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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

BILLS WE’RE WATCHING: LEGISLATIVE UPDATE #8  Posted: March 9, 2005

Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.
Post Office Box 1070
Frankfort, Kentucky 40602
(502) 875-2428 phone
(502) 875-2845 fax
e-mail FitzKRC@aol.com

March 9, 2005

REGULAR SESSION: Bills We're Watching: Update #8

This list profiles the significant environmental, conservation, consumer and general government bills that are being tracked by the Council during the 2005 session. This is the seventh of nine 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

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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 (so we can take all the blame for anything we’ve gotten wrong!)

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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 phone number to reach a legislator in person is 502-564-8100 (this is not toll-free).

The toll-free meeting schedule 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 an entire committee. The TTY message line is 1-800-896-0305. En Espanol, el nombre es 1-877-864-0202. The toll-free bill status number will be available in a week.

THE BEST WAY TO REACH LEGISLATORS – IT’S NEVER BEEN EASIER!

Did you know that for a single fax to 502-564-6543, you can reach all of the legislators that you want to contact? You can send a faxed 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 web page has a list of all legislators and all committee members.

DAY 28 of 30: 743 BILLS AND 374 RESOLUTIONS FILED

The General Assembly has recessed until March 21. Though technically those days are “veto days,” when they will return for two final days in order to consider any bills that have been vetoed by Governor Fletcher in recent years the House and Senate have suspended the rules and passed bills, and are likely to do so on March 21 and 22nd.

Please note that the Council does not have a position on each bill listed. Some bills are tracked for general interest; others simply to assure that they do not become vehicles for polluter-sponsored amendments. KRC's position concerning bills is indicated with a plus (+) or minus (-). The primary sponsors and current status of the bill are also noted by Committee or chamber.

KRC has removed from this update the bills that have not been heard by the committee to which they were assigned, and will likely not pass this session, and those which have become law.

SB 38 (Kelly) (Passed both houses, to Senate for concurrence with House amendments)

Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of economic development agency and boards. (KRC tracks all reorganization bills in order to monitor any provisions or amendments that would diminish the regulatory powers of environmental or public health.)

SB 41 (Kelly) (To Governor)

Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of natural resources, environment, labor and public protection agencies into Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. Senate Committee Substitute transfers Department of Energy to Tourism Cabinet.

SB 44 (Kelly) (Passed both houses, to Senate for concurrence with House amendments)

Bill codifying creation of Office of Homeland Security to coordinate comprehensive statewide homeland security strategy.

SB 45 (Kelly) (Passed both houses, to Senate for concurrence with House amendments)

Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of Justice Cabinet.

SB 46 (Kelly) (Passed both houses, to Senate for concurrence with House amendment)

Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of Education Cabinet.

SB 49 (Kelly) (To Governor)

SB 150 (Buford) (To Governor)

Removes current prohibition against issuance by nonprofit corporations created by local government, of bonds for construction or acquisition of electric facilities.

SB 157 (Stivers) (H. Judiciary) (-)

The bill makes mandatory the posting of an appeal bond in zoning cases where the person is challenging a development proposal or land use change. The bill imposes at $25,000 to 100,000 appeal bond on any person seeking appellate court review of a zoning or planning approval. Under the bill, if a person has not prevailed in a circuit court appeal of a land use approval, before that person may file an appeal with the Court of Appeals the circuit court would be mandated, upon motion, to impose a $25,000 minimum appeal bond, which could be increased to $100,000 depending on the appellees’ proof of the costs, including delay, that the appeal could impose.

The chilling effect on meritorious appeals is apparent, since the bill creates a financial bar to seeking appellate review regardless of the strength of the appeal, and that will dissuade parties from seeking review or meritorious claims.

The bill is a mean-spirited, punitive and arbitrary measure, intended to dissuade neighbors and neighborhood associations from accessing the courts. This singling out of this class of appeals for mandatory imposition of appeals bonds presupposes that appellants seeking review of a trial court decision upholding the proposed rezoning are presumptively or more likely to be frivolous and that there is a need to constrain the right to seek review for all appellants, regardless of the strength of or merits of the appeal. KRC rejects this premise.

