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Kentucky Resources Council, PO Box 1070, Frankfort, KY 40602 Phone [502] 875-2428

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

Update #3: 2003 REGULAR SESSION  Posted: February 17, 2003

Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.

Post Office Box 1070

Frankfort, Kentucky 40602

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

e-mail FitzKRC@aol.com

February 15, 2003

2003 REGULAR SESSION:

17 LEGISLATIVE DAYS UNTIL ADJOURNMENT: BUT WHO'S COUNTING?

698 BILLS AND 219 RESOLUTIONS WITH MORE TO COME

On February 4, the General Assembly began the second part of the 2003 Session, which will adjourn on March 25. With seventeen legislative days remaining, there are many of interest and concern to the conservation and environmental community whose fate will be decided in the upcoming weeks.

Please note that the Council does not have a position on each bill. Some bills are tracked for general interest; others simply to assure that they do not become vehicles for industry-sponsored amendments. KRC's position concerning bills is indicated with a plus (+) or minus (-). The sponsor and current status of the bill are also noted by Committee or chamber. Where committee substitutes and floor amendments have occurred, his will be noted as well. Where the bill is noted as being in "Rules" the reference is to the Rules Committee, which can refer a bill back to another committee or to the chamber floor for a vote.

Bills We're Watching

This list profiles the significant environmental, conservation, consumer and general government bills that are being tracked by the Council during the 2003 session. 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.

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO RECEIVE THESE ALERTS?

Send this to a friend, and tell them to write us at fitzKRC@aol.com if they want to receive these e-alerts.

WANT TO READ THE BILLS OR CONTACT LEGISLATORS?

For a copy of any bill, or to check the status of the bill, to track 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 1-877-215-0023. 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 TTY message line is 1-800-896-0305.

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.

WANT TO WATCH THE COMMITTEE MEETINGS?

Kentucky Educational Television, through its website at http://www.ket.org/legislature/2003_regular_session.htm, provides real-time coverage of certain committee meetings and the House and Senate sessions. Additionally, those committee meetings that are taped on a daily basis can be viewed in the KET archives.

For example, to see KRC's testimony in opposition to Senate Bill 71 in the Senate State and Local Government Committee, click "Current Session" and scroll down to "February 11 Senate State and Local Government Committee."

SB 1 (Williams)(defeated on Senate floor) (-)

SB1, which would have amended the Kentucky Constitution to allow the General Assembly to impose limits on the amount of punitive and noneconomic damages that a jury could award a person injured through medical malpractice, and would have empowered the General Assembly to mandate alternative dispute resolution for claims of medical malpractice, was defeated on the Senate Floor.

KRC opposed this amendment and opposes on principle any measure that would limit or eliminate, for any class of injuries and for the benefit of one class of persons, the right of any person to bring a civil action and to seek a jury trial for compensatory or punitive damages for injuries sustained.

SB 2 (Williams) (S. Rules)

Amends processes for submittal to and review by legislative of expenditure reduction plans where revenue estimates are reduced, and imposes conditions on use of budget reserve fund.

SB 6 (Roeding) (H. Transp)

Conforms frequency of vehicle emissions testing for state or official registration vehicles from yearly to the same frequency as privately-owned vehicles (on a 2-year cycle currently in northern Kentucky).

SB 11 (Seum) (H. Local Govt)

As originally drafted, KRC opposed SB 11 because it mandated that Jefferson County Air Pollution Control District Board terminate all proceedings commenced, and not commence new proceedings to enforce the provisions of the VET program or to seek sanctions, and that it dismiss with prejudice all unresolved court cases.

As modified by committee substitute, the bill simply provides for reinstatement of registrations that have been revoked for non-testing of vehicles, after October 2003 when the Jefferson County VET program is required by statute to end. Senator Seum agreed to place a floor amendment on the bill to require payment of a $22 reinstatement fee, to discourage violations of the vehicle testing requirement before October 2003. With those changes KRC has withdrawn objections to the bill.

SB 13 (Roeding) (S. A&R)

Creates a new category of "theme restaurant destination attraction" as a type of facility potentially eligible for tourism attraction project credits against state sales tax.

SB 14 (Jackson) (S. A&R)

Would direct appropriation of $10 million dollars during FY 03-04 off the top of the tobacco settlement agreement monies to the Purchase Area Regional Park Authority.

SB 40 (Williams, Worley, Kelly) (S. State & Local Govt)

Modifies legislative procedures to eliminate the requirement that an actuarial analysis accompany any bill changing the liability of any public retirement system or containing a mandated health benefit. This requirement is included instead in the Senate Rule 52. Also eliminates mandatory requirement for preparation of a fiscal note for all bills or resolutions relating to local government or local services, and for executive branch regulations and instead gives the LRC Director discretion to determine whether a bill or Executive Order is a state mandate to local government needing a fiscal note (New Senate Rule 52 requires one if the fiscal effect on local government is "significant[.]"

