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PO Box 1070, Frankfort, KY 40602  Phone 502.875.2428, Fax 502.875.2845

2002 REGULAR SESSION: Bills We're Watching  Posted: January 16, 2002

Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.

Post Office Box 1070

Frankfort, Kentucky 40602

(502) 875-2428 phone (502) 875-2845 fax

e-mail FitzKRC@aol.com

January 15, 2002

2002 REGULAR SESSION: Bills We're Watching

This list profiles the significant environmental, conservation or consumer bills that are being tracked by the Council during the 2002 session, as well as some general government bills of interest. This is the first of many updates. It will be updated at least weekly, and will be supplemented with more detailed analysis on key bills.

DO YOU WANT OFF THE LIST? HERE'S HOW

If you do not wish to receive this list, please send an e-mail message to fitzKRC@aol.com and you will be removed immediately from the distribution list. Feel free to forward this to anyone you feel might be interested, and to utilize, reprint or quote from the bill analyses. We ask only that you attribute KRC as the source when you use our analytical material.

WANT TO READ THE BILLS OR CONTACT LEGISLATORS?

For a copy of any bill, or to check the status of the bill, which committee it has been assigned to for hearing, and other legislative information, visit the Legislature's Homepage at http://www.lrc.state.ky.us

The toll phone number to reach a legislator in person is 502-564-8100. The toll-free bill status line is 1-888-829-0021. The toll-free meeting information line is 1-800-633-9650.

The toll-free message line is 1-800-372-7181, to leave a message for a legislator or a committee.

THE BEST WAY TO REACH LEGISLATORS

Did you know that for a single fax to 502-564-6543, you can reach any legislators that you want to contact? You can send a letter, for example, to all Senators and Representatives by listing their individual names on a cover sheet and asking that each get a copy of your letter. The good folks at the LRC fax room will copy your fax and distribute it to all that you list (the recipients must be listed by name.) The LRC webpage has a list of all legislators and all committee members.

WEEK ONE: "IT'S LIKE DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN"

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Frankfort, the General Assembly is again in session. During week 1 of the session, a number of bills that were considered but not enacted during the 2001 session were re-filed. Additionally, some new bills pertaining to the environment have been filed.

Please note that the Council does not have recommendations on each bill. Some bills are tracked for general interest; others simply to assure that they do not become vehicles for industry-sponsored amendments. Recommendations are indicated with a plus (+) or minus (-).

SB 1 (Williams)(S. State Govt) (-)

Contains numerous changes to law relating to Executive Branch powers and regulation review. Requires legislative review prior to any Executive Order relating to all but listed minor matters to be reviewed by a legislative committee prior to becoming effective. Sunsets all administrative bodies created by Executive Order or by an executive branch official unless enacted into law.

Concerning administrative regulations, in response to the Franklin Circuit Court decision voiding the current legislative regulation review process in part, the bill proposes that if the reviewing legislative committee finds a regulation deficient, that regulation will take effect but is included in a joint resolution that will voted on by the General Assembly in the following session (and which can be amended to include or delete other regulations). If the finding of deficiency is ratified by the legislature adopting the resolution, the regulation sunsets and a similar regulation cannot be adopted for one year thereafter.

SB 1 also modifies the composition of several standing and permanent committees of the legislature.

SB 12 (Boswell) (S. A&R) (-)

For facilities and persons engaged in "qualified" research in biotechnology, this bill creates income tax credit for costs of biotechnology facilities of up to 5% of the cost of biotechnology facilities, 30% of the cost of employee training, 20% of the cost of qualified research, allowing an offset of the first 50,000 of income tax liability and 50% of the remaining liability, with a 9-year carry forward.

SB 13 (Jackson) (S. AgNR) (+, with clarifications)

The companion bill to HB 319, this bill requires state agencies to purchase Kentucky-grown fresh produce, fresh seafood, eggs, fish and meat products if available.

