Code of Legislative Ethics doesn’t stop because of COVID19

Laura H.Hendrix

By Laura Hendrix Executive Director, Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission

 

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and following guidance from federal, state, and local officials, the Commission halted in-person services at its Frankfort office as of Tuesday, March 17. Email notifications were made to legislators and staff, as well as lobbyists, and employers, and a notice was placed on the Commission’s website and office door.

Legislators, staff, lobbyists, employers, and the public may continue to contact the office by phone at (502) 573-2863, by fax at (502) 573-2929, and via the email addresses listed on the staff page: https://klec.ky.gov/About-KLEC/Pages/Commission-Staff.aspx.

If you need to send the Commission copies of paperwork, please scan and email it to the emails as listed on the staff page, or fax to the number above.

Continued thanks to the many lobbying entities who have honored our request to begin filing online, and those who have utilized this service for many years. If a lobbyist or employer is currently filing disclosures by paper and would like to file online, please email us and we can contact you with an ID and password. Please see the important notice below as well.

If an entity needs to register as a lobbyist or employer, please email the required scanned paperwork to Donnita Crittenden or Lori Smither at the staff emails in the link above or fax them to (502) 573-2929. Blank forms may be found at https://klec.ky.gov/Forms/Pages/Get-Blank-Forms.aspx.

All provisions of the Code of Legislative Ethics are in force during this time. If there is a need for an opinion about the application of the Code to any particular ethical issue that may arise, please continue to contact us and we will answer your questions.

The Code of Legislative Ethics requires all lobbyists and employers to file their updated registration statements on the 15th day of January, February, March, April, May, and September of each year. The updated registration statement is due on May 15, 2020, per KRS 6.807(3). All employers and lobbyists should go ahead and begin filing their statements ASAP. The Commission has sent every employer and lobbyist information on how to file online, or via email or fax.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, statements received after May 15 up to and including May 31, 2020 shall be considered timely filed if the filer emails a written explanation of the reason for delay to the Commission’s Executive Director, Laura Hendrix, at Laura.Hendrix@lrc.ky.gov by May 31, 2020.

$7.9 million spent lobbying in first three months of 2020 session

From January through March, 2020, organizations and lobbyists registered with the Commission spent $7.9 million to lobby the Kentucky General Assembly. There are 729 businesses and organizations lobbying the General Assembly, with 620 lobbyists working for those employers.

Lobbying spending for the past three months was led by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which spent $130,273. Coming in second was Altria Client Services LLC (Philip Morris) with $122,947.

The other top 10 spenders were: Kentucky League of Cities ($113,217); Juul Labs, Inc. ($101,304); Marsy’s Law for All ($94,076); Kentucky Retail Federation ($72,805); Kentucky Hospital Association ($70,695); American Civil Liberties Union of KY ($64,032); Kentucky Education Association ($62,481); and the Kentucky Justice Association ($59,294).

The rest of the spending top 25 are: Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives ($56,367); Humana ($51,156); Kentucky Bankers Association ($49,643); Kentucky Medical Association ($49,583); Kentucky Farm Bureau ($48,548); Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of KY ($47,791); Kentucky Downs ($47,346); Anthem Inc. & its Affiliates ($45,567); LG & E and KU Energy ($42,915); Greater Louisville, Inc. ($40,650); CSX Corporation ($38,500); Home Builders Association of Kentucky ($38,349); Kentucky Association of School Administrators ($38,150); US Justice Action Network ($37,803); and Century Aluminum Company ($36,645).

The Legislative Ethics Commission’s searchable register of lobbyists and employers is online at http://apps.klec.ky.gov/searchregister.asp. 

2020 Regular Session ends-Legislative Ethics bill passed

The 2020 legislative session ended on April 15 amid unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and pressures on legislators, staff, lobbyists, and public alike.  The General Assembly considered two bills containing the Commission’s legislative recommendations, HB 168, sponsored by Representative Kim Moser and SB 157, sponsored by Senator Wil Schroder.  The Commission appreciates the diligent efforts of these and other interested legislators in this anything-but-“regular” session.

SB 157, which passed the General Assembly, clarifies that a provision in the Ethics Code designated as a misdemeanor or felony may be adjudicated as ethical misconduct, permits the Commission to dismiss a complaint that does not state a claim via a teleconference meeting, creates a statute of limitation of 1 year for former legislators/legislative agents in cases of ethical misconduct, requires the Commission staff to coordinate ethics training with LRC staff and allows Commission staff to assist the LRC with their sexual harassment training for legislators, and shortens the legislator annual training from 3 hours to 2 hours. The bill also contains provisions relating to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.  These changes become law on July 15, 2020.

Training for Lobbyists and Employers on video

The Legislative Ethics Commission has a training video from one of our in-person lobbyist and employer trainings on the LRC Capitol Connection YouTube page, for viewing at any time. The link is on our website, and also on the LRC Capitol Connection page at   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojKIWUNV8po&feature=youtu.be. The video walks through the online filing process in step-by-step detail.  Please call us with any questions!

Financial disclosures for candidates and legislators on KLEC site

The Commission has the statutorily required financial disclosures for legislative candidates and legislators available on the Commission’s website at https://klec.ky.gov/Reports/Pages/Legislators-and-Candidates.aspx.

 

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