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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

Legislative Update #1: Bills We're Tracking  Posted: January 14, 2007
January 14, 2007

2007 REGULAR SESSION: Bills We're Watching
Update #1

This list profiles the significant environmental, conservation, consumer and general government bills that are being tracked by the Council during the 2007 session. 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.

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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.ky.gov/legislat/legislat.htm

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 1-866-840-6574. The toll-free bill status number is 1-877-257-5541.

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.

WEEK ONE: 292 BILLS AND 70 RESOLUTIONS ALREADY FILED

On January 3, 2007, the General Assembly convened in Frankfort for the "short" legislative session. On week 1 of the session, 292 bills were filed, including several relating to the environment. The General Assembly will reconvene for “Part II” of this “short” session on February 6, and will be in session until March 12, 2007, and will break then until the veto days on March 26 and 27.

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 sponsor and current status of the bill are also noted by Committee or chamber.

Senate Bills

SB 5 (Scorsone and others) (S. Eco. Dev.)

Graduated increase in state minimum wage, rising to $7.25 an hour in July, 2009.

SB 7 (Worley) (S. Ag. & NR)

Would amend utility laws to require that each electric utility station at least one full time restoration employee in each county in which the utility has 500 or more customers.

SB 10 (Tapp) (S. Licensing & Occupations)

Creates uniform state permit and inspection process for installation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

SB 12 (Denton) (S. State & Local Govt)

Proposed constitutional amendment would increase terms of state Senators from 4 to 6 years and state Representatives from 2 to 4 years, effective beginning with the November 2008 elections.

SB 15 (Neal) (S. Judiciary)

Proposed constitutional amendment would revise procedures for restoration of civil rights for felons, depending on the gravity of sentence. Automatic restoration of civil rights would be available for felonies of 1-5 years on completion of the sentence of by pardon; for 5-20 year felonies, at completion of sentence and of any requirements imposed by the legislature or by pardon; and for felonies with a sentence of 20 years to life, only by executive pardon.

SB 16 (Boswell) (S. A&R)

Companion to SB 17, this is a proposed constitutional amendment allowing the General Assembly to enact laws allowing gambling at casinos.

SB 17 (Boswell) (S. A&R)

Comprehensive bill establishing licensing criteria for gaming at resort hotels and horse racetracks.

SB 24 (Angel) (S. Ag & NR)

Creates a credit against income taxes for ethanol producers.

SB 25 (Angel) (S. Ag & NR)

Creates a Kentucky Farmers Market Nutrition Program to enhance nutrition by providing for introduction of locally-grown fresh produce in schools and in programs for low-income citizens.

SB 27 (Roeding) (S. A&R)

Amends existing law concerning tax credits for biodiesel production; eliminates credit for blending biodiesel.

SB 28 (Roeding) (S. Licensing and Occupations)

Creates a new category of licensed electrician entitled “residential electrician” with lower licensure requirements for education and experience than currently required of an electrician.

SB 33 (Angel) (S. State and Local Govt)

Establishes a biofuel transportation grant program to provide grants for purchase and installation of renewable biofuel refueling facilities and the purchase and use of biofuels.

SB 35 (Jensen) (S. A&R)

Would amend the 2006-8 Budget to allow the Office of Local Development to reallocate project funds for inactive projects to other projects, on request by the recipient.

SB 37 (Denton) (S. State and Local Govt) (-)

Would include commercial bed and breakfast inns at farm locations into a category of recreational facilities whose liability for personal injury is limited. The category of facilities previously given protection against liability for negligence had been limited to individuals who opened their land or water areas to public recreational use without charge.

SB 48 (Stivers)

Authorizes private-public recreational land use agreements authorizing the public to use private land and limiting the landowners’ liability.

SB 55 (Kelly)

Administration bill codifying the reorganization of the Finance and Administration Cabinet.

SB 56 (Kelly)

Administration bill codifying the reorganization of the Department of Parks Office of Project Administration.

SB 57 (Kelly)

Administration bill codifying reorganization of the Department of Education.