SB 44 (Seum / Tapp) (S. Floor)

Creates new Motorcycle Advisory Commission for Highway Safety to advise state Transportation Cabinet regarding "the specific needs of motorcyclists."

SB 47 (Tori) (To House as amended) (-)

Requires communities with zoning and planning to include within their comprehensive plan provisions to "accommodate" military installations of over 300 acres that are within, abut or are within 50 miles of that installation.

The bill does not define what constitutes a "provision for the accommodation" of those installations, but indicates that the goal is to "minimize conflicts between the installations and the planning unit's residential population" by engaging in consultation with the installation concerning expansion, air space usage, and environmental impact.

Federal military installations such as Fort Knox are on lands ceded by Kentucky to the United States and are not subject to local zoning and planning constraints. While consultation with military facilities in the revision of comprehensive land use plans is always appropriate, as it is for all governmental agencies and infrastructure providers, a bill requiring that the comprehensive plan be written to include a plan element to "accommodate" private land development based on installation potential expansion plans, or environmental impacts, appears to impose development constraints on private lands outside of the facility, rather than requiring that the military installation plan its development to protect the rights of those surrounding landowners. The bill is directed at the Fort Knox installation, which has planned the development of a tank training facility that has caused concern among nearby residential property owners.

SB 53 (Buford) (S. Rules)

Provides for two specialized 5-year license plates – one for "Ducks Unlimited," and another for spay-neuter advocates. The bill repeals the existing law providing for a special Ducks Unlimited license plate, and outlines the process by which the Transportation Cabinet will issue the specialized plates. Additional contributions to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife or to support spay and neuter education programs may be made when the specialized plates are purchased.

SB 64 (Harris) (S. Floor)

Amend existing law to exclude county-run sewer systems from Public Service Commission control.

SB 65 (Buford) (S. State Local Govt)

Amends several sections of Executive Branch Ethics Code.

SB 68 (Scorsone and others) (Senate State & Local Govt) (+)

Prohibits discrimination against state employees based on sexual orientation.

SB 70 (Roeding) (S. Rules)

Expands legislative oversight of university and college memoranda of agreement, and over personal service contracts of executive branch.

SB 71 (Roeding) (S. Rules) (-)

Amends existing law regarding administrative regulations. Eliminates "notice of intent" process for promulgating regulations, and prevents emergency regulations from being adopted where needed to protect human health and the environment unless there is an imminent danger.

KRC has opposed various versions of this bill in past sessions and continues to believe that restricting the Governor's emergency regulation power to imminent dangers is inappropriate and risks harm to the public and environment by requiring the executive branch to wait until harm is imminent before acting to protect the public health. The current standard allowing emergency regulations where necessary to "protect human health and the environment" is sufficient, and with annual sessions adequate legislative oversight exists without further restricting executive branch authority.

SB 80 (Buford) (S. State Local Govt)

Amends several sections of Executive Branch Ethics Code.

SB 94 (Roeding) (S. Rules)

Creates new crime of abuse of public trust, allows for forfeiture of assets and disqualification from public office.

SB 96 (Jones and Jackson) (S. A&R) (-)

Creates a local road repaving fund funded by a gasoline fee and offset by a reduction in the petroleum environmental assurance fee that is used to remediated underground storage tanks. Given the substantial loss of funding from the assurance fund due to diversion by the legislature and executive branch of the amounts collected to fund remediation of underground storage tank releases in order to address general budget shortfalls, the impact that lowering the amount of the environmental assurance fee may have on reimbursement for petroleum contamination remediation must be studied before any diversion of future income streams to that fund is approved.

SB 102 (Guthrie) (S. Ag. NR)

Amends existing law to allow electric cooperatives to furnish electric energy and services to nonmembers including governmental units.

SB 106 (Buford) (S.State Govt)

Provides for alternative project delivery method for procuring services for capital projects.

SB 135 (Kelly) (S. Ag. NR)(+ with amendments)

Bill proposes comprehensive statutory language addressing disposal of sewage. Requires all sources of sewage to be connected to an approved on-site sewage or sanitary sewer system. Where sanitary sewer systems are accessible, connection is required. Use of sinkholes, cesspools and straight pipes is prohibited, as is discharge of stormwater into sanitary sewer systems. Where a sanitary sewer system is available, an existing on-site system can be used for up to 10 years if properly functioning and approved.

KRC has some concern with two aspects of the bill - first that the language defining the accessibility of centralized sewer systems as "reasonable proximity" to a property may unduly limit the responsibility of a developer to extend a connection to such a system for a new subdivision. The availability of an existing central sewer system relative to a new development, for purposes of deciding whether to require that the new development connect to that system rather than using on-site systems, should depend on the scale of development and cost, rather than physical proximity to the existing sanitary system. Secondly, that where there is a properly functioning on-site system, the landowners should not be obligated to eliminate that system and tie to a central sewer system provided that compliance is periodically demonstrated.

