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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

2007 REGULAR SESSION: Bills We're Tracking: Update #5 (Complete Through March 2, 2007)  Posted: March 2, 2007
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 fifth update. 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.

REACHING LEGISLATORS – IT’S NEVER BEEN EASIER!

Want to send one email all legislators? Simply address it to legislators2007@lrc.ky.gov. Also, 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 each legislator, their email address, and all committee members. Legislator e-mail information can be found at www.lrc.ky.gov/whoswho/email.htm.

WEEK FIVE: 795 BILLS AND 385 RESOLUTIONS FILED

On January 3, 2006, the General Assembly convened in Frankfort for the regular "short" legislative session. The General Assembly has reconvened for “Part II” of this short session, and will be in session until March 12, 2005, 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) (H. Rules)

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. A & R)

Creates a credit against income taxes for ethanol producers.

SB 25 (Angel) (S. Rules with committee sub)

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 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 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 47 (Stivers) (H. Rules)

Allows reciprocal certification of miners licensed in other states.

SB 48 (Stivers) (Withdrawn)

SB 55 (Kelly) (H. Rules)

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

SB 56 (Kelly) (H. Rules)

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

SB 57 (Kelly) (To House)

Administration bill codifying reorganization of the Department of Education.

SB 58 (Kelly) (H. Rules)

Administration bill codifying reorganization of the Personnel Cabinet.

SB 59 (Kelly) (H. Rules)

Administration bill codifying reorganization of the Transportation Cabinet.

SB 74 (Harris) (H. Rules)

Bill directs Department for Local Government to track deployment and adoption of telecommunications and information technology in Kentucky, enable public-private partnerships among providers and governments to encourage deployment of advanced services. Bill also enables DLG to contract with a nonprofit organization to accomplish the objectives of the bill.

KRC has concerns that any nonprofit organization with whom the Department contracts to monitor and advocate deployment and adoption of telecommunications and information technology is free from conflicts of interest, that all meetings and records are open, and that the contract is competitively bid.

SB 75 (Williams) (H. Judiciary) (-)

Would move the venue for numerous actions involving appeals of administrative agency actions and enforcement by administrative agencies of orders and determinations from Franklin Circuit Court. Among the adverse impacts of the bill would be a loss of continuity and consistency among judicial decisions interpreting and applying agency statutes, and significant additional costs to agencies of traveling to 120 venues in order to defend appeals and to enforce agency orders.

SB 76 (Kelly) (H. Rules)

Administration bill confirming Executive Order reorganizing Department for Local Government and abolishing several commissions, including the Kentucky Flood Control Advisory Commission.

SB 78 (Kelly) (H. Eco Dev. Tourism)

Reenacts Commission on Small Business Advocacy and confirms Economic Development Partnership Board Resolution 06-02.

SB 79 (Kelly) (H. Rules with committee sub)

Administration bill codifying Executive Order reorganizing several departments within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

SB 82 (Leeper) (H. A&R)

Agency bill amends KRS Chapters 132 and 141 regarding financial incentives available for redevelopment of brownfields property. Bill updates definitions and qualifications for a three-year reduced ad valorem tax rate, and for a tax credit, for qualifying voluntary environmental remediation property. SB 85 (Kelly) (H. Rules with committee sub)

Reorganization bill confirming executive Order 2006-1299 moving the Office of Energy policy from Commerce Cabinet to the Governor’s Office.

SB 91 (Pendleton) (To House)

Bill would broaden existing preemption of local government regulation of pesticides to preempt local government enactments regulating the registration, packaging, labeling, sale, storage, distribution, use or application of fertilizers.

KRC was initially concerned that the preemption language could be read as preempting local governments from adopting siting and operation ordinances regulating land application of manures from industrial-scale poultry and livestock operations.

KRC negotiated alternative language that resolved this issue and also clearly protects both any reporting obligations under state and federal law and local government powers under KRS Chapter 100.

SB 92 (Boswell) (To House)

Senate counterpart to HB 136, would amend law governing Soil and Water Conservation Districts to address the purchase or lease of buildings and equipment for districts with state funds.

SB 96 (McGaha) (H. Local Govt)(posted)

Substantial amendments to existing laws governing management and membership of water districts and allowing water districts greater authority over sewage disposal.