While a positive step, the bill should be amended to include local agencies and contractors using state funds as well as state agencies, and to define when perishables are "available" in order to assure that agencies make a reasonable effort to secure such products. Also, language directing the Department of Agriculture to maintain a web-based registry of available Kentucky perishable producers and products would help inform concerning "availability."

SB 19 (D. Adams) (S. State & Local Government) (-)

Extends from three to seven days the time for a public agency to respond to a request to inspect and copy public records.

SB 20 (D. Adams) (S. Economic Dev., Tourism & Labor) (-)

Extends from one to two years after a county is decertified as one eligible for incentives based on high unemployment, the ability of a project to gain incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

SB 21 (D. Adams) (S. AgNR) (-)

Creates a ten-year tax credit of up to 10% of start-up & capital costs for new companies mining or processing coal, and allows those companies to assess a 6% job assessment fee on employees. Employees would have an offsetting credit against state and local occupational taxes.

There exist many direct and indirect subsidies to the coal industry, each of which have fiscal impacts on the general fund or other funds affecting taxpayers, as well as economic impacts in the form of health, welfare and environmental quality. For example, recent sessions have seen new incentives for combustion of Kentucky coal. There also exist numerous indirect subsidies - actions which facilitate the industry at public expense, ranging from state police and highway department non-enforcement of state laws against overweight and speeding coal trucks; to lax regulation of mining performance bond replacement and coal waste impoundments.

The Council believes that a comprehensive review of direct and indirect costs and benefits associated with the production, processing, haulage and utility consumption of coal is justified prior to enacting new incentives.

SB 31 (Roeding) (S.State Govt)

Increases legislative oversight over executive branch expenditures under contracts, personal service contracts and memoranda of understanding.

SB 33 (Roeding) (S. State Govt) (-)

Similar to a bill by the same sponsor in the 2001 session, this bill seeks to curtail further the regulatory powers of the Executive Branch, preventing emergency regulations except where the threat to the public or environment is "imminent,"

The bill also modifies language in existing law so as to limit the ability of a state agency to adopt a regulation more stringent than a federal counterpart regulation, unlike existing law that requires only that the manner in which the regulation differs or is more stringent must be disclosed.

The bill also contains sections of KRS Chapter 13A that have been found unconstitutional by the Franklin Circuit Court, including KRS 13A.333, which purports to allow a committee of the General Assembly to find a regulation deficient and to cause the regulation to sunset.

There is one positive aspect to the bill in the clarification of when a comment period closes on a proposed regulation, but otherwise the bill is unconstitutional in part and contrary to the public interest in unduly hampering the executive branch from adopting regulations to address emergencies.

SB 34 (Harris) (recommitted to S. A&R) (+, with concerns)

Creates the "Kentucky-Clean" program, with a statewide Board to coordinate and administer a funding program for litter abatement and prevention. Funded by as-yet identified general fund appropriation and voluntary state tax check-off.

The bill improves on an earlier version by recognizing the important role of the local solid waste governing body and solid water coordinator in any local solid waste anti-litter efforts, and building on existing programs.

The bill suffers from a lack of a robust and durable source of funds needed both to pay for the staff person mandated for support within the Natural Resources Cabinet, and to fund the education, publicity and other initiatives identified in the bill and to support the functioning of the KY-CLEAN Board.

SB 37 (Mongiardo) (S.AgNR) (-)

The bill, apparently intended to assist the Enviropower/Kentucky Mountain Power coal-fired merchant plant proposed in eastern Kentucky, would allow industrial electricity customers to purchase electricity directly from a non-regulated electric utility unit, utilizing the transmission grid, where the customer was within 5 miles of the unit, and the unit was located in a high unemployment county. The local retail electricity supplier would retain an obligation to serve. The rates and terms of service between the non-regulated merchant plant and the industrial customer would not be controlled or regulated by the Public Service Commission.

