CPI study: There are six lobbying entities to every Alabama lawmaker

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A recent study by The Center for Public Integrity  (CPI) has detailed the reach that national lobbying groups enjoy across the country. According to the study, 20 lobbying entities have access to all 50 states, including Aflac, the National Rifle Association (NRA), Pfizer, Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch.

While all of these agencies and more are licensed to lobby in all 50 states, and a laundry list of others are allowed to lobby in fewer, the biggest lobbying presence in Alabama comes from the Alabama Education Association, Southern Company, AT&T, the Business Council of Alabama and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama.

A lot of work has obviously been done on the part of these lobbying groups, as Alabama lawmakers have made great strides in expanding technology, providing tax breaks to small businesses and providing robust increases to the state’s education budget.

But other entities are seemingly at work influencing other Alabama legislation as well.

Among the bills on this week’s Senate calendar is SB296 from Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence), which would allow epinephrine auto-injectors to be administered by “non-medical persons” at “summer camps, day care centers, restaurants, places of employment, and other entities.”

The CPI study lists Mylan, Inc. among the entities which has significantly expanded operations over recent years. Mylan lobbies for EpiPens to be available in schools and restaurants and has expanded its lobbying efforts into 36 states since 2010 – one of which is Alabama.

Another group which has expanded its lobbying efforts across the country is Uber Technologies, Inc., which has expanded into 35 states since 2010 and has recently seen its operations approved in Huntsville, Birmingham and Montgomery.

Other groups include Excellence in Education National, which pushes for the establishment of charter schools and expanded technology access for students, and Xerox Corporation, which has pushed its state government services like speed cameras and state health insurance exchange software.

Still other entities have decreased their presence across the country but remain active in Alabama. Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC has reduced its reach by four states due to a decision to allow competitors to make generic versions of its opioid-addiction drug Suboxone.

SB280 from Sen. Priscilla Dunn (D-Bessemer), which also appears on this week’s calendar, would allow drug prescribers to indicate that a “generic equivalent drug” should not be used for participants in the Public Education Employees Health Insurance Program (PEEHIP). Currently, PEEHIP enrollees must receive a generic drug when available, assumedly for cost-saving purposes.

While it is unclear that lobbying efforts have had any impact on the aforementioned legislation, the CPI study notes that there are six lobbying entities to every Alabama lawmaker.

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