Another tradition has fallen by the wayside in Georgia, but don’t expect too many people to raise a fuss over it.
Effective this coming January 1, a new state will ban lobbyists from giving politicians free college football tickets.
Disclosure reports show that lobbyists have given Georgia politicians nearly $1,400 in college football tickets and related entertainment since the start of the season in late August. That’s just the beginning. Last year, registered lobbyists shelled out more than $14,000 in tickets and perks at college football games, according to an Associated Press review of the spending reports that lobbyists must file.
Many lawmakers get tickets in Georgia because the Legislature controls the $6.4 billion higher education budget, including the roughly $1.9 billion that comes directly from state coffers.
While Georgia is finally cleaning up this blatant example of political corruption, other states aren’t bothering. State lawmakers in Alabama get the perk of buying tickets at face value, while the common fan has to donate money for access. Wisconsin allowed politicians access to tickets for sold out games back back in 2005.
The ban isn’t in effect yet, which means Georgia will continue to give out perks in the meantime.
The current law is in effect for this football season. And we’ll abide by it,” UGA spokesman Tom Jackson told the Associated Press. “And the new law isn’t going to affect us until next football season. And we’ll abide by the new law.”
The new law isn’t that big of a deal, but any small step to keep politicians from gaining influence in college football (and vice versa) is just fine with me.