OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Ethics Commission is considering a rule change that would ban all state employees and officials from lobbying for two years after their tenure ends.

The proposed rule change would create what Oklahoma officials are calling a cooling-off period, The Journal Record reported.

A group of lobbyists, lawyers and lawmakers asked the commission to abandon it at a meeting Thursday.

An exception to the proposed rule change would be attorneys representing outside interests in court after leaving the state government roster.

“You do want to protect against unintended consequences,” said executive director Ashley Kemp.

Several critics said there isn’t a way to fully guard against unintended consequences under the proposed change.

State Rep. John Paul Jordan, R-Yukon, said he was concerned about legal consequences that could result from the Oklahoma government limiting lobbying. He said the Supreme Court has ruled that lobbying is protected speech under the Citizens United decision. He also cited a federal court case in Ohio that struck down a similar law.

“I think the last thing the Ethics Commission and the state need is to be hit with a federal lawsuit,” Jordan said.

Officials said they didn’t have any intention of acting on it that day.

More than 30 states nationwide have a cooling-off period. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight of those states have implemented two-year periods.


Information from: The Journal Record, http://www.journalrecord.com

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