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First-quarter lobbying reports show $3.8 million in payments

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Organizations spent $3.8 million lobbying the Vermont Legislature from January through March, according to reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.

That includes $3.1 million in lobbyist compensation, $718,829 in lobbying expenditures and $18,476 in gifts.

Four top Montpelier lobbying firms received $1.15 million, or 37 percent of all lobbyist compensation during that period: KSE Partners, $340,757; Necrason Group, $318,818; MMR, $275,705; and Downs Rachlin Martin, $218,205.

The American Beverage Association spent more on lobbying than any other organization: more than $500,000 since January to block a tax on sweetened beverages. That includes $16,000 on three lobbyists and $513,137 on advertising, telemarketing and other expenditures.

Alliance for a Healthier Vermont, a nonprofit coalition that supports the beverage tax, spent $24,310 on lobbying.

Two groups spent $129,346 to lobby for tighter gun laws. Those efforts aided the passage of S.141.

Everytown for Gun Safety, backed by billionaire gun control advocate Michael Bloomberg, spent $77,567, mostly on advertising. Gun Sense Vermont, a Brattleboro-based gun control group, spent $51,779, mostly on a team of lobbyists from the Necrason group. The lobbying firm received $32,200, Gun Sense Vermont director Ann Braden received $9,231 and the group spent $10,348 on advertising and other lobbying expenses.

The Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, the local affiliate of the National Rifle Association, spent $15,000 on lobbyist Tim Meehan, and the NRA reported spending $12,071 on its in-house lobbyist, Derin Goens.

The Vermont Dental Society spent $108,950 to oppose legislation to allow licensure of mid-level dental providers. That includes $30,950 in lobbyist compensation and $78,000 on advertising and other lobbying expenses.

Voices for Vermont Children — which leads the Vermont Oral Health for All coalition, and supports the new provider class — spent $11,940 to pay its in-house lobbying team on the dental bill and other legislative initiatives.

The Vermont Public Interest Research Group spent $95,070 on its team of lobbyists, and $32,010 on telemarketing and other expenses.

The Vermont Association of Hospitals and Hospital Systems spent $101,376 on in-house and external lobbyists.

The Vermont chapter of the National Education Association spent $31,767 on lobbying.

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