SB 137 (Guthrie) (S. State & Local Govt)

This bill revises the existing law concerning challenges to county proposals to become obligated for bonds or notes. The bill is substantially the same as HB 48 from the 2002 session, and is in response to the most recent use of this statute by Warren County, whose request to become obligated to pay debt service on bonds and notes for the controversial "Transpark" was challenged by a Warren County taxpayer. The bill would eliminate the "County Debt Commission," and would subject all requests for approval of a county's proposed bond or note debt to a formal evidentiary hearing before a hearing officer and then to State Local Debt Officer. The bill clarifies that the hearing proceedings will be in accordance with Kentucky's administrative hearings law, KRS Chapter 13B.

Given the superficial manner in which the County Debt Commission reviewed the appeal of the Transpark bond issue, KRC sees no loss in eliminating that level of review and proceeding directly to Circuit Court from the State Local Debt Officer's decision.

SB 138 (Harris) (S. Rules)

This is a counterpart to a House bill seeking to allow the Public Service Commission to use other formats to record proceedings rather than stenographic transcripts, and allowing a party to request stenographic transcripts prior to the hearing.

SB 142 (Tori) (S. Ag. NR)

This bill would allow federal agencies to participate in water commissions and to jointly operate water systems with cities, water districts and water associations.

SB 146 (Harris) (S. Ag. NR)

Establishes standards for engineering practices for construction and maintenance of electric utility plants and facilities.

SB 147 (Harris) (+, but needs amendment)(S. Rules)

Revisions to electric power plant siting bill that would clarify board authority to hire consultants, to give the Board explicit authority to enforce its orders and to suspend or revoke authorizations for material noncompliance, to codify the Board regulation creating a requirement of filing a "Notice of Intent" before filing an actual application for siting approval, and clarifying Board power to consider petitions for rehearing of their orders and decisions.

One aspect of the law that this bill does not address, and which needs legislative attention, is the failure of the Board to require that transmission lines constructed to support merchant plants be included in siting applications. The intent of the siting bill was to require inclusion of those lines in any siting application, yet the Board failed to require that such lines be included in the Kentucky Mountain Power case, resulting in no advance review or approval of the siting impacts those lines by either the PSC or the Board.

SB 148 (Harris) (S. Ag. NR)

Requires power produced by electric facility generator to be first dedicated to retail sale customers within that suppliers' territory.

SB 150 (Worley) (S. Ag. NR)(+)

Extends Kentucky River Authority power to control the water supply future of the communities in the Kentucky River basin including requiring KWA approval of any certificates of convenience or other PSC approvals over water facility ownership, service and supply for any water utility providing service within the Kentucky River Basin, and requiring that water planning within the basin by local governments be consistent with KWA plans and regulations.

SB 159 (Harris) (S. State & Local Govt)(-)

This bill is the latest in a long line of so-called "takings" bills that require government to engage in takings implication assessments before it adopts any regulation that in any way "impedes the use of property" or which proposes conditions or requirements on the use of property.

The instances in which government regulatory action results in a "taking" of property are extremely rare, and a bill which would require takings assessments for a broad range of rules and regulations and permitting actions intended to protect public health and the environment, regardless of how trivially they affect the use of property, would have the effect, intended by some groups advocating these "takings assessment" laws, of slowing government's ability to effectively regulate in the public interest.

Similar bills have been rejected during previous sessions, and KRC will vigorously oppose this bill.

SB 162 (Worley and Jones) ((+)

Companion bill to HB 474, this bill addresses chemical agent disposal at Bluegrass Army Depot, making several positive changes in existing law, including: creation of an Office of Liaison within the host community funded by the permit applicant to coordinate community oversight of the destruction of chemical weapons; provision assuring that no chemical agent destruction will occur under a "research, development and demonstration" permit except for pilot scale operations to prove-out the technology; and assuring that the local community emergency response plans including necessary infrastructure improvements are in place prior to operation of the chemical agent destruction facility.

SB 163 (Palmer) (+)

Bill seeks to clarify that utility plants using municipal waste as a fuel, whether processed or not, must demonstrate compatibility with local solid waste plan concerning importation of waste into a county for disposal as a fuel. Identical to House Bill 473.

SB 164 (Leeper) (+)

Exempts controlled prescribed burns by state agencies on lands owned or managed by state agency from seasonal limits imposed on controlled burns.

SB 165 (Harris) (+)

Important bill for landowners in coal field regions, this bill will make public the mine maps on mined-out areas that are in the possession of the Revenue Cabinet and the final or abandoned mine maps submitted to the Department of Mines and Minerals. There is no logical basis for preventing public access to maps depicting mined-out areas. Access to these maps will assist communities in scrutinizing new mining and waste impoundment proposals, and assist landowners whose property has suffered damage to determine whether damage to land and water resources is related to past underground mining.

SB 170 (Jones and Williams)

Bill to name the Pine Mountain Trail Park, which was authorized by the 2002 session, the "Harold E. Rogers Pine Mountain Trail State Park.".

