure from the General Assembly and registration as lobbyists. Any violation of this law would be an unclassified misdemeanor. The new law will take effect applies to any legislator serving after Jan. 1, 2015, which excludes any lawmakers who leave office through the end of the 148th General Assembly in 2016.

“We have seen veteran legislators leave this building after wielding considerable influence for years, only to turn around a couple months later and use that influence to steer public policy as lobbyists,” said the bill's sponsor, Rep. John A. Kowalko, Jr., D-Newark. “This creates a public perception that they have ulterior motives and could call into question decisions legislators make while in office.”

“We have an obligation to assure the public that we are acting in their best interests when we vote on legislation. Putting a one-year restriction in place tells the public that we are serious about eliminating any misconceptions about legislators' actions while they are serving.”

At least 31 states have some form of restriction on former legislators, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia all have one-year restrictions, while Maryland's ban is until the conclusion of the next regular session.

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