This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
As the 2016 legislative session grinds on, lawmakers aren't the only ones camping out at the Capitol for the 45-day stretch.
Some 441 lobbyists are registered with the state more than four for every one of the 104 elected legislators.
"We're an integral part of democracy," said Frank Pignanelli, a founding partner in the firm Foxley & Pignanelli. "Elections are obviously the first and foremost key element, but for individuals and companies and organizations to have their interests represented in the law and policymaking process is absolutely imperative."
While a number of the registered lobbyists never make an appearance on Capitol Hill, some of the prominent professional persuaders represent as many as 50 client organizations.
Four of the five team members of Foxley & Pignanelli landed in the top-10 list of lobbyists representing the most organizations this year.
Pignanelli, who was registered to represent 47 organizations, said working for such a variety of clients increases the firm's breadth.
RRJ Consulting is another prominent firm in Utah, with its lobbyists holding the top 3 and No. 9 spots on the list.
RRJ's Rob Jolley, registered to represent 51 organizations, said taking care of that many clients isn't as overwhelming as it sounds.
Fellow RRJ lobbyist Jodi Hart, who represents 50 clients, said that although each lobbyist is signed up to represent a large number of clients, most of the time one lobbyist in their group takes the lead in representing each entity, and the others offer backup.
It's important to approach each client's issues with an equal amount of concern, Hart and Jolley said, even if it doesn't seem like something important to the general public.
"Most of our clients we have on a long-term basis," Jolley said, "so, in any given session, they don't all have issues with the Legislature. ... But we still have to send them reports. I mean, they want to know what's going on."
Several organizations in the top-10 list for most registered lobbyists say that a number of listed lobbyists won't necessarily represent them this year.
Christine Finlinson, spokeswoman for the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, which started the session with the most registered lobbyists (13), said a number of them are either employees of hired consultants or have worked for the entity in the past but have neglected to remove the organization from their client list.
Finlinson said the water district is concerned with two main issues: property taxes and future preparedness.
The district depends on tax revenues for the payments on hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds used to build the massive water project bringing Colorado River Basin water to the populated Wasatch Front.
Also notable on the lobbyist list is the entity Finlinson & Finlinson with nine registered lobbyists. Finlinson said the group works with the water district and is connected with publicly owned sewage-treatment plants.
Sandy is the No. 2-ranked entity for most lobbyists, with 12 advocating for the state's sixth-largest city, carrying on a tradition started by Mayor Tom Dolan in recent years.
The No. 3 spot has a three-way tie between Intermountain Healthcare, the Utah Bankers Association and Zions Bank, each with 10 registered lobbyists.
"We just feel it's important to have a voice there," Intermountain spokesman Daron Cowley said, noting that just one of the lobbyists works full time for the company. "Health issues often come up during the legislative session, so it's important that doctors and other medical experts, people that work in the medical field as well as clinics and hospitals, are able to provide input into that process."
Rob Brough, executive vice president of marketing and communications at Zions Bank, said his organization is "very interested in what happens in the Legislature because of its impact on the community," but there are "no particular issues this year to increase our work with lobbyists."
"Utah is the fourth-largest banking state in the country," Howard Headlee, president of the Utah Bankers Association, said. "And that comes from a very long-term effort on our part."