SR 1 (Kelly)

2003 Senate Rules of Procedure. Modifies when fiscal statements must be prepared by LRC staff.

SJR 22 (Seum) (-)

This Joint Resolution directs the Jefferson County Attorney to dismiss outstanding warrants against individuals who failed to test vehicles under the VET program. The enforcement mechanism has changed by linking continued vehicle registration to testing, and while dismissal of stale warrants may be appropriate, that is a matter for the discretion of the Jefferson County Attorney and the Jefferson County Air Pollution District, and it is inappropriate for the state legislature to direct the management of prosecutorial actions where they were properly brought under the then-existing law.

KRC has suggested to Senator Seum that, rather than creating a precedent of the General Assembly directing how criminal cases are managed or dismissed, the resolution "encourage" rather than direct dismissal.

SCR 71 (Roeding and others)

Directs a study of areas of growth to identify factors contributing to economic growth, impacts on and needs in the area of public infrastructure to support growth, and the relationship of growth to economic development projects.

HB 8 (Nunn) (H. Banking & Insurance, posted)

Authorizes state to act as insurer of last resort for medical malpractice insurance as it does not for workers compensation insurance; creates "medical review panel" that may be invoked by either party up to 20 days after the filing of a complaint, for rendering an "expert opinion" on the merits of malpractice civil complaints filed against physicians.

Statute doesn't clarify the relationship of this process to the court case, nor the effect if any given the expert opinion. The statutes does not indicate whether participation is mandatory but it appears to be since the court appears authorized to sanction or mandate non-participation. Statute doesn't indicate whether invocation of the medical review panel stays the court proceedings, not whether the decision of the review panel is independently subject to judicial review.

HB 14 (Stein/Marzian) (H. Judiciary) (+)

Amends state civil rights laws to prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing and employment.

HB 18 (Marcotte) (H. Floor)

House counterpart of SB 6, conforms frequency of vehicle emissions testing for state or official registration vehicles from yearly to the same frequency as privately-owned vehicles (on a 2-year cycle currently in northern Kentucky).

HB 27 (Stacy) (H. Rules with HCS) (+)

Proposed constitutional amendment on the budget would prevent adjournment of even-year sessions absent appropriations bills, allow legislators to remain in session indefinitely until appropriations bill(s) are passed, but removes any incentive for delay by preventing consideration of any other bill or resolution having the force of law after the 60th legislative day. House Committee Substitute provides for gubernatorial review and veto right and provides that no compensation will be paid to General Assembly members after 60th legislative day.

HB 28 (Callahan) (To Senate)

Limits inducements available from the state for tourism development to those projects where independent consultant finds that a net positive economic impact for the Commonwealth will result.

HB 35 (Baugh) (Recommitted to H. A&R)

Bill requires that a solid waste transfer station file with the Natural Resources Cabinet a registered-permit-by-rule, which becomes effective unless denied by Cabinet within 30 days. Requires a copy of the registration be given to local solid waste management governing body and a certification by applicant that he complies with all local ordinances. If during the 30-day period new ordinances are enacted or amended, the owner must notify the Cabinet and registration is suspended until the owner certifies compliance with the new or amended ordinances.

It is unclear how the Cabinet would "suspend" the registration where new or amended ordinances are adopted since the registration is not effective until after that 30-day review period. Presumably it is intended that the registration be stayed pending a demonstration of compliance.

The categories of "permit by rule" and "registered permit by rule" have been criticized as "drive-by permitting" since the level of advance scrutiny of environmental impacts is minimal. The categories were created in order to facilitate the transition of solid waste facilities to better management standards in the early 1990's, and should be revisited in order to require full permitting for activities that can appreciable impact public health or the environment, and to better control "beneficial reuse" of wastes.

HB 59 (Belcher)(H. Ag. & Sm. Business)

Creates a Pest Control Board within the Natural Resources Cabinet to develop a list of noxious weeds, and to raise awareness of the threat posed by noxious (non-native, invasive) weeds.

HB 66 (To Senate)

Allows joint city-county departments to manage park systems.

HB 77 (Burch and Feeley) (To Senate with committee substitute) (+)

Seeks to improve child health in schools through controls on sale of junk foods and soft drinks in vending machines. Establishes nutritional criteria for food and beverages in public schools, limits sale of soft drinks in elementary and middle schools until after school, and phases in daily physical activity requirements, all in an effort to combat the rising rates of childhood obesity.

HB 81 (Meeks) (H. Floor with committee substitute) (+)

Modifies state laws on cemeteries in order to require better recordkeeping, to require notation of the burial location within a cemetery on the death certificate, to inventory native American remains currently held by state-funded agencies and to identify state-owned property suitable for reinterment of those remains, to recognize a right of access by descendants and family members of deceased persons to graves located on private property; and to create a voluntary state income tax checkoff to fund the state's county cemetery fund.

