Number of Lobbyists at North Dakota’s 2017 Session Was Down From Previous Years, but Not by Much

ND State Capitol (Korrie Wenzel/Grand Forks Herald)

You would assume that, given the dearth of funds North Dakota lawmakers had to spend this legislative session, the number of lobbyists on hand in Bismarck to help them decide how to spend it would be down as well.

And according to a report from Secretary of State Al Jaeger which landed in my inbox this morning, the number of lobbyists at the 2017 session was down. Just not by very much:

A few more lobbyists and organizations showed up after I reported these numbers at crossover, but not many. The overall trend lines are down.

In fact, there seems to be a larger trend which doesn’t seem to have much to do with the oil boom or the amount of money lawmakers have to spend. It seems we’re just seeing fewer lobbyists in general.

I think – and I made this argument earlier this year as well – that this is a product of technology. Thanks to technology, everything from email and texting and instant messaging to the availability of live video feeds from the legislative chambers, has lessened the need for lobbyists for some interests. And probably made the lobbyists themselves more efficient, able to take on more clients at once.

Interesting stuff for political nerds.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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