Bill would require truth in testimony to lawmakers

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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

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Brad Owens
Brad Owens 11/24/08 - 05:31 pm
I would like to make members

I would like to make members of the General Assembly part of this all the time.

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 11/24/08 - 07:06 pm
If lobbyists appearing before

If lobbyists appearing before legislative committees were compelled by legislation to tell the Truth, how much could they have to say?

patriciathomas 11/24/08 - 09:33 pm
If legislators were compelled

If legislators were compelled to tell the truth, they'd remain quiet. You can bet this bill will never see the light of day.

As It Is
As It Is 11/24/08 - 09:56 pm
Good luck Mr. Tarver, you

Good luck Mr. Tarver, you will certainly need it. You may not have the support in the general assembly but you have the support of the general population. This bill is a good start to what is needed in most of our government.

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