‘Lavish Parties’ Exception To Gift Ban Targeted

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota House has voted to reverse course on a recent law change making it easier for lobbyists to buy meals for legislators.

A bill repealing a soft spot in an otherwise strict gift ban passed 126 to 3 on Monday. It would do away with an exception approved last spring that allows lawmakers to get lobbyist-purchased meals at receptions as long as all legislators are invited. Democratic Rep. Debra Hilstrom of Brooklyn Center termed it a “lavish parties” exception.

Under the state’s prior gift ban, lawmakers had to reimburse sponsoring group or lobbyists for the cost of those meals.

The newer law won’t be peeled back unless the Senate goes along. That body’s version hasn’t advanced.

It’s possible the House proposal could be included in an end-of-session deal.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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