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Smoking ban among lobbyists' priorities

Associated Press

FRANKFORT - A public smoking ban that failed to pass was among the top priorities of Kentucky's highest paid lobbyists this year.

Overall, lobbyist spending declined slightly to $8.7 million - down from the record $8.8 million in 2012. Most of that money was for lobbyist salaries.

"It's close to 90 percent of the expenditures or better is for salaries rather than for lavish parties or something like that," Tony Wilhoit, executive director of the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission, said Tuesday.

The smoking ban that would have prohibited lighting up in businesses, places of employment and some other public places never made it to a vote on the House floor and a similar bill failed in the Senate. No breakdown was available for how much of the total spending was on lobbying for and against the smoking ban. Lobbyists are required to report only on total spending.

Wilhoit said he expects lobbyist spending to increase in 2015 because of a new law that requires employers to report any money spent on advertising regarding legislation.

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