SB 108 (Seum) (S. State & Local Govt)

Bill proposes a constitutional amendment limiting the agenda of odd-year sessions to revenue and appropriation bills, matters that the Governor proposes, and two subjects agreed upon by House and Senate leadership.

SB 117 (Seum) (S. State & Local Govt)

Would prohibit approval of a subdivision of land in Jefferson County to a density of more than 1 unit per five acres on a road designated as a secondary rural road by the state and designated by the local government as having scenic significance and having special scenic and aesthetic setbacks, and if the road is a two-lane road.

SB 124 (Jensen) (S. A&R)

Would amend budget language to allow, with review by the Department for Local Government, for reallocation of funds within various infrastructure funding accounts from inactive to other projects.

SB 125 (Jensen) (H. NR & Env)(posted)(+)

The initial bill muddled the application of state law to waste tires eventually processed for fuel. A revision negotiated by proponents and KRC resolved these concerns, and provided a narrow exemption from local solid waste consistency determinations for end users of processed TDF but requiring that the air permit applications for use of such TDF is subject to public notice and comment. Use of whole tires or unprocessed TDF remains subject to air permitting and local solid waste board determinations.

SB 127 (Ridley) (S. A&R)

Provides for formation by counties of a “coal for regional economic development” organization to promote economic development in the region.

SB 136 (Stivers)(Withdrawn)

SB 144 (Kelly)(H. Rules)

Administration bill reorganizing Justice Cabinet.

SB 146 (Tapp) (Withdrawn)

SB 155 (Harris) (H. Transp)(posted) (-)

Would reverse current state policy against cutting trees in rights-of-way in order to assure visibility of billboards, and would create permit system for destroying public trees in order to assure visibility of billboards from interstates and other highways and turnpikes.

Bill would also weaken existing prohibitions against extending the life of a nonconforming billboard by allowing the billboard to be damaged up to 60% of the value of the structure and repaired.

SB 187 (Jensen) (H. NR & Env)(posted)

Agency bill updating the state statutes concerning expenditures of monies under the abandoned mine land program.

SB 196 (Stivers) (S. Rules with Committee Sub)(-)

Committee Substitute for original bill that would exempt from siting board review and provide local circuit court venue rather than Franklin circuit Court for appeals of permitting actions, for “industrial energy facilities,” which would include any facility using coal gasification to produce transportation fuels, syngas, chemicals, electricity or other “useful products” costing over $750 million. KRC believes it inappropriate to seek to incentivize new industrial facilities by abridging citizen rights, and that such an approach will result in more, rather than less, controversy regarding such proposals.

SB 200 (Jones) (S. Ag. & NR)

Mine safety measure requiring submittal of plans for underground coal mine seal construction and reporting requirements on self-rescuers.

SB 205 (Seum) (S. State and Local Govt)

Would amend Metropolitan Sewer District statutes to provide for appointment of 3 each of the 9 board members by the Mayor, Governor and Metro Council, to require an audit annually by the state Auditor, to require PSC approval of rates and to provide other checks on ratesetting by MSD, including notice to customers of future MSD Board meetings.

KRC supports additional accountability by the agency both in setting rates and in decisions concerning extensions of service and entering into “recapture agreements.” The bill as proposed speaks only to rates and does not include other aspects of management of the agency.

SB 206 (Thayer) (S. A&R)

Exempt persons in areas not served by sanitary sewers from paying storm water rate charges.

SB 210 (Stivers) (S. Judiciary)

Would amend Chapter 13B to replace hearing officers with administrative law judges, create board to nominate them, establish qualifications and require Senate confirmation; provide direct appeal to Court of Appeals from administrative law judge decisions.

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.

SJR 16 (Passed Both Houses)(+)

Names I-65 in Jefferson County as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Highway.

SCR 41 (Rhoads) (S. Ag & NR)

Would create a task force to study the availability of land for hunters.

SJR 95 (Neal) (S. Transp)

Would name I-65 from Jefferson County to the Tennessee State Line the “Dr. martin Luther King Jr. Highway.”

