They will not be told for whom they can work.

And they will not be told how long to wait between the time they hang up their legislative hats and begin lobbying former colleagues for votes.But Utah lawmakers do -- finally -- agree there should be some limits on the gifts they can receive from lobbyists.

Before the legislative session began Jan. 21, GOP House leadership said it supported -- in theory -- some kind of lobbyist reform. On Tuesday, Rep. Jordan Tanner, R-Provo, had 50 percent success with his colleagues in the House in placing restrictions on lobbyists.

After several amendments, lawmakers on Tuesday voted unanimously to support HB17, which restricts the kinds of gifts lawmakers and their families can receive. The amendments all allow various exemptions in the law, which prohibits gifts of more than $50.

Earlier in the day, the House defeated a bill that would have imposed a one-year "cooling off" period between the time a legislator leaves office and the time he may go to work as a lobbyist.

For years, Deseret News polls have shown that most Utahns want legislators to cut back on the gifts they take from lobbyists. Also, questionnaires the newspaper sent out to legislative candidates before the 1998 elections show that most of the lawmakers elected to serve in the 1999 Legislature wanted to reduce lobbyists gifts as well.

At the end of the day's session, House Majority Leader Kevin S. Garn, R-Layton, praised lobbyists and the information they provide.

He insisted the issue is under consideration not because of corruption but because legislators have the responsibility to outline how lobbyists and legislators should interact.

"It is OK for legislators to dance with lobbyists," he said. "We can perform the political waltz at arm's length, but we cannot dance cheek-to-cheek."

HB17 still must be approved by the Senate.

An HB17 amendment sponsored by Rep. Ray Short, R-Holladay, allows travel expenses to be paid for by a lobbyist or special-interest group if the legislator is on official government business.

Amendments by Rep. Brent H. Goodfellow, D-West Valley City, allow legislators to accept a gift of any dollar amount as long as it is counted as a campaign contribution.

Rep. Mel Brown, R-Midvale, amended the bill to allow legislators to accept free food, beverages and admittance to events where either all the legislators are invited or where only certain legislative committees are invited to attend.

Second, it would allow legislators to accept free food, beverages and admittance to events sponsored by a local, state or national organization, even if only one or two of the legislators were invited.

With the exception of Rep. Jordan Tanner, who opposed both Brown's and Goodfellow's amendments, the House enthusiastically endorsed this version of the bill.

Tanner has steadfastly argued for tighter restrictions on lobbyists. He told the House Tuesday that in the wake of the Olympic scandal, it is more important this year than ever before to deal with "questionable" behavior among public officials.

"It is essential for us as a Legislature to stand up and say, 'We are not going to allow practices the public deems questionable.' "

After the first vote, Tanner said, "The House has spoken loud and clear. Of course I'm disappointed. The Legislature has not reflected public opinion on the reform issue.

"I think it is a serious problem that 23 former legislators are now working as lobbyists," he said.

But 43 of his colleagues disagreed, enough to defeat the bill by Tanner, an indefatigable activist for lobbyist reform, 43-27.

Rep. David Ure, R-Kamas, told his colleagues it is a bad idea for government to get involved in the relationship between the two parties. "Are we limiting the freedom of speech or the freedom to work?"

Rep. Lamont Tyler, R-East Millcreek, said there is a de facto cooling off period created in the 10 months between early March, when a legislative session ends, and mid-January when the next begins.

Deseret News staff writer Candace Hammer contributed to this story.