Despite restrictions on lobbying, access, ‘short’ session spending was second highest in dollars

Kentucky lobbying spending came in second place for an odd-year session in 2021, garnering $7.19 million spent by lobbyists and employers.

The highest spending for a “short” session came in April, 2019, as $7.55 million was spent on lobbying during that odd-year, 30-day session. 2017 and 2015’s totals both came in at $6.9 million. During the session, 749 businesses and organizations employed 615 lobbyists.

Despite the inability of the lobbyists and public to directly access the halls and corridors of the Capitol due to the COVID pandemic, the increased spending demonstrates that lobbyists and their employers were still working to influence public policy in the Commonwealth.

The top spending lobbying organization this year was the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which spent $217,595.46 in the 2021 session, nearly doubling its expenditures for the previous short session of $112,740. The second-biggest spender in the 2021 regular session was the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky which spent $111,821.54. The other top five spenders include: Kentucky Education Association ($106,365); Secure Democracy ($93,240); and Keeneland Association ($92,831).

The rest of the top 10 includes: Kentucky Equine Education Alliance (KEEP) ($92,014); Altria Client Services, LLC ($73,627); Kentucky League of Cities ($73,588); National Council of State Boards of Nursing ($68,370); and Kentucky Justice Association ($56,494). The remainder of the top 20 includes: Americans for Prosperity ($56,285); Anthem, Inc. and Its Affiliates ($51,500); Kentucky Hospital Association ($48,529); Kentucky Retail Federation ($46,070); Greater Louisville, Inc. ($45,070); Kentucky Assn. of School Administrators ($45,000); Kentucky Medical Association ($41,745); LG&E and KU Energy LLC ($39,925); CSX Corporation ($38,250); and RAI Services Company ($37,095).

Starting in early March, 2021, the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission (KLEC) has made information on which bills legislative lobbying employers are promoting or opposing newly available to the public, via the LEC’s website. The list is on LEC’s web site under “Bills Lobbied,” by Current Year or Prior Year.

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