The Massachusetts legislature wrapped up its 2005–’06 session without taking action on auto-insurance reform — which is good news for the Massachusetts economy, because the lobbyists will be back spending more money on the issue next session.
Lobbyists were good to Bay Staters this year. Auto-insurance-industry lobbyists have already spent more than $4 million on the issue since the start of this year, according to state records, with six of the state’s 10 biggest spenders lobbying primarily on that one issue (most for reform, some against). The state’s nurses union was another top-10 spender on the lobbying list, getting a staffing-level bill through the House — but so was the association of state hospitals, which defeated the bill in the state Senate.
Rounding out the top 10 in the first half of ’06 were MassEquality, which was fighting to defeat an amendment banning gay marriage, and the always high-spending Massachusetts Teachers Association.
Last year’s lobbying was dominated by groups seeking to influence the health-care reform legislation that ultimately passed this March. (See “Your Health is in Their Hands,” News and Features, March 16.) Those groups considerably decreased their spending this year — although they collectively still spent well over a million dollars.
For the 2005–’06 session as a whole, the health-care and auto-insurance bills put a new set of names atop the list of highest-spending lobbyists, as shown below. Many traditional lobbying powerhouses — Verizon, NSTAR, Massachusetts Municipal Association, and the pharmaceutical and tobacco companies — didn’t even make the top 20. But don’t worry; they’ll be back when they need something else.
: This Just In
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