HB 82 (Meeks) (H. Judiciary)

Requires issuance of a permit by the Kentucky Heritage Council for any excavation of an archaeological site on private property; provides penalties and forfeiture of objects excavated in violation of law. Also clarifies rights of access to burial sites on private lands, and requires an Office of Vital Statistics permit for possession of human remains (other than cremated remains) and for any exhumation.

Exempts archaeological investigations conducted under the Historic Preservation Act and the "treatment" of cemeteries and archaeological sites under state and federal mining laws.

HB 84 (Meeks) (H. State Govt)

Creates a Kentucky Native American Heritage Commission to advise state agencies concerning matters relating to Native American heritage.

HB 90 (Siler) (H. Tourism Dev. & Energy)

Requires establishment of standards for evaluating master agreements with and performance of concessionaires providing commercial activities and services at Kentucky state parks.

HB 98 (Wayne) (H. Judiciary, posted)

Provides for mandatory referral to mediation or arbitration for any cause of action for damages against a nonprofit corporation based on a right "granted under the Kentucky Revised Statutes" and encourages other civil actions against such corporations to be considered for alternative dispute resolution.

KRC is concerned with any measure that would eliminate or restrict a right of action for damages against a corporation (profit or non-profit) or individual by mandating arbitration or alternative dispute resolution.

HB 101 (Nelson)(H. State Govt)

Bill would expand hazardous duty retirement category to include environmentalist positions in local health departments.

HB 106 (Meeks) (H. Local Govt, posted)

Bill encourages and provides incentives for development of interlocal agreements among local governments for provision across county boundaries of police, fire, emergency and other essential community services, including raising reimbursement from Kentucky Pride Fund from 75% to 100% for illegal dumps clean by communities who are involved in interlocal agreements regarding solid waste management.

HB 108 (Palumbo) (H. Eco.Dev.)(-)

Bill requires each agency to develop a policy to allow reductions or waivers of civil penalties for businesses with up to 100 employees.

KRC believes that imposition of civil penalties should be based on factors related to the severity of the violation, harm or potential harm to the public or environment, violation history, and other case-specific factors. Waiving or reducing penalties for businesses merely because of the number of employees is rationally unrelated to the goals of the statutes whose violation gives rise to the penalties or to a determination of whether the individual corporate or business behavior warrants lesser penalties.

HB 120 (Bather) (H. Local Govt, posted)

Allows local governments to create by ordinance special districts called "river corridor improvement districts" for areas within a 2-mile proximity to a river. "River corridor advisory boards" are to be created for such districts, to advise local government on environmental issues, development and preservation of the area, housing, economic development and infrastructure within and adjacent to the corridor area. Within that corridor area, an ad valorem tax of 10 cents per $100 of real and personal property within the boundaries may be imposed, and spent on projects and improvements within the corridor as determined by local government.

HB 154 (Ballard) (To Senate)

Prohibits cities or counties from imposing restrictions on mobile phone use in motor vehicles.

HB 159 (Gooch) (H. NR Env., posted) (-)

Bill would create a "special" exemption from the definition of "special wastes" in order to mandate that the Natural Resources Cabinet treat utility waste from combustion of petcoke as a solid waste rather than a "special waste."

"Special wastes" include, under Kentucky law, fly and bottom ash from utility boilers and scrubber sludge from flue gas desulfurization equipment on electric power plants. The western Kentucky coal industry has been concerned with the increasing use of "petcoke", which is a waste by-product of petroleum refining, by Kentucky utilities since such use displaces coal.

KRC believes that the existing special waste regulations undermanage some utility wastes in some circumstances, particularly disposal of fly ash in ash ponds. A decision to require utility wastes to be managed as solid or hazardous wastes (and so disposed of in municipal or industrial landfills with appropriate liners, leachate collection, longer post-close care and bonding requirements) should be made based on categories that bear a reasonable relation to higher risks posed by that waste category.

Thus, KRC would support a requirement that certain categories of utility wastes such as fly ash be managed as solid wastes with higher standards for containment, groundwater monitoring, and post-closure care (since the literature demonstrates that the fly ash is where heavy metals sorb to the ash), but believes that absent information demonstrating that the toxicity or leaching potential of the wastes from petcoke combustion are inherently different or greater than other comparable utility wastes, that differentiating the categorization and management of the waste by fuel source is not logically related to environmental goals, and may instead appear to some to be an effort to increase the costs of use of the fuel relative to coal. Testimony in committee underscored that the goal of the bill is to discourage petcoke use in order to advantage western Kentucky coal.

HB 185 (Ford) (H. Rules)

Amends state law on highway signage to require Transportation Cabinet to allow specific highway service signs for bed and breakfast establishments.

HB 189 (Bather) (H. Transp) (-)

Creates a permit process by which the owner of a legally-erected highway billboard can apply to the local Highway District office for a permit to trim or prune trees and shrubs that obscure the "advertising device viewing zone," an area of 500 feet or more from the highway to the billboard. "Trim or prune" is defined not as one would commonly use the terms, but as "selective removal of vegetation" but cannot include clear cutting.

