RSSArchive for April 30th, 2013

$6.2 million spent on lobbying during legislative session

By Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — A Western Kentucky aluminum smelter was the top spender on lobbying efforts during the recently concluded 2013 General Assembly, new reports released Tuesday show.

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission reported that $6.2 million was spent on lobbying during the 30-day session which concluded March 26.

Century Aluminum of Kentucky, which was pushing legislation to allow it and other businesses to purchase electricity on the free market, spent $108,687 on lobbying during the session. Altria Client services, which represents Phillip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, spent $107,353 during the legislative session. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce spent $90,639 in the 2013 session, making it the third top spender.

Rounding out the top five are two medical organizations — the Kentucky Hospital Association and the Kentucky Medical Association. According to the Legislative Ethics Commission, the Kentucky Hospital Association spent $78,213 on lobbying while the Kentucky Medical Association spent $62,930.

Beshear indicates special session on redistricting likely this year

Gov. Steve Beshear

By Jack Brammer and Beth Musgrave

FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear indicated Tuesday that he is likely to call a special legislative session this year to redraw the boundaries of state legislative districts.

“I hope to deal with redistricting sometime before the next regular session in January so that it will not become a distraction when we’re preparing the budget for the commonwealth for the next two years,” Beshear said. “I will continue to discuss this possibility with legislative leaders.”

Beshear’s comments came after House Speaker Greg Stumbo told him in a letter Tuesday that the Democratic-controlled House “stands ready” to tackle redistricting if he should decide to call a special session.

Lawmakers are not scheduled to meet again in session until the 2014 General Assembly begins in January. Only the governor can call a special session and set its agenda.

“I believe this is an issue better resolved sooner than later,” Stumbo said in his letter to Beshear. “We need to avoid costly litigation that, no matter how it is decided, will end with the same result: new legislative districts for the House and Senate.”