The Georgia Alliance for Ethics Reform is made up of Common Cause Georgia, the Georgia Tea Party Patriots, Georgia Watch and We the People Advocate Ray Boyd. The group has outlined a list of proposals that it hopes will be considered during the current session.
The current budget woes and last year's efforts for ethics reform are no excuse for not taking action this year, said Bob Irvin, former House Minority Leader and immediate past chairman of Common Cause Georgia.
"We're hopeful that significant pieces of this will be passed by the General Assembly," Irvin said. "Let's be honest: If the Legislature doesn't pass ethics reform this year, it'll be because they don't want to, not because they don't have time."
Irvin said the proposals are aimed at big-ticket items, such as Super Bowl tickets or lavish golf trips.
"We are not trying to cut out lunches or dinners," he said.
Among the recommendations the group is proposing are:
* Limiting the amount of one gift to $100 from a lobbyist to any public official, their immediate family members and staff, including travel;
* Disclosing gifts from lobbyists within five days, punishable by a fine of $100 per day until the disclosure is submitted;
* Expanding lobbyist disclosure to include all expenditures related to gifts for any public official, their immediate family members and staff;
* Increasing the amount of expenditures requiring registration as a lobbyist from $250 to $1,000.
The rules would apply to local and state elected officials.
Ethics became a focus of last year's legislative session after a scandal erupted involving former House Speaker Glenn Richardson in 2009.
In response, the Legislature passed a bill forcing lobbyists to make more frequent reports on what they spend on lawmakers, and abolished the joint legislative ethics panel. Many felt the panel had failed in investigating conflict of interest complaints. But the new law still allowed lawmakers to police their own behavior.
"A lot of lobbyists without deep pockets say they feel like this levels the playing field," said ex-gubernatorial candidate Ray Boyd of the Georgia Alliance's recommendations.
Georgia Tea Party Patriots coordinator Debbie Dooley said that her group would create a website and tipline for people to anonymously report ethics abuses and that she expects "a vast number" of phone calls to state lawmakers on the issue.
"We plan on taking this to the people," Dooley said. "This is the people's legislation. We are going to activate local tea parties. This is something that the people can get passed. This is a priority for us."