Report: Lobbyists spent millions during 2013 legislative session

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Guns, gay marriage and workers' rights were big issues at the Capitol this spring, and all came with a pricetag.

Minnesota business and labor union organizations were among the heaviest spenders on lobbying during the first five months of 2013, which coincided with the Legislature's annual session, according to financial reports made public Tuesday.

The Associated Press reports that a trio of business groups combined to spend almost $2.1 million, largely to counter proposals in the Democratic-dominated Capitol. On the flip side, several organizations lobbying for labor union proposals reported five- or six-figure spending.

The AP notes the gay marriage battle was a little lopsided, with Minnesotans United for All Families spent about $1.6 million in a successful effort, which was far more than the $211,000 spent by opposition group Minnesota for Marriage.

And, the National Rifle Association spent roughly $100,000 in a session that produced only minor gun law changes. Gun control advocates devoted far less money to enacting more restrictions.

Among the notable reports, according to AP:

• Xcel Energy Services Inc., Minnesota's dominant power company, spent about $1.16 million. Almost all of that was spent on lobbying utilities regulators rather than trying to sway lawmakers.

• Mayo Clinic, which won a long-term state commitment to aid in a major expansion, deployed about $121,000.

• Education Minnesota, the state teachers union, spent more than $658,000 in the year's first five months. Much of it was devoted to promoting investment in education.

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