An essential component of the "regulatory bargain" between regulated utilities and the public is the obligation to serve all customers in a geographic area, in return for a guaranteed reasonable rate of return on prudent investment. A key concern in any proposal to deregulate or decouple generation of power from regulation and the universal service obligation, is the concern that those less desirable classes of customers, whose maintenance costs are higher relative to usage, rural customers, those on fixed incomes, etc., would suffer in a deregulated marketplace as the utilities offered preferential contracts with large industrial customers.

Allowing selected industrial customers to engage in direct contracts with unregulated merchant units, while obligating the local retail supplier to manage the load and associated transmission costs and bear responsibility for replacement of the energy in the event of supplier default, begins a decoupling of the classes of customers by allowing "cherry-picking" of industrial customers by non-regulated merchant units in a manner that is inconsistent with the regulated framework and the public interest.

SB 40 (Kelly) (S. Eco. Dev.) (-)

Extends from one to two years after a county is decertified as one eligible for incentives based on high unemployment, the ability of a project to gain incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority. Same as SB 20 except that it includes one additional statutory citation beyond SB 20.

SB 61 (Sanders) (S. A&R)

Amends existing law to provide for guaranteed energy savings contracts in which payment is made from verified energy savings as a result of efficiency measures.

SB 72 (Westwood) (S. Eco. Dev., Tourism & Labor) (+)

Provides a tax credit for restoration expenses for residential structures in zones identified by the Kentucky Heritage Council as "restoration zones" located in older neighborhoods.

SR 8 (Williams)

2002 Senate Rules of Procedure

SCR 17 (Brett Guthrie) (S. Rules) (+)

Creates Kentucky Watershed Task Force to study the need for watershed management of Kentucky's waters. Report due November 30, 2002. The task force is a response to recent water conflicts with communities in adjoining states, which sparked an interest in a more systematic review of state policy. The study could be a vehicle for raising the legislative and public awareness of the importance of addressing water supply issues on a basinwide basis to complement watershed-based water quality efforts that are ongoing in the state.

HB 9 (Haydon) (H. Elections, Const. Affairs) (+)

Proposed Amendment to Kentucky Constitution to lower even-year legislative sessions from sixty to forty legislative days.

HB 12 (Lee) (H. Transp)

Allows any vehicle hauling building materials to a home to exceed weight and dimension limits of the road.

HB 15 (Cherry) (H. Eco. Dev.) (-)

Amends economic development statutes to redefine "manufacturing" to include limestone mining and processing. Currently all mining and mineral processing is exempted from "manufacturing."

HB 24 (Draud) (H. Tourism Dev. & Energy) (+ but amendments needed)

Creates obligation for merchant power plants to receive siting approval from Public Service Commission, to obtain certificate of environmental compatibility from Natural Resources Cabinet, and to obtain approval from local government of compatibility with local noise, zoning and planning requirements. Creates 2,000 foot setback from residential neighborhoods, cemeteries, landmarks, schools, hospitals and nursing homes for new plants, and requires noise controls and barriers.

For existing plants, if within the 2,000-foot setback area, additional noise, safety ad aesthetic improvements may be imposed and a certificate of environmental compatibility is required.

Commission approval is based on protection of public health and safety, meeting all setbacks, consistency with local zoning and planning, obtaining all permits, and demonstrating lack of adverse effect on system reliability.

Bill allows commission to use as a factor for approval of the merchant plants, the use of coal by the facility, and the bill expresses an intent to encourage use of coal as a principal fuel stock for electricity.

The Draud bill has many positive aspects, particularly in clarifying that merchant plants are subject to local zoning and planning and that siting requirements should be met by new and existing facilities.

