"I think the people of Georgia can know that kept face with them and passed what even now is the strongest and toughest ethics bill in the history of the state," said House Speaker David Ralston.
Even before seeing details of the legislation, watchdog groups said the public had already won a victory.
"Overall, the fact that the culture down here has changed dramatically over the last few years is a victory for all Georgians. There are less lobby gifts. We're getting limits by political pressure. We'd really like to see the limits by law," said William Perry of Common Cause Georgia.
Also on Thursday, the House and Senate approved a bill giving the Georgia Lottery new authority to regulate video gaming machines with the promise that more revenue for the HOPE Scholarship.
"These machines are legal under state law. The problem is we do not have a regulatory system in place to make sure they are used legally and in compliance with the state laws and that is what we are doing here, nothing more and nothing less," said Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City).
Gov. Nathan Deal, who addressed lawmakers as they headed into the final hours of the legislative session, supported the measure.
"I do think it will be a significant tool, as was indicated by the GBI and local law enforcement , of giving us the chance to put some criteria in place so we could check on these machines, which has been very difficult to do in the past. And it doesn't hurt that we are beginning the process of having some of the revenue from that put in to the HOPE Scholarship program," Deal said.