The lobbying law passed in 2005 sparked outrage in Tallahassee.
As of the start of this year, lobbyists were no longer allowed to wine and dine legislators, many county day celebrations were cancelled,
and restaurants like Andrews, sitting right in the shadow of the Capitol, says it saw in-session business drop by 20%. For developers trying to attract high end restaurants, there was trouble. Sonny Granger, President, Granger Properties built the Tennyson condos in downtown Tallahassee he said, 'Initially when it first passed, it kind of sent a wave out to all the corporate chains we were talking to and that kind of slowed down a little bit."
The expenditure ban is just one part of the law. A suit filed in Leon County Thursday alleges that lobbyists rights to privacy have been and will be impacted because of the required quarterly compensation reporting. It's just one of several allegations. Mark Herron, an attorney representing the two lobbyists said, "The law was not properly enacted and if the courts agree, the entire law would be invalid."
The suit is also demanding guidance as to what "expenditure" means.
Herron said, "Who's prohibited from giving? Who's prohibited from accepting under what circumstances? Between the language in the statute and the language in the guidelines, they seem to conflict."
The impact of the ban is cooling off, at least for Sonny Granger, who says the talks with the high end restaurant chains are finally heating up again, as for which chain..."We can't say, that's part of the deal, we can't say, but we're close."