The bill is not comprehensive enough in many areas, however, to assure

that the effects of merchant plants are fully evaluated and mitigated. A comprehensive siting bill must include provisions to assure scrutiny and mitigation of the facility impacts, assurance that the proposed operator experience and record of environmental performance is sufficient, and that the cumulative effects of the facility are evaluated. Such a proposal should:

* regulate the siting and operation of proposed merchant plants utilizing fossil fuels or solid waste fuels and all associated service and transmission facilities;

* apply to all electricity generation facilities not otherwise reviewed for environmental compatibility by the Public Service Commission or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (i.e. those electricity generating plants generating and selling wholesale power);

* involve review and concurrence by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, and with input from other state and federal resource agencies (i.e. Kentucky and U.S. fish and wildlife and park agencies, etc.) and the public;

* be weighted towards location of projects utilizing existing utility infrastructure rather than requiring new construction or upgrading of transmission capability;

* include adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard by the public concerning the proposed project and all potential health, safety and environmental concerns;

* assess the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of the proposed electricity generating facility and associated service and transmission facilities and structures, including:

- impacts on farmland and the production of food, fuel and fiber;

- attainment and maintenance of air quality standards;

- surface and groundwater quality and water supply, and protection of

the hydrologic balance;

- an evaluation of the public health, safety and environmental impacts of the proposal, including changes in property values, community perception, effects on the pattern and types of development of surrounding and nearby properties, effects on the cost and availability of public services and facilities, and the ability to host the proposed facility while still protecting fully the health, safety and welfare of the host community.

- The relationship of the proposal to local planning and existing development. Where the community has adopted zoning and planning, no certificate could be applied for absent final determination by the local community that the proposal was consistent with local land-use plans and applicable zoning. Where the community has not adopted planning and zoning, a local public hearing would be required to be held in addition to the hearing before the PSC for purposes of providing information and soliciting public comment would be required, and an ordinance evidencing local government support for the project would be required. The law would underscore that these facilities are not exempt utilities within the meaning of KRS Chapter 100.

- an evaluation of alternatives, including other locations, and other technologies and investments (including demand-side investments), that would satisfy the project purposes.

* require the applicant to address these criteria, and to demonstrate that it possesses the necessary allowances for oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, and for other criteria pollutants as might limit the emissions from the plant, in order to support operation of the facility at the rated capacity. Absent such a demonstration, the application shall not be accepted for processing.

* require the applicant to demonstrate, and the PSC to find, that the operation of the facility will not adversely affect the existing electricity transmission system or interfere with the capacity of regulated utilities to serve native load requirements.

* require the applicant to demonstrate the financial, technical and management capability to construct and operate the proposed facility.

* The use of general obligation or industrial revenue bonds to support financing of private merchant plants would be clearly precluded.

* Issuance of a certificate of compatibility would be contingent on a successful demonstration by the applicant and a finding by the Commission, with concurrence by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, that all identified adverse impacts of the proposed facility, (including environmental, economic, social and system impacts), will be fully offset and mitigated.

* The certificate of compatibility would provide that (as has been provided for permits under other regulatory programs in the state) if a continuous program of facility construction has not begun in earnest within six months after permit issuance, the certificate will lapse.

* No approval would be given to an applicant unless it demonstrated sufficient experience and appropriate regulatory record, and financial resources to properly construct and operate the facility.

HB 28 (L.Clark) (HNREnv) (+ but amendments needed)

This bill is very similar to the Administration's solid waste bill from last session. It includes a requirement for mandatory curbside collection by 2004, or to have an alternative system in place and to clean up all dumps in that county by that date. Counties failing to meet that requirement will lose up to 10% of road funds. Bill also provides mechanisms for assessing and collecting fees for solid waste disposal, and empower solid waste coordinators to enforce litter laws.

The Council supports the goal of mandatory collection but remains concerned that the opt-out provision for counties with effective alternative programs is not reasonable (no county ever cleans up all open dumps, particularly with no additional funds) and contains no funding mechanism to allow counties to capitalize the costs of implementing solid waste collection programs, a cost that the Cabinet had previously identified as being in millions of dollars.