SB 58 (Kelly)

Administration bill codifying reorganization of the Personnel Cabinet.

SB 59 (Kelly)

Administration bill codifying reorganization of the Transportation Cabinet.

Senate Resolutions

SR 1 (Kelly)

Senate Rules of Procedure for 2007 Session. Adopted.

SR 5 (Thayer) (S. State & Local Govt)

Commends Toyota Hybrid Team for hybrid Camry assembly pilot production at the Georgetown, Kentucky facility.

House Bills

HB 12 (S. Lee) (-) (H. State Government)

Would mandate that all documents produced or utilized by the state or any counties and cities be in English only; this prohibiting bilingual notices and publications.

HB 16 (Wilkey) (H. Judiciary)

One of a number of bills addressing expungement of criminal records.

HB 17 (Gray) (H. Labor and Industry)

Would mandate a minimum wage of the greater of $7 an hour or the federal mininum wage, and prohibit employers from requiring all or part of any tips or gratuities be counted toward the payment of the minimum wage; provide for increases pagged to inflation rate.

HB 19 (S. Lee)(-) (H. Judiciary)

Unconstitutional effort to prevent recovery of damages, costs and attorney’s fees by successful plaintiffs in civil rights actions under state law involving laws and ordinances determined to violate constitutional prohibitions on the establishment of religion.

HB 27 (Draud and others)

One of a number of bills proposing increased opportunities for casino gambling in the state.

HB 28 (S. Lee) (H. Judiciary) (-)

Unconstitutionally vague and first amendment expression-chilling bill that would make state or US flag desecration a crime if it occurs “under circumstances likely to produce an imminent breach of the peace.”

HB 29 (Floyd)(-)

Would allow the successful party in any litigation to recover costs, expert witness and reasonable attorney fees, with the court granted discretion to reduce or deny awards if the prevailing party unduly protracted resolution of the case or refused an offer of settlement at least as favorable as the ultimate relief. This reverses the “American rule” and alters Kentucky law providing that parties may not recover attorney fees and expert witness costs absent specific statutory authority. This provision lowers the current standards for recovery of attorney and expert witness fees under several environmental laws and conflicts directly with mining, water, air and waste laws that allow recovery of attorneys and expert fees against citizens only in the case of bad faith. By exposing unsuccessful plaintiffs to attorney and expert witness fees in cases where enforcement of public protection laws or review of agency actions is sought, the bill could have a chilling effect on efforts to assure accountability in the administration and enforcement of environmental and health laws.

HB 36 (Riner) (H. Elections)

Proposed constitution amendment would automatically restore civil rights to convicted felons other than sex offenders and those convicted of violent crime, three years after completion of the sentence and after 100 hours of community service had been performed. Others would need executive pardon.

HB 37 (Riner) (H. Labor and Industry)

Another bill proposing to raise the minimum wage for Kentucky to $7/hr; does not address how tips are treated, nor does it provide for inflation-based adjustments.

HB 46 (Thompson) (H. Licensing & Occupations)

Creates requirement for continuing education for engineers of 15 hours per year; exempts those licensed before 1972.

HB 47 (Floyd) (H. A&R) Would create a new designation on Kentucky income tax forms for those wanting to contribute an amount or their tax refund to a “tax-me-more” account that would become part of the appropriated funds available to the legislature.

H 48 (S. Lee & others) (-) (H. Health and Welfare)

Would prohibit state universities from providing health benefits for domestic partners (of the same or opposite sex) of employees.

HB 53 (Burch) (+) (H. Health and Welfare)

Mandates use of booster seats for children under 8 years of age; provides that failure to do so is not evidence of negligence nor admissible at trial.

HB 54 (Jenkins and others) (H. Labor and Industry)

Graduated increase in state mininum wage, rising to $7.25 an hour in July, 2009.

H 55 (Wayne & Stein) (H. Elections, Const. Amendments)

Comprehensive reform of state campaign finance law, providing for public financing and setting limits on individual and aggregate private contributions for participating candidates.

