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House backs lobbyist spending restrictions, increased disclosure

SANTA FE — A proposal that would restrict lobbyist spending during the legislative session and require lobbyists to disclosure what bills they worked on afterward is headed to the Senate after winning approval 62-0 in the House.

House Bill 131 would require lobbyists or their employers, after the session ends, to list each piece of legislation they lobbied on and whether they supported, opposed or took another position on the measure.

It was amended Sunday to also prohibit lobbyists from making any expenditures on legislators during the session — an idea aimed at keeping lobbyists from buying meals for lawmakers.

Lobbyists and their employers routinely buy lunch or dinner for entire committees or even a whole chamber of the Legislature.

The co-sponsors of the bill are Democratic Reps. Dayan Hochman-Vigil and Elizabeth Thomson, both of Albuquerque, and Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces.

The prohibition on lobbyist spending was an amendment sponsored by House Minority Leader James Townsend, R-Artesia.

The legislation has 12 days to make it through the Senate before the end of the session.

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