HB 40 (Tapp) (Ag. & Small Bus., posted)

Mandates use of up to 5% biodiesel (fuel made from renewable fats and vegetable oils) fuel for all diesel fuel sold in state by 2007.

HB 43 (Tapp) (H. A&R)

Broadens provision allowing dealers to credit fuel taxes for fuels sold for agricultural purposes to include gasoline.

HB 46 (P. Clark, Marcotte) (H. Transp)

Exempts motor vehicles from state or local vehicle emissions testing programs for the first four model years of the vehicle.

HB 48 (Riggs) (H. Local Govt).(posted) (+ as House Committee Substitute)

Would amend exising law to eliminate County Debt Commission and would modify appeal procedures for county bonds under KRS Chapter 300.

Working with the Department for Local Government, KRC obtained revisions to the proposed bill, which will be introduced as House Committee Substitute on Thursday, that assure a fair hearing before bond issues affecting county finances are approved, and which remove archaic language that posed an impediment to appeals of bond issuance decisions.

HB 61 (Denham) (H. A&R)

Would exempt straw, wood shavings, and sawdust used in agricultural pursuits from sales and use taxes.

HB 63 (Damron and Belcher) (H. Transp.)(+)

Clarifies that the state, for state and federal highways, and county government, for county roads, may set lower speed and weight limits for roads and ban or limit trucks on certain days or hours where needed for public safety and convenience. Also provides that county government may, with state Transportation Cabinet concurrence, lower speed limit or weight limit on a state highway of 44,000 lbs. or less to a lower speed and as low as 36,000 pounds weight limit.

HB 64 (Damron) (H. Elections & Const.)

Proposes adoption of the Wildlife Violator Compact by which participating states agree to promote compliance with wildlife resources laws by adopting citation and license suspension procedures complementing other states and providing for reciprocal enforcement.

HB 75 (L. Belcher) (H.Tourism, Dev. & Energy)(-)

Exempts sewage services provided by a fiscal court from regulation by the Public Service Commission as a utility.

HB 88 (Burch) (H. State Govt. posted)

Provides additional specific authority to the Division of Emergency Management in conjunction with Department of Public Heath to assess statewide risks and preparedness to address biological and chemical agent terrorism; requires report to legislative committees.

HB 108 (Lee) (H. Health &Welfare)

Amends KRS Chapter 211 to outline the core mission of the Department for Public Health and to provide enabling authority.

HB 118 (Marcotte) (H. NREnv) (+, with revisions)

Requires that non-coal mining operations obtain a certification from the county that the use of county roads by trucks will not degrade the roads. If the county does not issue a certification, the mining interest can apply to the state Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet for approval by submitting a transportation impact plan demonstrating that the increased traffic will not pose a safety threat or degrade the ambient air on the roads from fugitive dust or spillage. The Cabinet shall approve or disapprove the plan and mining permit based on impacts on driver visibility, traffic congestion and driver and passenger safety and roadway integrity.

The bill makes express what the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet implicitly has currently - authority to deny non-coal mining permits for sand, gravel, limestone and other extraction operations, where the use of county roads for haulage and access is incompatible with the surrounding area and uses along roads typically not designed to safely accommodate such heavy industrial traffic.

HB 121 (Tom McKee) (H. A&R)

Provides a tax credit for meat processors for processing on behalf of charitable organizations.

HB 124 (Draud) (H. Local Govt)

Clarifies that a variance from zoning regulations under Chapter 100 includes "length" of structures as well as height, width and location of structures.

HB 125 (Stein and Marzian) (H. Judiciary)(+)

Amends various laws to include, among civil rights protected under state law, protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

HB 137 (Gooch) (-)(H. Elections & Const.)

Proposes an amendment to the Kentucky constitution to exempt unmined minerals, including oil, gas and coal, from property taxation.

