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Mississippi Board of Nursing paid contract lobbyist with $244,500 in taxpayer funds

PAID: State agencies are hiring contract lobbyists to represent their interests. Photo illustration by Steve Wilson

According to an examination of lobbying records by the Mississippi Independent, the Mississippi Board of Nursing has used $244,500 in taxpayer funds to pay a contract lobbyist.

The board — which regulates the state’s nurses and nurse practitioners — has paid Marvin Bobinger III to lobby for them for the past four years and has extended his contract through next year’s session.

In 2014-2015, the Board paid Bobinger $48,900 under a “government services/lobbying” contract. The contract was renewed in 2015, again in 2016, this year and through next year.

Bobinger also lobbied last session for Point One Strategies LLC, the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Mississippi Coroners Association, the Mississippi Chancery Clerks Association, the Mississippi Prosecutors Association, the Mississippi Association of Professional Surveyors and the Mississippi Sheriffs Association.

The Board of Nursing isn’t the only state agency or board to pay a contract lobbyist to petition the Legislature that approves their budgets.

The Board of Medical Licensure — which regulates doctors — paid the Mississippi State Medical Association $15,000 annually to lobby on their behalf in front of the Legislature in 2014 and 2015, according to a story on Jackson political blog Jackson Jambalaya. The board later hired the Clay Firm to lobby for them during this year’s session and that cost $42,000.

The Department of Revenue had a consulting contract with lobbyist Sidney Michael Albritton to provide “state government relation services” for $72,000 annually. For lobbying alone, Albritton charged taxpayers $25,000 in 2013, $35,000 in 2014, $35,000 in 2015 and $27,000 in 2016. The DOR later cancelled the contract in September 2016.

A bill that would’ve ended the practice was passed by the Mississippi Senate in last year’s session, but failed in the House.

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