The bill requires that any trimming or pruning be conducted by a certified arborist, and that the vegetation "trimmed or pruned" be replaced with native vegetation on a 2-1 basis.

Historically KRC has disfavored the destruction of public trees and shrubs from highway rights-of-way in order to assist the billboard industry to deliver its "message" to the motoring public.

HB 213 (Ballard and others)(H. A&R)

Creates a tax credit for purchase and use of coal combustion waste aggregate used in manufacture of masonry construction projects.

HB 218 (Nesler and others) (H. A&R)

Would take $10 million over next biennium of tobacco settlement agreement money before distribution of those funds to match federal funds to develop the Purchase Area Regional Industrial Park.

HB 238 (Geveden) (H. Rules)

Creates process for consolidation of counties.

HB 239 (Riggs and others) (H. Rules with House Committee Sub)

Allows for special license plate for "Friends of the Zoo."

HB 269 (Stumbo and others) (H. Floor)

The House Committee Substitute (2) to House Bill 269 is the House proposal for the Executive Branch Budget.

There are several important issues concerning environmental protection in the House bill, the fate of which depends on the Senate and conference committee on the budget.

The House bill funds the Environmental Quality Commission at 255,700 for FY 03 and 253,700 for FY 04, well below the Governor's recommended 262,500 in FY 03 and 276,300 for FY 04.

While Senator Sanders has expressed support for continued funding for EQC, there are some Senators who view this as an opportunity to mollify the special interest lobbyists who would like to silence the EQC as a public forum, and to eliminate the important environmental trend monitoring and reporting that the EQC provides in its annual "State of The Environment" report. EQC deserves your support.

Additionally, the House bill retains important language allowing permit blocking of surface coal mining permit applicants based on existing violations by owners and controllers of the applicant. Despite an agreement during the 2002 session that the language would remain in the Executive Branch Budget during the current budget cycle and would be placed in legislation in the 2004 session, the coal industry is seeking to have the language removed from this budget.

HB 272 (Burch) (H. Rules)

Requires annual assessment of Commonwealth preparedness to respond to acts of terrorism and directs collaboration among various agencies.

HB 281 (Pasley and Butler) (H.Transp)

Creates Motorcycle Advisory Commission for Highway Safety as advisory body to Transportation Cabinet.

HB 285 (Gooch) (H. A&R)

Creates tax on electricity production by any units of over 25 Mw capacity, and includes a series of allocations to such funds as the general fund, local government assistance fund, workers compensation fund, and back to coal producing counties. Sunsets coal severance tax.

HB 286 (Gooch) (H. NREnv, posted)

Creates a "Coal Development Fund" to finance projects approved by Kentucky Coal Council relating to projects to promote coal technologies and facilities.

HB 294 (Moberly) (H. Floor)

Governor's Proposed Judicial Branch Budget.

HB 296 (Wayne, Marcotte) (To Senate)

Provides for alternative project delivery method for procuring services for capital projects.

HB 298 (Riner) (To Floor with committee sub) (+)

Requires all local governments to comply with laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on disability, and requires reasonable modifications to accommodate testing and interviewing needs of persons with disabilities.

HB 304 (Stumbo) (H. Rules)

Standardizes guidelines and process for issuance by county road officials of permits for county road and right-of-way encroachments.

HB 306 (Crenshaw) (H. Tourism Dev & Energy, posted)

Allows use of videotape rather than stenographic transcripts for Public Service Commission hearings.

HB 313 (Wayne) (H. State Govt)

Amendments to Executive Branch Ethics Code.

HB 316 (Nunn) (H. Elections & Const Am). (-)

House counterpart to Senate Bill1 calling for constitutional amendment to limit recovery of noneconomic and punitive damages in suits against health care providers.

HB 331 (Wayne)(H. State Govt)

Amendments to Executive Branch Ethics Code.

HB 335 (Pasley) (H. NREnv.)

Clarifies that "municipal solid waste disposal facility" for purposes of state permitting and consistency with local solid waste plans, includes any facility disposing of refuse-derived fuel or processed waste for production of electricity.

HB 343 (Riner and Stumbo) (H. Ag&SB, posted)

Increases penalties and allows for forfeiture of equipment for trespassing while engaged in fish or wildlife activities.

HB 345 (Stein) (H. Transp.) (+)

Requires person be 16 or older to drive all-terrain vehicle, prohibits passengers on ATVs, restricts highway use to those licensed and insured, requires taking of safe rider course by all owners.

HB 348 (Thomas) (H. Ag., posted)

Prohibits use of guns for euthanasia in animal shelters.

HB 357 (Lee and Weaver) (H. Rules w/HCS)

House counterpart to Senate Bill 142 regarding federal agency participation in water commissions. (see above).

HB 375 (Brinkman and others) (H. Transp)(+)

Requires Transportation Cabinet to erect noise barriers where requested by a local unit of government, for transportation projects involving construction or reconstruction of highways.

