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Senate leader Stivers wants ethics legislation to apply to executive branch lobbyists too

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Kentucky’s top Senate leader introduced legislation to require lobby executive branch agencies to have the same reporting requirements as legislative lobbyists.

During a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, talked about bribery convictions over the last two years, particularly involving Tim Longmeyer, the personnel secretary under former Gov. Steve Beshear, who is currently serving a sentence in federal prison.

Sen. Robert Stivers (Photo by Tom Latek/Kentucky Today)

Stivers said some of the people who were convicted avoided being known as lobbyists.  

“These people were staying under the cover of darkness by calling themselves ‘consultants,’ and not registering as lobbyists.”

In quoting testimony from one of the trials, Stivers said, “They wanted to make sure they didn’t register as lobbyists, ‘because it was too much paperwork.’”

Stivers explained the need for executive branch lobbyists having similar reporting requirements as those who deal with the legislative branch.

“They are the ones that are negotiating and signing multi-million, if not billion-dollar, contracts. So, if you can arrange to have certain language in a Request for Proposals, you can almost guarantee, or at least increase your chances, of your client getting the contract.”

Stivers’ bill would require those who lobby the executive branch agencies to register as lobbyists not consultants, disclose their fees from clients and ban contingent fees, based on a percentage of the contract award.

The legislation would also prohibit executive branch employees from leaving to work for a company to whom a contract was awarded.

The ethics bill is a top priority for Stivers in this year’s legislative session, which resumed Tuesday. The session is scheduled to end in late March. 

“If we do nothing else in this session, we make sure we clean that part of this Capitol,” Stivers said.

Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, spoke in support of the bill.  

“We have the greatest legislative ethics bill in the United States, here in Kentucky,” he said. “But the thing that we do not have is the required information for those dealing with the executive branch.”

The bill did not come up for a floor vote because it has not yet been heard in committee.

The legislation is Senate Bill 6.           

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