New bill shuts revolving door of legislators turned lobbyists

By Amy Cherry 2:55pm, January 9, 2013
State Rep. John Kowalko (D-Newark South) files legislation to prevent legislators from immediately becoming lobbyists.
Outgoing legislators who want to roam Leg Hall as lobbyists would have to wait one year before they could so under new proposed legislation.

House Bill 13, filed by Rep. John Kowalko (D-South Newark) seeks to close what he calls "the revolving door" that allows lawmakers to leave their offices and immediately start lobbying former colleagues.

"You're going to cast appall over your motives the whole time you're working on that policy, and the public is going to further mistrust us, and we can't afford that," says Kowalko.

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The Newark Democrat says this measure is about keeping and maintaining public trust.

"We have an obligation to ensure the public that we are acting in their best interest 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," Kowalko says.

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If passed, violators would face a misdemeanor. The measure wouldn't apply to any legislators until 2015.

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