Q&A on the News

Q: The AJC reported that the Georgia House of Representatives passed gift ban legislation for lawmakers by a vote of 164-4 on Feb. 25. Who were the four representatives who voted against it?

—Paul Massey, Peachtree City

A: Reps. Michael Caldwell, R-Woodstock, Delvis Dutton, R-Glennville, Charles Gregory, R-Kennesaw and Scot Turner, R-Holly Springs, voted against House Bill 142. Caldwell, Gregory and Turner are freshmen and Dutton is in his second term. The bill would allow lobbyists to pay for dinners or gifts for entire committees, caucuses or other recognized groups, and includes exemptions for lobbyist-funded travel, minus airfare, the AJC reported. However, it "would bar lobbyists from paying for golf outings, tickets to professional sporting events and private, high-dollar steak dinners that had become the norm."

Q: I have heard many different answers on how much the Girl Scouts earn from a box of cookies. Can you straighten this out?

—John A. Milani, Fayetteville

A: A box of cookies can cost anywhere from $3.50 to $5, which is determined by the local council, Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, told CBSNews.com early last month. She said that if a box costs $4, she estimates that 50 percent, or $2 per box, "is retained by the local Girl Scout council to support local programs and facilities." Another 25 percent is spent on rewards for the girls and "troop proceeds," and the other 25 percent "pays the baker for the wholesale cost of the product," Chavez said. Bakeries in Sioux City, S.D., and Louisville, Ky., make the cookies.

Andy Johnston wrote this column; Aaron Gould Sheinin contributed. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).