Ethics: Raise wine-n-dine cap to $60

Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo/Wikimedia

Lobbyists plying individual state legislators for votes will be able to spend up $60 per day on them, according to a proposed amendment to state ethics law.

Set at $50 in 2008, the law tied the per-day spending cap to the Consumer Price Index and it has been rising with the CPI incrementally ever since. The current spending cap is $58, but according to the proposed amendment, which will be considered by the Board of Ethics at its monthly meeting Thursday in Baton Rouge, a 3.2 percent rise in the cost of food and beverages over the last year necessitates a commensurate hike in the lobbyists’ cap of $1.86. (The ethics law also rounds off to the nearest dollar, hence the proposed $2 increase.)

According to a 2008 report by the Associated Press, when the new spending cap went into affect, some Baton Rouge-area restaurants retooled their menus to accommodate the new limit or trained staff to make menu suggestions for lobbyists and their lawmaker clients.