Politics

With the first three months of lobbyist reports in for this year’s legislative session, it looks like total spending will easily surpass the previous record.

According to the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, business, organizations and legislative agents spent $7.5 million lobbying lawmakers in the first quarter of this year.

The spending pattern is on track to exceed the previous record of $8.8 million set in 2012, once totals from April are accounted for.

The top spender was the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, which spent $120,426 pushing issues like the local option sales tax, public-private partnerships, tort reform and felony expungement. The organization also spent $9,202 on radio advertising in favor of a pension transparency bill that did not pass.

Other top spenders are the Kentucky Hospital Association, which spent $102,294; Kentucky Retail Federation, which spent $99,997; and Altria (Philip Morris) which spent $94,469.

An organization called Marsy’s Law for All spent $85,544 during the session, lobbying for a bill that would have established a system to notify victims when an accused perpetrator makes bail.

The group spent $62,219 on advertising in support of the bill, though it did not pass.

There are almost 700 groups or individuals registered to lobby the Kentucky General Assembly.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.