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Our View: Take nothing from lobbyists

And while we're on the subject ...

When it comes to picking up the tab, we'd like again to urge lawmakers to make it law that they pick up their own tab when it comes to lunch with lobbyists. No matter how little or how much the bill.

A few years back the Alaska Legislatures embarrassed itself with time-consuming debate about how much a lobbyist could spend on them before it had to be reported, how much should be allowed, what was a problem and what qualified as "de minimis," or inconsequential.

Forget the hand-wringing. You want to restore public trust and create a standard of integrity? Make it simple -- no meals from lobbyists. No tickets, plane flights or entertainment, either. Pay your own way -- or just brown bag it in the office. No worries about what to report when there's nothing to report.

We know a meal or a drink or a favor doesn't buy a good lawmaker's vote. But it just may buy a minute of his or her time, and as an Anchorage lawmaker once wrote, "and so it begins."

Let's end it.

BOTTOM LINE: Lawmakers should take nothing from lobbyists. Period.