HB 151 (Brandon Smith) (H. A&R)

Would exempt from state sales and use taxes 50% of the gross receipts of sales of manufactured or mobile homes.

HB 166 (Comer) (H. Eco. Dev.)

Requires Cabinet for Economic Development to prioritize efforts towards counties with 15% or higher unemployment.

HB 172 (Vincent) (H. State Govt., posted)

Prohibits disclosure of public records for any commercial purpose, eliminating existing provision allowing agency to release such records for commercial purposes for a fee.

HB 173 (Hoffman) (H. HREnv) (+, but with amendments)

Imposes a 5$ per ton fee on waste disposed at contained landfills, to fund assistance to local governments to remediate and close old landfills. Cabinet will assess and rank the old landfills and prioritize by risk. Local governments would be eligible for the funds on a 4:1 matching basis. 50 cents of each 5$ would be rebated to the host county. 10% of the deposits would be transferred to the hazardous waste management fund each year if needed to remediate top 3 orphan non-governmental landfills.

The former landfills are the sole responsibility, under law, of that local government, and a 4:1 contribution from all solid waste generators in and out of state through a 5$ fee provides substantial subsidy to those communities. The Council supports funded assistance to local governments to close former solid waste landfills owned or operated by local governments, but believes that any financial assistance should be in the form of loan assistance, as provided in HB 174, and should be coupled with a commitment by that community to adopt a mandatory solid waste collection ordinance (whether curbside or otherwise) and to full implementation of that community's solid waste plan obligations. Additionally, the existing exemption in state law that allowed these government landfills to operate without a closure bond should be eliminated, since had such a bond requirement been in place those communities would have better planned for the fiscal obligation of closure.

The Council supports a solid waste impact fee, provided that it is assessed at the first point of transfer in state, in order to capture waste managed in the state even where disposed of elsewhere, the hazardous waste assessment fund, imposing a fee on hazardous waste generated in the state and intended to provide a state "superfund", must be fully reauthorized in addition to any funds generated by the solid waste impact fee.

Finally, the Council supports use of part of any tipping fee to fund the initiatives outlined in HB 174.

HB 174 (Stumbo) (H. A&R)(+)

Imposes an environmental impact fee of ½ of 1 cent on disposable cups and fast food packaging, and a $1 per ton tipping fee on municipal solid waste disposed at landfills, to fund the Kentucky Pride Fund," a portion of which would fund debt service on a loan program to local communities to close former landfills, a grant program to local government to clean up illegal dumps, and funding of the environmental education master plan.

To be eligible, counties must hire a solid waste coordinator, and implement and enforce their solid waste and anti-litter laws.

Under the bill the state may petition to assume responsibility for local solid waste programs if the community fails to achieve and maintain 85% participation in proper disposal of wastes by mid-2007.

Additionally, authority to collect delinquent waste fees with property taxes is provided.

The Council strongly supports the bill, but believes that one key change is needed to clarify the responsibility of each county concerning waste collection. The Council believes that the flexibility provided by allowing communities to utilize approaches other than county-wide curbside collection is necessary due to funding constraints and demographic limitations in some counties. Setting a target goal of 100% participation with an action trigger of 85% is not unreasonable, given the lack of full compliance even in counties having mandatory collection ordinances. However, requiring the state to assume responsibility for managing solid waste collection programs for defaulting counties is not an appropriate solution - instead, after a sufficient lead time and financial support, the county failing to achieve and maintain an appropriate level of demonstrated participation by residents should be held in default and penalized; not rewarded by having the state assume their responsibility.

HB 176 (Meeks)(H. State Govt.) (+)

Establishes a Native American Heritage Commission to promote awareness of Native American influences in Kentucky, in conjunction with the Education Arts and Humanities Cabinet.

HB 185 (Cherry) (H. A&R)

Exempts beekeeping equipment and supplies from sales and use taxes.

