Lobbyist Gift Ban Effects

There are no definitive numbers yet, but Tallahassee Mayor John Marks says they will be issuing a survey to find out how severe the impact of the lobbyist gift ban was, if at all.

The Tallahassee Convention and Visitors Bureau says it has heard from several restaurants and hotels that business was down compared to past legislative sessions.

Some of the big events, such as Miami-Dade Day, were canceled, an event that usually books up more than 1,000 hotel rooms for those few days.

"With the catering definitely, we're probably down about 20 percent, and how about with restaurant volume? Around the same, roughly the same,” comments Gary Webster, manager of Andrews.

"It made the sales a little sluggish in the beginning, I noticed that half way through we started to see an increase in sales like normal, but the night business was not as, the sales didn't increase as dramatically as usual,” says Roger Unger, owner of Jasmines Café.

It was estimated by local lawmaker, Sen. Al Lawson that millions of dollars could be lost as result of the ban.

Tallahassee leaders wanted the Legislature to take another look at the gift ban and its impacts. However, by the end of session Friday, it was not revisited.

Tallahassee Mayor John Marks hopes at some point the Legislature will reconsider.

“If they don't then we'll have to find a way to live with it, and unfortunately I think it's still going to have a huge impact on our economy, and I regret that,” Marks adds.