ATLANTA -- Lobbyists and others testifying before the General Assembly's many committees usually have a lot to say.
The veracity of their statements, however, is often open to question.
But a bill Sen. Ed Tarver, D-Augusta, filed ahead of the next legislative session would require those who testify to tell the truth, or face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.
Senate Bill 7, known as the "Truth in Testimony Act," would allow committee and subcommittee chairmen to require a witness take an oath before giving testimony.
State law allows for prosecution of citizens who provide false or misleading information to a government agency, but that does not extend to the General Assembly, Tarver said.
"There was really no mechanism for us to determine what was truly accurate and to determine whether people were embellishing to make their argument more viable," he said.
The act would not apply to legislators, who speech in the General Assembly is protected by legislative immunity.
Tarver introduced a similar bill in the previous legislative session, with bipartisan co-sponsors. It never made it out of the Senate.
The Senate will consider the new bill after the legislative session begins on Jan. 12.
Jake Armstrong can be reached at (404) 589-8424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.