HB 377 (Callahan & Fischer) (H. Local Govt, posted)

Modifies existing law on code enforcement boards to provide for service by posting and by mail where alleged offender cannot be personally served a citation regarding violations of local ordinances.

HB 382 (Napier) (H.Tourism, Dev. & Energy) (+)

Bill establishes standards and procedures through which Kentucky can join the 34 other states that have net metering programs by which eligible customers producing excess electricity can receive credit at the same rate for excess power transmitted to the retail electric supplier. Net metering provides a mechanism for encouraging the use of small-scale renewable energy systems.

HB 396 (Fischer) (H.Judiciary)

Under the guise of promoting "uniform application of a single body of civil rights law" this bill seeks to prohibit local governments from enacting or continuing ordinances in the area of civil rights, such as prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

HB 401 (Nelson) (H. NREnv)(Support concept, but needs major revision)

This bill allows private forestland that is under a forest stewardship or forest management plan would be assessed at a lower property tax rate than would otherwise attach to the land, as a mechanism to encourage forest stewardship.

While KRC supports the measure conceptually, the bill has numerous problems that need attention in order to better focus the bill and to provide meaningful incentive for non-industrial woodland owners to better manage forestlands:

a. It will create new demand for Division of Forest support for private landowners, including inspection and compliance activity, without an appropriations to support that increased workload;

b. It applies to industrial forestlands, which are already under management plans and are not in need of subsidies through lower taxes;

c. It limits the availability of the lower tax rates to forest lands managed for timber production, rather than allowing forests managed for wildlife and other purposes to be eligible; and

d. It requires that forestlands that are converted from the classified status pay the difference in taxes for all the years in which the land was managed as forest.

With these changes, KRC believes the bill would be deserving of support.

HB 407 (Riggs) (H. Transp)(-)

Provides immunity for airport boards and employees for injuries and damage from actions and inactions in response to aviation threats, except in the case of gross negligence, bad faith or willful misconduct.

While some limitation on liability for responses to emergency situations may be appropriate, the bill concerns KRC because it limits liability for injury caused by events, and response to events, that are well within the control of the airport, such as hazardous material spills and releases. In cases where failure an aviation threat occurs due to factors within the control of the airport management or board, as contrasted to an external threat, such as the failure to properly control hazardous materials, and harm results, no immunity should be conferred.

HB 408 (Pasley) (H. Local Govt., posted)(+)

Expands scope of current law prohibiting a person in a city or urban-county from allowing a public nuisance or health hazard to develop from accumulations of rubbish or excessive growth of weeds or grass, to include counties.

HB 411 (Marcotte and others) (H. Judiciary)

Bill parallels senate bill creating a new crime of "abuse of public trust" for misappropriating public money or property.

HB 435 (Thomas)((H. Ag.&SB)

Bill includes numerous reforms in animal cruelty and welfare laws.

HB 449 (Denham) ((H. Ag&SB)(-)

Limits liability of owner of an agrotourism facilities that do not charge admission price or fee, to willful or malicious failure to warn of dangerous situations. Eliminates any duty of care towards persons entering the land suffering injury.

HB 458 (Collins) (H. NREnv, posted)(-)

This bill includes changes to oil and gas laws sought by the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association. A number of the proposed changes raise questions, but the most problematic is a provision that would prohibit local communities from adopting ordinances that would in any manner regulate oil and gas exploration, production, development, gathering and transmission, unless the local community did so through planning and zoning.

KRS 67.083 recognizes the broad authority of counties to act to prevent nuisance and to advance conservation of natural resources, while requiring that in those areas where the state has acted, the locality must be consistent. This broad preemption of local government police powers is inappropriate and unnecessary, particularly since the state Department of Mines and Minerals lacks a comprehensive program that addresses siting and which is adequate to fully address public health and nuisance issues.

HB 473 (Pasley) (H. Local Govt., posted)(+)

Bill seeks to clarify that utility plants using municipal waste as a fuel, whether processed or not, must demonstrate compatibility with local solid waste plan concerning importation of waste into a county for disposal as a fuel. Identical to House Bill 335 except that it includes an emergency clause.

HB 474 (Moberly) (H. Seniors, Military Affairs)(+)

Bill addresses chemical agent disposal at Bluegrass Army Depot, making several positive changes in existing law, including: creation of an Office of Liaison within the host community funded by the permit applicant to coordinate community oversight of the destruction of chemical weapons; provision assuring that no chemical agent destruction will occur under a "research, development and demonstration" permit except for pilot scale operations to prove-out the technology; and assuring that the local community emergency response plans including necessary infrastructure improvements are in place prior to operation of the chemical agent destruction facility.

HB 478 (Fischer and others) (H. Local Govt)(-)

Effort to undercut the northern Kentucky Vehicle Emissions Testing program by removing enforcement mechanism.

