Interest groups spent about $7.5 million lobbying the 2016 General Assembly during the first three months of the year, putting them on track to set a record, according to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission.
If April’s lobbying expenses continue at the same pace, total spending for the 60-day session will beat the previous record of $8.8 million in 2012, according to the commission.
The biggest spender was the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which represents the state’s business community. The Chamber reported spending $120,426 on lobbying and advertising related to a number of issues, including better funding for state pensions and public-private partnership legislation to help finance major projects.
Other top lobbyists included the Kentucky Hospital Association ($102,294); the Kentucky Retail Federation ($99,997); Altria, formerly known as tobacco giant Philip Morris ($94,469); Marsy’s Law for All, a group that unsuccessfully tried to add a crime victim’s bill of rights to the state constitution ($85,544); the Kentucky Justice Association, which represents trial attorneys ($76,086); the Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation ($64,878); the Kentucky League of Cities ($61,238); the Kentucky Bankers Association ($54,240); Norton Healthcare ($51,274); insurance company Anthem Inc. ($51,000); the Kentucky Association of School Administrators ($47,950); the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives ($47,494); insurance company Humana ($45,574); Century Aluminum ($44,246); the Home Builders Association of Kentucky ($44,180); and Baptist Health ($41,254).
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These figures only represent sums spent lobbying the legislature during the session; they don’t include separate efforts to lobby the state’s executive branch.