After the House Judiciary Committee refused to entertain the bill, the Senate Judiciary Committee attached a version of the bill to HB 50, an unrelated bill that was before the Senate. The House did not take up HB 50, and KRC has urged the chamber not to concur with the amendment.

SB 172 (Kerr) (To Governor)

Child school nutrition bill, passed both chambers at 11:46 pm last night. Under the bill, soft drinks will be banned in elementary schools & they will be required to offer moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, school cafeterias may not contract with retail (fast food) outlets more than once/week, annual report cards to parents on school nutrition & physical activity environment will be required, requires state Board of Ed. to promulgate regulations on competitive foods & beverages at all levels, requires certification of school foodservice directors. The final bill included components of both Rep. Tom Burch and Rep. Tim Feeley's bill, HB 56, and SB 172, sponsored by Senators Alice Forgy Kerr & Ernesto Scorsone.

Special thanks to the efforts of the advocates for the bill who worked for 4 years to secure passage; Carolyn Dennis, Tonya, and Greg Brotzge.

SB 175 (Stivers)(To Governor)

Bill provides authorization to Environment and Public Protection Cabinet to issue permits under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. House amendment contains language drafted by KRC that requires report to legislative committees concerning statutory, regulatory and budgetary changes needed to support state adoption of the program.

Special thanks for Representatives Meeks, Riner and Adkins for their assistance in adding the floor amendment to the bill in order to create benchmarks for determining whether the state management of that program will improve environmental protection, and the costs of state assumption of the program.

SB 180 (Stivers)(To Governor)

Amends state law to extend the authority, beyond September 30, 2004, for remining incentives in Kentucky when the federal authority is extended.

SR 43 (Ridley & Pendleton) (Adopted)

Encourages state agencies to assist in promotion and preservation of Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

SR 154 (Tapp & Tori) (Senate Consent)

Expresses support and recommends future allocation of $2 million in coal severance tax receipts to support Kentucky Clean Coal Technology Project.

SR 174 (Stivers) (S. Floor)(+)

Urge the United States Congress to reauthorize the abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation fee and appropriate money collected in the federal AML Trust Fund.

HB 2 (Weaver) (H. Rules)

One of a number of bills introduced that would amend the state constitution to mandate that the General Assembly not adjourn a regular “long” session without enacting a budget and providing that, if they cannot accomplish that in the normal 60 legislative days for the long session, that they remain in session without pay until a budget is adopted. Pass committee after amendment to deny compensation to Governor and his Cabinet in the event that budget doesn’t pass in the 60 days.

HB 8 (Cornett) (Defeated 50-33 by House) (-)

Expands existing “extended weight coal haul road system” to include all forms of mineral, oil and gas. This system allows trucks to haul in excess of the maximum gross weight limits for state road systems for payment of a decal fee. Bill also broadens ability of any mineral haulers to operate overweight on roads not included within the extended weight system through a cooperative agreement.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet estimates that the bill will add $360 million in costs to the road fund for bridge replacements and $25 million each year due to increased maintenance and bridge repair costs.

The haulage of coal and non-coal minerals, and use of coal, non-coal and oil/gas related heavy equipment and trucks on state and county roads in this state present significant public health, safety and quality of life concerns. The damage caused by hauling overweight through local neighborhood and residential community roads that were never designed to carry such industrial traffic, and interference with the quality of life of residents of regions where mineral extraction occurs, deserves legislative attention. Expansion of the existing problem of coal hauling overweight to include other forms of minerals, compounds rather than resolves the underlying problem.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 55-32.

The Senate amended the bill to include a Senate Committee substitute which exempted Lexington and Louisville (in a manner that would not survive constitutional challenge) and which, for the first time, authorized much heavier truck loads on city and county streets. After the Senate Transportation Committee approved the substitute 9-3, the full Senate approved the amended bill 23-12 and returned it to the House, which rejected the bill 50-33.

