Reporting from Sacramento -- Businesses, unions and other interests set a record last year for what they spent lobbying California's government: more than $285 million, according to disclosures required by the state this week.
Their expenditures were up 6% from the year before and just above the previous record of $281.7 million, in 2008.
The California Teachers Assn. spent the most last year, $6.5 million, as schools were battling potential funding cuts and lawmakers acted on bills involving charter schools and other education issues. The California State Council of Service Employees was the second-biggest spender, shelling out $4.9 million.
Next were the Western States Petroleum Assn., which spent $4.2 million, and the city of Vernon at $3.5 million. Kaiser Health Plan Inc., Chevron, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Hospital Assn., the California Manufacturers and Technology Assn. and AT&T rounded out the top 10.
Vernon, an industrial city that is home to many large corporations and has been embroiled in a financial scandal, used its money to successfully fight a move by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) last year to dissolve its government.
Another entity with a major lobbying victory last year was Anschutz Entertainment Group, which reported spending $608,000 and won a custom-tailored law that expedites any environmental court challenge against its proposed NFL stadium in Los Angeles.