HB 62 (Cherry) (H. State Govt)

Reforms several provision of state merit laws, including increasing by 2 the classified employee representation on the state Personnel Board.

HB 64 (Cherry & others) (H. Education)

Would require each school to adopt policies and staff training programs to address harassment, intimidation and bullying.

HB 67 (Owens) (H. Judiciary)

Requires state Department of Corrections to inform eligible offenders of the process for restoration of civil rights and to initiate that process for them unless instructed otherwise.

HB 68 (Owens)

Includes utilities charges for multi-unit residential rentals or mobile home parks in exemption from sales tax on gross receipts. Formerly, multi unit residential rentals and mobile home parks were ineligible for the exemption.

H 69 (Arnold) (H. Eco. Dev.)(-)

Would include among economic revitalization projects entitled to tax credits, those existing coal mining operations that resume after temporary closure and which have raw production of at least 3 million tons of coal and employ over 500 persons. With a boom market for coal, public subsidies for opening or reopening mines are not needed or justified.

HB 70 (Crenshaw)(H. Elections, Const. Amendments)

Proposed constitutional amendment would automatically reinstate the civil rights of those convicted of a felony once the period of probation or final discharge from parole or maximum expiration of a sentence occurred.

HB 72 (Henley) (H. A&R)

Requires Ohio River Bridges Project to be funded by bond issue and installation of toll booths to retire bonds.

HB 90 (Owens) (H. Banking and Insurance)

Bill would cap the time and rate of collection of prepayment penalties for mortgages.

HB 91 (Brinkman) (H. Health and Welfare)

Would amend existing law to require health insurance policies to cover treatment for autism spectrum, disorders.

HB 94 (Pullin & Denham) (H. Seniors, Mil. Affairs and Public Safety)

Bill would create standards and procedures for remediation of properties contaminated from methamphetamine labs.

HB 97 (Draud) (H. Education)

Would mandate inclusion of 30 minutes of daily physical exercise into the school curriculum.

HB 102 (Pullin) H. Tourism, Dev. & Energy)

Expands existing law on Kentucky Gas Pipeline Authority to include oil and refined petroleum products within the definition of “gas” whose pipelines can be financed under the current law.

HB 108 (Hoffman) (H. Tourism Dev. & Energy)

Creates an account to provide funding for preservation of historic rock fences and construction of new rock fences.

HB 109 (Brinkman & others) (H. H&W)

Comprehensive legislation on autism spectrum disorders.

HB 110 (Gray) (H. Judiciary)

Would create a new category of marriage called “covenant marriage” in which the participants agree to follow additional procedures for counseling prior to dissolution of a marriage; reinstates fault as the basis for obtaining a divorce.

HB 113 (Hoffman & Wayne) (H. A&R)

Creates state income tax credit for purchase of hybrid electric dual fuel vehicles.

HB 116 (Meeks) (H. Local Govt)

Amends existing laws to encourage interlocal agreements between counties for essential services. HB 117 (Meeks) (H. Local Govt) Bill creates a permitting process for an excavation of archaeological sites on private properties; increases penalties for desecration of human remains; provides right of access to private cemeteries for family members; provides procedures for notification and disposition of accidental disturbances or disinterment cases. HB 118 (Meeks) (H. Local Govt) Bill creates process for verification by Kentucky Heritage Council of the lack of known archaeological or human burial sites on real property, applies to any alteration of real property; provides procedures for addressing encountered remains.

HB 120 (Wayne) (H. Ag & Sm. Business)

Creates a new category of health department permits for sales of food associated with farmers’ markets.

HB 123 (Pullin) (H. Tourism, Dev. & Energy)

Mandates that the Public Service Commission initiate a 3-year pilot program for installation of “next-generation” electric meters in residences, with interior readouts and remote reporting to utilities of energy use; provides for compilation and reporting of study results.

HB 127 (Meeks) (H. Eco. Dev.)

Would create a new standing committee of the legislature for International Business Relations, to oversee and assist the state economic development efforts overseas and to attract foreign businesses.