SJR 109 (Jensen) (H. Ag & Sm. Bus)

Administration bill creating task force on drought mitigation and response. Committee substitute transformed the “task force” to a “council.”

House Bills

HB 1 (Richards and others) (To Senate)

Would reinstate appropriations and line-item measures vetoed by the Governor from the 2006 budget.

HB 3 (Wilkey and others) (S. State & Local Govt)

Proposed state constitutional amendment limiting governor’s pardon power.

HB 5 (Adkins and others) (S. A&R) (+)

Energy bill creating various tax incentives and credits for coal-to-liquids through gasification, and for renewable energy used for electricity generation.

KRC worked with the sponsor to broaden availability of incentives for renewables by lowering the eligibility for renewables from 10 mW down to 1 mW for all renewables other than solar, which would be eligible for the financial incentives at 50 kW of generating capacity.

HB 8 (Yonts)(S. A&R)

Amends various statutes relating to personal service and other government contracts.

HB 10 (Nelson) (H. Health and Welfare) (-)

Would ban higher education institutions from expending state benefits to provide health benefits for domestic partners.

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. Rules)

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

HB 17 (Gray) (H. Labor and Industry) (posting waived)(+)

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 pegged 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) (H. Licensing & Occupations)

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) (H. Judiciary) (-)

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) (S. 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.

HB 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) (S. Transp) (+)

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

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

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) (S. State & Local 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) (To Senate)

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

HB 67 (Owens) (H. Rules)(+)

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) (H. A&R)

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.

HB 69 (Arnold) (S. Ag & NR)(-)

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)(To Senate)(+)

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)(posted)

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

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

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

HB 94 (Pullin & Denham) (S. Judiciary)

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

KRC has suggested language clarifying the purpose of the bond or financial assurance and the process for forfeiture of the contractor’s bond, and or requiring a liability insurance policy for personal or property damage associated with the decontamination of inhabitable properties by a certified contractor. A floor amendment incorporated a number of KRC’s recommended changes and was approved by the House.

HB 97 (Draud) (Withdrawn)

HB 102 (Pullin) (S. Ag & NR)

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. Committee substitute adds carbon dioxide to eligible gases, in order to allow pipelines transporting sequestered CO2 to oil fields for secondary recovery.

HB 108 (Hoffman) (S. Eco Dev, Tourism)

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

HB 109 (Brinkman & others) (S. A&R)

Comprehensive legislation on autism spectrum disorders.

HB 110 (Gray) (H. Judiciary)(posted)

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. Rules)

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

HB 116 (Meeks) (H. Rules)

Amends existing laws to encourage interlocal agreements between counties for essential services.

HB 117 (Meeks) (H. Rules)

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)(posted)

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) (S. Ag & NR)

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

HB 123 (Pullin) (S. Ag & NR)

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. Committee amendment includes TED devices which convert usage to dollars and cents.

HB 127 (Meeks) (H. Rules)

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. & Env.)

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) (S. Ag & NR)

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) (S. Ag & NR) (+)

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.

Floor amendment drafted by KRC for Rep. Yonts at his request extended deadlines for eligibility for reimbursement for tank removals and remediation of contaminated properties, thus assuring that as properties continue to be discovered, they will be eligible for remediation under the publicly-funded program. Passed House 98 – 0.

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

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.

Committee Chair has indicated he will not hear this bill during this session.

HB 169 (B. Smith) (H. Transp.)

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) (Withdrawn)

HB 186 (B. Smith)(S. Ag & NR)

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) (To Senate)

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

HB 202 (McKee) (S. Ag & NR)

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

HB 207 (Yonts) (H. Rules with Committee Sub)

Original bill 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. Committee substitute weakened original bill.

HB 219 (Jenkins)(H. Rules) (+)

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

HB 226 (Wilkey and Hoover) (recommitted to H. A&R) (+)

Would create a program to defray student loan debt for persons employed as staff attorneys for the Attorney General’s office, Department for Public Advocacy, nonprofit legal services organizations and county or commonwealth attorneys offices.

Legal services advocates have asked supporters of this bill to contact House leadership and A&R Chair Harry Moberly to ask that this bill be heard and sent to the House floor for a vote.

HB 227 (Wilkey) (H. Rules)

Bill would eliminate the Kentucky Economic Development Partnership as the governing body of the Cabinet for Economic Development.