What northern Kentucky legislators who have sponsored this measure don't appear to understand or have concern for is that vehicle testing programs, while a minor consumer annoyance to some, are an important strategy for achieving and maintaining the reductions in ozone precursors necessary to maintain compliance with ozone air standards. Absent the ability to require the mobile sources to account for their pollution, the burden of reductions will be shifted entirely to the stationary sources, including large and small businesses, within the northern Kentucky area.

KRC believes that a continuing program of reductions of ozone precursors should be required of all classes of emissions sources, including the mobile sources. The question yet to be answered is whether the business organizations representing the northern Kentucky area will do as poor a job of representing the interests of their members as did the local business organizations in Jefferson County when the VET program was eliminated in the 2002 legislative session.

HB 483 (Bather) (H. Judiciary)(+)

Bill responds to the use of lawsuits as a tool to silence communities seeking to participate in zoning and other government decisionmaking – the phenomenon described as "strategic lawsuits against public participation or "SLAPPs").

Bill would recognize the immunity of citizens from civil liability for statements made before any governmental entity in connection with an issue, and public statements made in a public forum in connection with a matter of public interest, excepting actions or statements that are criminal or result in personal injury.

Bill provides for interlocutory appeal of decision refusing to dismiss case where the immunity is asserted, and provides that where a defendant prevails in securing dismissal of a suit, attorney's fees and costs shall be recoverable.

The abuse of the legal process to chill public participation is a tool used all too often. The bill recognizes the privileges status of the right to petition government and the right of free speech, and uses appropriate tools to dissuade practitioners from engaging in SLAPP suits, including allowing recover of costs and attorneys fees by prevailing citizens and allowing an appeal of the immunity issue before being subject to discovery practices that are sometimes used to harass or intimidate citizens.

HB 496 (Riggs) (H. Local Govt)

Bill adjusts size and terms of airport boards in Louisville and other counties with city of the first class.

HB 506 (Butler) (+)

Adds payment of attorney and expert fees to those penalties recoverable by landowner against person cutting timber on another's land without legal right.

HCR 20 (Buckingham) (H. Rules)

Resolution supporting creation of an "Energy Education Foundation" to produce a "highly skilled energy workforce" and directing Interim Joint Committee on Education to study energy education for students and consumers.

HR 52 (Lindsay) (H. State Govt)

Modifies House Rules to require fiscal note for any bill that will fiscally affect local governments through imposition of a mandate, removes threshold requirement that the effect be "significant". [This broadens the fiscal note requirement even as the Senate Rules amendment adopted the "significant" threshold.]

HJR 73 (L. Clark) (House Tourism Dev. & Energy)

Resolution calling on Congress to oppose Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions proposed to standardize the design of the wholesale transmission market, pending a cost-benefit and state-impact analysis.

HJR 83 (Moberly) (H. Floor)

Gives mandates, directives and initiatives contained in 2002-4 budget memorandum force and effect of law.

HCR 85 (Thomas and Pullin) (H. Floor)

Creates Kentucky Rural Issues Task Force to study effectiveness of state and federal programs in addressing challenges facing rural Kentucky.

HCR 99 (Buckingham and others)(House Tourism Dev & Energy, posted)(+)

Directs Special Subcommittee on Energy to study issues relating to coalbed methane extraction and to report to the LRC by December 1, 2003.

HCR 103 (Denham) (H. Transp)

A concurrent resolution urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to study the effect of wireless phone use on driver performance and safety.

HJR 104 (Denham) (H. Transp)

Resolution relating to agrotourism signage.

HJR 129 (Meeks and others) H.Ag&SB)(+)

Resolution would direct the Governor's Commission on family Farms and Center for Agricultural Development to study and report on the competitive and economic status of black farmers in Kentucky.

HJR 134 (Fischer) (H. NREnv) (-)

Another measure sponsored by Rep. Fischer to end the northern Kentucky vehicle emissions testing program – an outcome that would jeopardize air quality improvements in the area.

HCR 137 (McKee and others) (H.Ag&SB)

Directs study of farmland use and impact of farmland conversion on agricultural producers.

HJR 140 (Yonts) (H.NREnv)(-)

Coal industry effort to undercut the new "Coal Mining General Permit" issued by the Division of Water by ordering the state Division of Water to rescind the permit and reinstate the previous general permit, and requiring that any new testing requirements imposed on coal mining operations on general permits be done by amending the surface mining program regulations.

The goal of the coal industry is to avoid the requirement to test wastewater discharges for oil and grease. The former permit allowed the coal companies to avoid testing for oil and grease if the operators implemented best management practices. There have been continuing pollution problems associated with coal mining operations use and disposal of oil and grease associated with the operation and maintenance of heavy equipment.

The resolution represents a questionable effort to insulate the coal industry from testing requirements necessary to protect instream water quality. The industry failed to comment on the proposed new condition of the general permit despite two opportunities to do so, and has not used the appropriate mechanism to challenge permit conditions that they believe to be unnecessary or unjustified. Instead the coal industry seeks to embroil the legislature in the business of revoking permits and directing the content of individual and general permits issued to protect water quality.

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