Matt Tully's column this morning discussing lobbyist reform legislation Sen. Mike Delph is introducing in this legislative session is a refreshing change. Here's a look at Delph's proposals, which he shared with Tully recently over coffee:
- He showed me a bill (Senate Bill 17) to require the reporting of every gift of $25 or more, including meals, that a lobbyist gives to a lawmaker. The current limit is $100; a reduction in that amount would make it harder for lawmakers to keep quiet about which interest groups are funding their dinners.
- Then he showed me a bill (Senate Bill 73) to require state university lobbyists, including presidents and trustees, to actually register as lobbyists. While it is crucial that we support and fund Indiana's universities, those institutions should have to abide by the same rules as other lobbying groups. Few groups work harder than universities to tap into the state budget. Is it too much to ask that those efforts be disclosed?
- Two other bills that have not yet been filed would ban lawmakers from accepting gifts from lobbyists on out-of-state junkets and force the legislature
to create a commission to fairly draw legislative districts.
Senator Delph was true to his word and did introduce bills limiting legislative gifts and seeking to reform the redistricting process. In particular, Senator Delph insistence that the legislature draw fair legislative district lines, a reform that protects voters' rights but makes legislators who want safe, noncompetitive seats, unhappy, deserves praise.
We need more legislators like Senator Delph. Thank you, Senator, for a job well done.