Special thanks to those in the House Republican Caucus and the Mountain Caucus who voted against the bill, and to Representatives Wilkey, Marzian, Stein and Ancil Smith.

HB 29 (L. Clark & Draud) (To Governor)

Bill providing for joint Senate and House cosponsorship of bill passed either chamber where a substantially similar one is pending in the other chamber.

HB 59 (Weaver) (To Governor)

Allows an agency to withhold from disclosure public records that might expose a vulnerability to terrorist act. The balance between the public’s right to know of the use, storage, and handling of hazardous and dangerous materials by facilities, and the desire to protect against exposure to vulnerabilities is a topic hotly debated in the nation. Sponsor agreed to a floor amendment, offered by Rep. Jim Wayne at KRC’s request, to assure that the exemption from disclosure records of “public utility” water, wastewater, sewage and gas systems would not impede access by the public to information necessary to determine utility compliance with air, waste and water pollution control obligations. The amendment was considered by the sponsor to be a friendly amendment and was adopted by the House. KRC appreciates Rep. Weaver’s and Rep. Wayne’s assistance.

HB 77 (Graham) (To Governor)

Act provides procedures for dissemination of information from office of Attorney General to state and local government on Open Meetings and Open Records Act procedures.

HB 79 (Baugh) (To Governor)

Bill allows for new category of Master Logger designation entitled “temporary master logger designation,” and allows Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to establish requirements for that designation, and allows the temporary master logger to supervise a timber harvesting operation provided that the cabinet receives notice prior to beginning the operation. Sponsor agreed to technical committee amendment requested by KRC to clarify that the temporary license would expire after 4 months.

HB 211 (Wayne) (S. State & Local Govt)

Makes several amendments to Executive Branch Ethics Commission operating procedures and reporting requirements.

HB 225 (Pullin) (To Governor)

Creates a Kentucky Gas Transmission Authority with the Finance Cabinet, to issue revenue bonds to fund construction, improvement or repair of gas transmission pipelines where no transmission lines exist or where existing lines have insufficient capacity.

As initially drafted the bill raised a number of questions. In response to KRC’s concerns, the sponsor agreed to a series of committee and floor amendments to clarify that the authority will assist in financing repairs or construction of pipelines in constrained or underserved areas but will not own or construct lines, and several other technical changes.

HB 267 (Hoover & Feeley) (To Governor)

The Executive Branch Budget.

HB 272 (Hoover) (To Governor)

The House “Tax Reform” Package. HB 337 (Palumbo)(S. Eco Dev.)

Bill relates to tax increment financing, and provides a process for creating “development areas for community redevelopment” in which identified distressed areas can be identified as redevelopment areas, and utilize tax increment financing and other redevelopment assistance tools.

HB 440 (Nesler)(To Governor)

Amends existing law to require that installation and maintenance of gas appliances comply with manufacturer and administrative requirements and limiting licensee liability for damages for nonconforming installation or maintenance.

HB 472 (Lindsay)(To Governor)

Adopted Uniform Environmental Covenant Act providing for uniformity of contents and effect of environmental covenants for restriction of land uses for remediated contamination sites.

HJR 158 (Couch)(H. Rules)(-)

Urges the Congress to enact President Bush’s “Clear Skies” proposal, which would produce less reductions in key air pollutants from major sources than existing law will provide. The initiative is stalled due to lack of support from moderate Congressional Republicans.

HR 178 (Riggs)(adopted)

Commends Cinergy/PSI for installing pollution controls on the Gallagher power plant near Louisville, Kentucky.

HR 179 (Adkins)(H. Floor)

Expresses support and recommends future allocation of $2 million in coal severance tax receipts to support Kentucky Clean Coal Technology Project.

HB 186 (Adkins)

Resolution expressing support for Kentucky Clean Coal Energy Project, a proposal to create a new industry in Kentucky that utilizes large amounts of Kentucky coal to produce zero-sulfur diesel and jet fuel.

HB 189 (Adkins)(House) (+)

Urge the United States Congress to reauthorize the abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation fee and appropriate money collected in the federal AML Trust Fund.


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