HB 186 (Cherry) (H. Transp)

Makes revisions to speed limits on interstate, state and county roads, establishing default limits subject to being lowered where the Department of Highways determines necessary. For Interstates and 4-lane controlled access divided state roads the limits are set at 65 mph; limits also set for state and county roads.

HB 192 (G. Graham) (H State Govt) (+)

For any state-sponsored capital projects of over 6$ million dollars, this bill would require public notice and a public hearing on the scope and potential location of the project, written consideration of all comments received, and a report to the legislative oversight committee concerning the hearing, comments and responses.

HB 214 (Riggs) (H. State Govt)

Companion bill to SB 61, amending existing law to provide for guaranteed energy savings contracts in which payment is made from verified energy savings as a result of efficiency measures.

HB 220 (Belcher) (H. Transp)

Addresses the hauling of building materials to a home, requiring a special permit rather than granting an exemption from permitting for such haulage as proposed in HB 12.

HB 225 (Wayne) (H. State Govt) (+)

Amends executive branch code of ethics to broaden applicability to include more Boards and Commissions and persons holding management positions by personal service contract, and to limit ability of members of such commissions to do business with those agencies, and to increase disclosure of interests.

HB 227(Wayne) (H. State Govt) (+)

Amends executive branch code of ethics to broaden applicability to include more Boards and Commissions and persons holding management positions by personal service contract, and to make other strengthening amendments.

HB 243 (Gooch and others) (To House Calendar) (-)

Amends current law assessing unmined minerals as a distinct interest in property for property tax purposes, by eliminating the assessment if the land is classified as agricultural or horticultural and the minerals and surface are owned by the same taxpayer. Appears broad enough to allow a mineral holding or mining company to avoid mineral taxation on lands held for future mineral production for all years up to the date of mining or mineral production provided that the lands are used for agricultural, timber or horticultural purposes in the meantime.

HB 244 (Wilkey) (H. A&R) (+)

Removes the sunset clause on the state hazardous waste assessment fund.

HB 248 (Branham and K. Hall) (H. Tourism, Eco. Dev. & Energy)

Requires the Public Service Commission to prohibit utilities, and Department of Insurance to prohibit insurers from issuing bills where due date is on a national holiday.

HB 250 (Geveden and Crenshaw) (H. State Govt., posted)

Confirms Executive Order 2001-1215 establishing Office of Financial Management in Natural Resources Cabinet.

HB 256 (John Adams and others) (H. Judiciary)

Cedes to the US TVA special agents and law enforcement officers concurrent criminal jurisdiction over all lands owned by TVA.

HB 257 (Riner and Richards) (H. Trans)

Requires fingerprinting and background check on applicants for hazardous material endorsements on commercial driver's licenses.

HB 275 (Gooch) (HNEnv) (-)

This bill proposes to alter the Cabinet's adopted allocation of 95% of the allowable NOx credits to existing sources, with 5% to new sources, by mandating that 8% of the credits needed for electricity generating units be allocated to the new merchant plants in 2004, with 5% to new units after that date and 10% going to order to an "efficient energy reserve pool" that can be accessed by units burning at least 25% coal, garbage, waste tires, or any combination, and using clean coal or other "state of the art" technologies.

The NOx credits are allowances that will be allocated by the Cabinet to electrical generating units emitting NOx, and which those facilities must hold in order to lawfully emit NOx after the control period begins. Recognizing that the ratepayers have paid already for these credits, and that all but one generating unit in the state will be installing NOX controls at ratepayer expense, the Cabinet allocated the bulk of the credits to existing units. For each credit not allocated to a regulated utility generating unit, that utility will have to purchase the credit in the marketplace, paying market price, because the utility has an obligation to serve the customer. The result is that the ratepayers will bear higher costs.

The allocation of NOx credits to new sources facilitates the operation of those sources in the state. Unfortunately, those "cleaner" sources of electricity are not offsetting the existing plants, but are in addition to those plants, since they are merchant plants whose output is not intended not needed by Kentucky ratepayers.

