Led by oil, communication and medical industry groups, special interests spent a record $202.5 million to lobby the Legislature and state agencies in 1995 and the first half of 1996, officials said this week.
In the corresponding 18-month period in 1993-94, lobbyists spent $190.1 million, Secretary of State Bill Jones said. The total was $176.6 million for 1991 and the first half of 1992.
Lobbying expenditures also set a record during the second quarter of 1996, when they totaled $36.2 million, Jones said Wednesday.
The Western States Petroleum Assn. was the biggest lobbying spender in the 18 months covered by Jones’ report, spending nearly $2.8 million.
Other major lobbying firms or organizations included Pacific Telesis Group, $2.1 million; California Healthcare Assn., $2 million; California Medical Assn., $1.9 million; and Chevron Corp., $1.8 million.
As a group, local government agencies spent the most to lobby the state, with a total of $27 million, followed by the health industry with $23.6 million and finance and insurance companies with $22.5 million.
Former state Sen. Dennis Carpenter’s company, Carpenter, Snodgrass & Associates, was the top lobbying firm in Sacramento, receiving nearly $3.9 million from its clients.
Jones said the increase in lobbying spending, which includes gifts, salaries and wining and dining, was good reason to pass legislation enabling the public and news media to inspect lobbying spending reports via computer.