In an effort to restrict the domain of lobbyists in the aftermath of the Jack Abramoff scandal, Senate lawmakers agreed to strengthen ethics legislation with a vote to bar the acceptance of free meals from registered lobbyists.

The proposal piggybacked a current bill, which contains a provision that prohibits lawmakers from accepting gifts such as tickets to sporting events for example.

In addition to the meal prohibition, a number of additional ethics-bolstering amendments were floated including requiring lawmakers to pay charter rates for private plane travel rather than the current first-class rate they now pay and another that would create an independent office of public integrity to help investigate ethics allegations.

In January, veteran lobbyist Abramoff pled guilty to conspiring to bribe lawmakers.

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