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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ethics Reporter: Celebrating 20 years of one of most comprehensive ethics laws in nation

Special to KyForward

This year, Kentucky is celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the enactment of the Code of Legislative Ethics, one of the most comprehensive legislative ethics laws in the nation.

One aspect of the law requires reporting of spending by lobbyists and their employers, and since 1993, they have reported spending $217,365,343 on lobbying the General Assembly. Of that total, $189,681,615, or 87 percent, has been paid by employers as compensation to lobbyists.

In 1994, the first full year of reporting, $6.5 million was spent on lobbying. Over the next 19 years, annual spending almost tripled, hitting $17.8 million in 2012, the most recent year with a 60-day legislative session.

Lobbying spending in 2013 is on pace to exceed $16 million, which would be the highest ever recorded for an odd-numbered year, in which the regular legislative session lasts 30 days.

Special election financial reports

On December 10th, there will be two special elections to fill vacancies in the Kentucky General Assembly. The vacant seats are in the 13th Senate District and the 7th House District, and all five candidates have filed financial disclosure statements which are available on the Legislative Ethics Commission’s website: http://klec.ky.gov/reports/legislators.htm

New lobbying groups

Four organizations recently registered to lobby in Kentucky. They are: Brennan Center for Justice, which is lobbying on legislation concerning voting rights for people with criminal convictions; Kentucky Association of Pastoral Counselors, which is lobbying to change certification of counselors to licensing; Lloyd’s America, which is lobbying “to allow authorized and eligible surplus lines insurers to recognize that certain insurers may have dual status as both an authorized insurer and as an eligible surplus lines insurer”; and Ohio Mills, a Cleveland-based textile recycling business which is lobbying on issues related to charitable organizations and collection bins.

Ethics Reporter is a publication of the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission. It is reprinted with permission.