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Record $8.5 million spent on lobbying in Kentucky during 2022 session; KY Chamber tops spending

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky lobbying spending for the 2022 session’s first three months broke the previous record as legislative lobbyists and employers reported spending $8,548,576 to influence policy decisions by the General Assembly, according to the Legislative Ethics Commission.

The previous spending record in the first three months of a session came in 2018, when $8.4 million was spent during the even-year, 60-day session. The 2020 session, which was interrupted by the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, garnered $7.9 million for the same time period, ending March 31.

Record lobbying expense for legislative session

Intense interest in issues such as the biennial budgets for the various branches of government, abortion, gaming, tax policy, medical policies, alcohol, unemployment benefits, charter schools, early literacy, school governance, elections and a myriad of other concerns fueled the lobbying activity.

Lobbying employers paid their lobbyists $7,674,454 in salary for that period, spent $208,866 in advertising for or against legislation, reported spending $156,860 on receptions, meals, and events for legislators and legislative staff, and had $287,681 of lobbying expenses such as direct citizen contact, educational and promotional items, and office expenses.

The top spending lobbying organization so far this year was the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which spent $139,508 lobbying on the executive branch biennial budget, school issues, unemployment, early literacy, childcare assistance, alcohol and tax policy.

The second-biggest spender in the 2022 regular session was the Kentucky Hospital Association which spent $130,949. They lobbied on bills relating to emergency medical services, pharmaceutical databases, abortion, heart attack services and rural hospitals.

The rest of the top 10 lobbying spenders were the American Civil Liberties Union of KY, $115,152; Altria Client Services LLC, $108,655; the Kentucky League of Cities, $87,788; Pace-O-Matic, $78,650; Kentucky Retail Federation, $72,120; Greater Louisville, Inc., $64,711; Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, $60,403; and Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation $55,544.

All lobbyists and employers are required to file Updated Registration Statements for the period of April 1 through April 30, the final month of the legislative session, by May 16, 2022.

In addition to record spending this year, there was an all-time high in lobbying employers who are registered with the Legislative Branch Ethics Commission.

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