Kentucky lobbying continues to rival records for odd-year spending
According to the most recent lobbyist and employer reports, legislative lobbying spending for the first 8 months of 2021 was just shy of $15 million, at $14.9 million.
Businesses and organizations kept up the trend of increased lobbying spending by nearly reaching the record $15.7 million spent in the same period in 2019.
The General Assembly is in session for only 30 legislative days in odd years, as opposed to a 60- day session in even numbered years. While a special session was also held in September, these expenditures will not be reported until January, 2022.
During the first two-thirds of 2021, 748 lobbying employers paid about 612 lobbyists $13.5 million, and an additional $531,872 was spent on lobbying-related administrative costs, such as travel and other expenses.
The leading spender for January through August, 2021, is the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which spent $355,812 on lobbying. The second place finisher, at $184,933, is Altria (Philip Morris).
The rest of the top 10 spenders and amounts for this period of reporting are: American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky ($162,863); Kentucky Hospital Association ($124,127); Kentucky Equine Education Alliance (KEEP) ($122,156); Keeneland Association ($122,118); Kentucky Education Association ($108,081); CSX Corporation ($103,467); Secure Democracy ($103,240); and Anthem, Inc. and its Affiliates ($96,500).
The remainder of the top 20 spenders and amounts are: Heaven Hill Distilleries ($96,000); Kentucky League of Cities ($893,438); HCA Healthcare ($89,665); Charter Communications ($88,967); National Council of State Boards of Nursing ($86,330); LG&E and KU Energy ($84,413); Kentucky Retail Federation ($77,282); Westlake Chemical Corporation ($77,000); RAI Services Company ($76,625); and DraftKings, Inc. ($76,500).
Advertising relating to lobbying in the 2021 legislative session nearly doubles from last short session
In 2014, bipartisan legislation enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly required employers of lobbyists to report the cost of advertising appearing during a legislative session that supports or opposes legislation, which is paid for by that employer of lobbyists or a person or organization affiliated with an employer. This includes statements disseminated to the public in print, via radio or television, ETHICS REPORTER September, 2021 Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission 22 Mill Creek Park, Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-9230 Phone: (502) 573-2863 http://klec.ky.gov 2 on billboards, or any electronic means, including internet or telephonically, and includes direct or bulk mailings.
During the last short regular legislative session, in 2019, $317,859 was spent on advertising relating to legislation, by employers of lobbyists.
In 2021, this amount increased substantially, as employers spent $500,928 on advertising to support or oppose legislation during the regular session.
The top 5 employers and amounts spent on advertising, and legislation reported, were:
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce ($114,160)- SB 5 (liability protection during emergencies); HB 7 (recovery ready communities); HB 25 (KEES scholarships); HB 126 (crimes and punishments); HB 561 (gas tax) and transportation investment. Included digital ads, radio and social media ads, legislator direct communication, and patch through calls and texts.
Kentucky Education Association ($79,656) - SB 25 (education opportunity accounts); HB 149 (education opportunity accounts); and HB 192 (executive branch budget). These included billboards, radio ads, phone calls, digital ads, and posters.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing ($69,330) – SB 78 (prescriptive authority of advanced practice registered nurses). Included ads, emails, and search engine marketing.
Kentucky Equine Education Alliance (KEEP) ($54,524) – SB 120 (pari-mutuel wagering). Included patch through calls, social media and digital advertising.
Americans for Prosperity ($47,841) – Gas tax. Included television, radio, and digital ads, and telephone calls.
Recent lobbying registrations and terminations
Seven businesses and organizations recently registered to lobby the General Assembly: American Kidney Fund; Bar K Ranch; Carvana; EdChoice, Inc.; Mako Medical Laboratories LLC; New Towne Consultants (NTC); and Vera Action, Inc.
Recently terminated businesses and organizations include: Airbnb, Inc.; Barr Media, LLC; BusPatrol; Confluent Health; Enhanced Capital; Guardian Healthcare Providers; Janus Capital Management LLC; Kentucky Beverage Association; Light River Technologies, Inc.; Morehead State University; Philips North America LLC; Securus Technologies; and Self Storage Association.