HB 133 (Yonts) (H. Nat. Res. & Environment)

Amends current mine safety laws to include mine managers as potential recipients of enforcement actions; current law identifies only mine licensees and superintendents.

HB 134 (Yonts) (H. Transp.)

Requires development by railroad companies of risk assessments, training and security plans and community protection plans intended to assess and reduce risks of sabotage, terrorism and others crimes from storage and movement of hazardous cargo and oil.

HB 136 (Pasley & Moberly) (H. Nat. Res. & Environment)

Amends law governing Soil and Water Conservation Districts to address the purchase or lease of buildings and equipment for districts with state funds.

HB 137 (Yonts) (+) (H. Nat. Res. & Env.)

Would extend currently-expired deadline for registration of old underground storage tanks, allowing the removal of those tanks to be reimbursed by the state petroleum storage tank account.

HB 157 (Wayne) (H. Local Govt)(+)

Comprehensive bill establishing rights and responsibilities of lessees and lessors of manufactured home community lots.

HB 161 (T. Edmonds) (-) (H. Transp.)

Mandates issuance of permits for extended weight coal trucks meeting the axle weight and safety standards. KRC believes that due to the additional injuries and fatalities that occur from accidents involving extended weight coal trucks, and the damage to road and bridge infrastructure occasioned by the heavier trucks, that the extended weight coal truck decal program should be ended.

HB 169 (B. Smith)

Requires children under 16 years of age to wear helmets when bicycling; imputes liability for failure to do so on to parents or guardians.

HB 184 (Moberly) (H. A&R)

Would amend existing law to allow the amendment, creation or repeal of a statute by a budget bill to survive the period of the enacted budget and would do so retroactively to include the 2005 and 2006 budget bills.

HB 186 (B. Smith)

Would amend KRS Chapter 351 to allow the state Mining board to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states to allow miners certified in other states to perform similar duties here without needing recertification.

HB 190 (Adkins) (H. Judiciary)

Confirms reorganization of various division and branches within the Office of Attorney General.

HB 202 (McKee)

Would amend various definitions to allow lands of five or more acres used for agriculture to be included in agricultural districts.

HB 207 (Yonts)

Amends existing KRS Chapter 351 regarding mine safety prosecutions, to guarantee right of full intervention for spouses and miners in hearings on violations of mine safety laws; increases frequency of mine inspections, and makes other changes.

HB 219 (Jenkins)(+)

This bill would amend existing KRS 337.423 to prohibit sex-based wage discrimination on jobs of comparable worth.

House Resolutions

HR 2 (Richards) (Adopted)

House Rules of Procedure for the 2007 Session.

HR 4 (S. Lee) (H. Judiciary)

Resolution urging Congress to enact the “Public Expression of Religion Act of 2005” that seeks to inhibit challenges to state and local government efforts to promote displays of religious symbols filed under the Establishment Clause.

HCR 6 (Riner) (H. Health and Welfare)

Resolution urging Congress to support a national healthy policy assuring access to affordable health care for all.

HJR 11 (Marzian) (H. Education)

Provides for development by a work group of recommendations for changes in core content of public school curriculum relating to the Holocaust.

HCR 12 (Gray) (H. Tourism Dev. & Energy)

Resolution encouraging Congress to extend the maintenance of “summer water level” at Lake Barkley through the first week in September.

HJR 14 (Pullin) (H. Ag & Sm. Business)

Would create an all-terrain vehicle usage task force to assess and development approaches to stop illegal use of ATV’s on public and private property.

HCR 16 (Meeks) (H. State Government)

Resolution urging Congress to press for strong measures to end the violence in the Sudan and to urge the SEC to provide guidance to fund managers to avoid investments in nations that support terrorism or human rights violations.

HCR 18 (Pullin) (H. Transp.)

Resolution encouraging the Transportation and Economic Development Cabinets to market the availability of Amtrak stations in Ashland, Fulton, Maysville and South Shore.


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