Interests Lobbying the Texas Legislature
  In Session (2009) Out of Session (2008)
Number of Interests Represented 2,866 2,295
Number of Registered Lobbyists 1,690 1,463
Lobbyists per Legislator 9 8
Total Lobbyist Contract Compensation $255 million $207 million
Total Lobbyist Contract Compensation per Legislator $1,411,876 $1,144,889
long description of table

The Texas Legislature appears to be a part-time law making body. It meets in regular session every other year for only 140 days. Its members' salaries are fixed at a part-timer's rate of $7,200, plus daily expenses when in session. Yet today interests and the lobbyists that represent them continue their efforts to influence the Legislature year-round, whether the Legislature is in session or not. Indeed, as the table shows, lobbyist activity in 2008, an off-year for the Legislature, closely resembles activity during 2009 when the Legislature was in regular session. In both years politically active interests made substantial investments in lobbying efforts, spending on a per-legislator basis about $1 million each year.

Spending on lobbyists is only a portion of the total spent to influence the Legislature. Interests contribute large sums to legislative election campaigns, many reported to the Texas Ethics Commission but stored in a separate database. Moreover these numbers are based on ‘lobby contracts" rather than the total spend on lobbying. Contract lobbyists are generally lobbyists for hire, employed by interest groups and businesses to advocate for or against a particular position or piece of legislation. Those same interests may also have a number of persons who work full-time for their employers as lobbyists and are considered in-house lobbyists. Those in-house lobbyists are not represented by the chart above.

Other spending on electoral politics and on lobbying activity goes unreported because the law does not require it. Beyond the financial influence lobbyists wield with legislators, lobbyists themselves often become interested and vital additions to legislators' limited staff resources. For example, lobbyists often write the original drafts of bills to be introduced in the legislature, a time-consuming endeavor requiring in-depth knowledge of the relevant issues. Not surprisingly the legislative process often seems to favor those interests that pay to play.

Source: Texas Ethics Commission. (full source)