Bill introduced to extend 1-year lobbying ban to all state employees

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY5 things to watch in the Tennessee legislature (Feb. 5) | 1:05

Tennessee lawmakers are back in session. Here are five things to watch for the week of Feb. 5. Joel Ebert and Duane W. Gang / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY3 takeaways from Gov. Bill Haslam's State of the State address | 1:00

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam on Jan. 30, 2017 gave his annual State of the State address before the General Assembly. Here are three takeways from his speech, the next to last before leaving office. Joel Ebert and Duane W. Gang / The Tennessean / Wochit

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYGov. Haslam's 2017-18 education budget | 1:02

Gov. Bill Haslam's 2017-18 budget includes $100 million for teacher pay raises and $22.2 million for English-language learning students. Jason Gonzales / The Tennessean / Wochit

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSen. Doug Overbey discusses wildfire recovery | 2:27

Sen. Doug Overbey discussed wilfire recovery efforts Tuesday in the Senate finance committee meeting in Nashville. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYRep. David Hawk reacts to State of the State | 2:43

Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, reacts to Gov. Bill Haslam's State of the State address Jan. 30 at the capitol. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSen. Jim Tracy reacts to State of the State | 1:56

Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, reacts to Gov. Bill Haslam's State of the State address Jan. 30 at the capitol. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYNashville Democrats react to State of the State | 1:15

Democrats Rep. Mike Stewart and Sen. Jeff Yarbro, both of Nashville, react to State of the State address Jan. 30 at the capitol. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYRaw video: Haslam discusses 2018 budget proposal | 5:51

Gov. Bill Haslam outlined his 2018 budget with reporters on Jan. 30 at the capitol. Jake Lowary/Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSenator Mark Norris reacts to State of the State pt. 2 | 0:00

State of the State Kirk Bado / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSenator Mark Norris reacts to State of the State pt. 1 | 0:00

Norris reacts to State of the State.

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY5 things to watch in the Tennessee legislature (Week of Feb. 1) | 0:35

Here are 5 big topics coming up to watch for this week in the 110th General Assembly. Jake Lowary / The Tennessean / Wochit

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYGov. Haslam wants to expand broadband access to Tennesseans | 3:36

Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 announced efforts to expand broadband access. Adam Tamburin/The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYGov. Haslam outlines broadband initiative | 1:03

Gov. Bill Haslam announced the latest plank of his legislative agenda — a broadband initiative — Thursday morning at Cane Ridge High School in Antioch. Haslam's plan will provide $45 million over 3 years in grants and tax credits for service providers. The governor said the plan focuses on three broad issues: funding, cutting regulation and education — "digital literacy." Karen Kraft / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY5 things to know about Gov. Haslam's IMPROVE Act proposal | 1:11

The plan, which is officially known as the Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy or IMPROVE ACT was unveiled on Wednesday. Karen Kraft / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYSen. Doug Overbey discusses Gatlinburg recovery | 1:06

Sen. Doug Overbey discusses Gatlinburg recovery after a meeting Thursday at the legislature in Nashville. Jake Lowary / The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYKey legislative issues to watch | 1:42

With lawmakers set to return to Nashville on Tuesday to officially convene the 110th General Assembly, the session is expected to cover a multitude of issues ranging from a potential gas tax increase to how to spend the state's budget surplus. Kyleah Starling/The Tennessean

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110TH TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLYRon Ramsey readies to leave Lt. Governor post | 0:47

Outgoing Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey talks about retiring from the leadership position in the Tennessee legislature. Lacey Atkins / Tennessean

17 of 17

  • 5 things to watch in the Tennessee legislature (Feb. 5)
  • 3 takeaways from Gov. Bill Haslam's State of the State address
  • Gov. Haslam's 2017-18 education budget
  • Sen. Doug Overbey discusses wildfire recovery
  • Rep. David Hawk reacts to State of the State
  • Sen. Jim Tracy reacts to State of the State
  • Nashville Democrats react to State of the State
  • Raw video: Haslam discusses 2018 budget proposal
  • Senator Mark Norris reacts to State of the State pt. 2
  • Senator Mark Norris reacts to State of the State pt. 1
  • 5 things to watch in the Tennessee legislature (Week of Feb. 1)
  • Gov. Haslam wants to expand broadband access to Tennesseans
  • Gov. Haslam outlines broadband initiative
  • 5 things to know about Gov. Haslam's IMPROVE Act proposal
  • Sen. Doug Overbey discusses Gatlinburg recovery
  • Key legislative issues to watch
  • Ron Ramsey readies to leave Lt. Governor post

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Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, addresses the Republican caucus before the opening of the Tennessee legislature Jan. 10, 2017.(Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Tennessean)Buy Photo

A House Republican is looking to localize President Donald Trump‘s efforts to “drain the swamp” by extending a one-year ban on lobbying to all public employees.

On Thursday, Rep. , R-Crossville, introduced a that would prevent any employee of the state from being able to become a lobbyist until one year after they exit their position.

The measure is largely aimed at extending a policy that already applies to lawmakers, as well as the governor‘s Cabinet and high-ranking staff members. State law prohibits them from becoming lobbyists for one year after they exit their government position.

In an interview, Sexton said he wants to ensure the policy applies to all state employees.

“(President Donald) Trump calls it ‘drain the swamp,‘ ” Sexton said. “We just think that there needs to be a level playing field and that all state employees should be created equal and held to the same standard.”

Trump a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying foreign governments and a five-year ban on lobbying an agency a person previously worked for in the government.

Sexton said his legislation is aimed at making sure people don‘t use their position in state government inappropriately.

“It‘s about making sure that you don‘t use your power, your influence or your job title previously to parlay it into something else,” he said.

If passed, Sexton‘s legislation would halt moves by recent state employees to become lobbyists, at least for one year.

Recent examples of employees becoming lobbyists include the former House clerk, chief of staff to the governor and a former staffer for the previous House majority leader.

In January, Joe McCord, who had served as House clerk since 2011,  and later joined the Tennessee Wildlife Federation as part of its policy team. Although McCord has frequently been seen at the legislature this session, prior to the organization‘s announcement on Friday. McCord has registered as a lobbyist but the information hasn‘t posted yet in the state‘s online database, according the federation.

Mark Cate, who served as Gov. Bill Haslam‘s chief of staff until 2015, was technically prohibited from being a lobbyist for one year. But a Tennessean investigation revealed he remained connected and influential within state and local governments, working with several private clients for whom he now lobbies. He has since registered as a lobbyist.

In October, Daniel Culbreath left then-House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick‘s office after the Chattanooga Republican decided to not seek re-election for his leadership position. Culbreath took a position as a lobbyist with Stones River Group.

In recent years there have been other examples of state employees exiting their position and becoming lobbyists.

“When you looked at the national election I think people were tired of the normal way that government works,” Sexton said.

The legislation has yet to receive a Senate sponsor.

Reach Joel Ebert at  or and on Twitter .

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