FRANKFORT — Companies spent more than $7.76 million to lobby the legislature during the first four months of the year, setting a new record for a 30-day legislative session, according to numbers released Friday.
The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission reported Friday that lobbying during the 30-day session was up 16 percent from 2011, the previous 30-day session. The legislature meets for 60 days during even-number years and 30 days during odd-number years.
In 2011, companies spent $6.5 million, the previous record for a 30-day legislative session.
The $7.76 million spent so far this year is a 26 percent increase from the same time period in 2009, when the total spent was $5.5 million, according to numbers provided by the commission.
The 20 companies that spent the most to influence the General Assembly included seven businesses or groups that lobby on health-care related issues. The top spender was Altria Client Services, which lobbies on behalf of tobacco companies, which spent $126,489. Altria is a frequent top spender on lobbying activities.
Other top spenders include Century Aluminum of Kentucky, $118,687; Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, $112,737; Kentucky Hospital Association, $89,648; Kentucky Bankers Association, $72,320; Kentucky Medical Association, $71,696; Kentucky Retail Federation, $67,186; Build Our New Bridge Now, $60,932; AT&T, $53,618; and CSX, $52,539.