The Council supports meaningful and continuous reductions in utility emissions, and does not support subsidization of the merchant plant industry by allocating NOx credits from regulated utilities to the merchant plants. After the fourth year, those plants will become part of the "existing" unit base and will share in the allocation, causing additional reductions from all participating units. For the first three years, those merchant units and their customers should bear the cost of acquiring NOx allowances in the marketplace.

HB 286 (P. Clark) (H. State Govt)

Mandates establishment of a real property and facilities management database of all state facilities and property.

HB 294 (Geveden and others) (H. A&R)

Would exempt from sales and use tax the gross receipts from the sale of uranium purchased for storage, use or consumption outside of the state.

Any taxation exemption reflects a decision to create an incentive for the sale of a product by lowering the sale price. In a state where the general fund is supported by income and sales taxes, it is a legitimate question as to whether such an exemption is needed or will affect the market for and marketability of the product, and whether the corresponding benefit to the public offsets the exemption. As with any of the numerous bills introduced this session seeking sales tax exemptions for one or another industry or commercial venture, it is appropriate to demand rigorous scrutiny of the public costs and benefits, including environmental costs and benefits, associated with the proposed exemption.

HB 311(Upchurch and others) (H. State Govt)

Requires agencies to immediately provide a copy of all contracts and agreements involving public funds to any member of the legislature without the necessity of an open records request.

HB 314 (Hoffman and others) (H. Local Govt)

Establishes a process for cities and counties to negotiate a tax base coordination agreement to resolve conflicts concerning allocation of revenues from occupational license and insurance premium taxes.

HB 317 (Kerr) (H. Local Govt) (-)

Exempts farm trucks used on public highways from Vehicle Emissions Testing programs. There is no rational air quality-related basis for differentiating trucks under 18,000 pounds used for agriculture from other commercial enterprises. This bill continues a trend of carving special exemptions for classes of vehicles in a manner entirely unrelated to emissions potential.

HB 319 (A. Arnold and others) (H. State Govt) (+, needs clarification)

Requires state agencies to purchase Kentucky-grown fresh produce, fresh seafood, eggs, fish and meat products if available.

While a positive step, the bill should be amended to include local agencies and contractors using state funds as well as state agencies, and to define when perishables are "available."

HB 323 (Stumbo) (H. Elections, Const Amend) (+)

Would amend Kentucky Constitution to provide for a referendum on whether to require a statewide container deposit program.

HR 10 (Vincent) (H. Ag Sm. Bus, Posted)

Creation of a Kentucky Farming Museum Task Force

HR 11 (Haydon and R. Nelson)

Resolution making May 1 a day to honor Kentucky coal miners.

HCR 12 (Haydon and R. Nelson)

Resolution in support of request to Postmaster General to consider commemorative stamp for America's coal miners.

HCR 13 (R. Nelson) (+) (To House Calendar)

Resolution to study cumulative effect of state and federal tax policies on Kentucky's forest productivity.

HCR 18 (Meeks) (+)

Resolution creating Task Force on Native American Indian Tribes in the Commonwealth, to study implications of state recognition of tribes.

HJR 20 (Richards)

Joint resolution reauthorizing the aquaculture task force.

HJR 24 (Moberly)(+)

Creates a subcommittee on ethanol production within the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources to study ethanol production as a fuel.

HR 28 (Riner)

Amends 2002 House Rules of Procedure to require that all committee meetings of the House be open to the public, including all party caucuses, free conference committees, Rules, Committee on Committee and other committees.

HR 31 (Webb and others)

Resolution urging coal mining industry to implement aggressive recruiting strategies to employ Kentucky miners before recruiting overseas workers.

HR 32 (Riner and Richards)

Resolution urging the U.S. Army to proceed with the destruction of the chemical weapons at the Bluegrass Army Depot without undue delay.

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