HB 231 (Adams) (H. Rules) (-)

Bill would allow coyotes to be live-trapped and sold, presumably to businesses for “fox” hunting. Bill is opposed by Department for Fish and Wildlife Resources.

HB 240 (Denham) (S. State & Local Govt)

Would amend Chapter 109 to allow local governments to enact ordinances allowing for collection of outstanding solid waste taxes and fees through motor vehicle liens.

HB 247 (Crenshaw) (H. Local Govt)

Would add waste collection positions in urban-county governments to the category of hazardous position for retirement purposes.

HB 251 (Fischer and Harmon) (H. Elections)

Proposed state constitutional amendment to declare that there is no constitutional right to abortion.

HB 261 (Belcher and Ballard) (H. Rules) (+)

Original bill would have modified laws governing rate cases for natural gas utilities to allow gas utilities to avoid rate cases by electing to operate within a certain bandwidth of .5% above or below of an approved return on equity and to report and adjust earnings annually where they fall above or below the approved range. Would eliminate the scrutiny of revenue and expenses that would otherwise occur during traditional rate cases before the PSC, and potentially result in overearnings.

Bill was heard on two separate occasions in committee and was opposed by KRC and the Attorney General’s Office. The sponsor converted the bill to a study resolution to study the matter during the interim, and KRC is part of that study group.

HB 281 (Damron) (To Senate)

Would broaden obligation of local governments to notify the State Local Debt Officer before entering into any financing obligations

HB 289 (Graham and Rollins) (To Senate)

Adds Kentucky State University president to Agricultural Development Board.

HB 300 (Fischer, Harmon) (H. Elections)(-)

Proposed amendment to Kentucky Constitution to allow General Assembly to limit damages for injuries to persons and property.

Kentucky's Constitution protects against legislative limitation of rights of action available to persons injured through the tortuous conduct of another. As has been the case in past sessions, KRC opposes any constitutional amendment that would seek to artificially limit for any class of injuries and for the benefit of one class of persons who have by definition inflicted harm on others, the right of any person to bring a civil action and to seek a jury trial for compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages for injuries sustained to person or property.

HB 305 (Gray and others) (S. Eco Dev., Tourism & Labor) (+)

Bill would increase state minimum wage to $7.00 an hour and provide for annual adjustment keyed to consumer price index increases.

HB 324 (Marzian, Draud) (H. A&R)

Bill would increase rate and broaden scope of tobacco tax and allocate monies to several health and education priorities.

HB 327 (Moberly) (H. Rules)

Amends 2006-8 Executive Branch budget to restore a number of projects vetoed by Governor Fletcher during 2006 legislative session.

HB 328 (DeCesare) (H. Labor & Industry)(-)

Right to work law, aimed at weakening unions by prohibiting mandatory membership in a plant or shop that has voted to unionize. Effect is that persons are able to work at a place and take advantage of the benefits obtained for employees by the union without paying dues.

HB 333 (Simpson) (H. Nat Res & Env) (-) Would amend existing law to allow plastic bottles and containers with labels, base cups, resin layers or other components that are not the same as the remainder of the container to nevertheless be coded as such if the other component “is the same predominant resin as that in the bottle or container so as to be compatible for purposes of recycling.” The bill raises a number of questions – what is meant by “same predominant resin” and does “compatible for purposes of recycling” mean that the manufacturer would have to demonstrate that the presence of the label, resin layer, base cup or other component would not adversely affect the recyclability of the container or the quality of the recycled material? Would the Cabinet be able to perform a “gatekeeper” function of determining compatibility prior to allowing coding as something besides “other” for mixed plastics?

The introduction of plastic bottles with barrier layers that are either not plastic or are a plastic or vinyl that is not PETE or HDPE, represent a problem under the current recycling framework. It has not been demonstrated that there is an aftermarket for these bottles, and their introduction under a coding that does not accurately reflect the content of the bottle may interfere with community collection and recycling systems.

Proponents have indicated that they will not seek a hearing on the bill this session. KRC has indicated interest in meeting with proponents to seek a solution.

HB 349 (Draud and others) (H. A&R) (posted)

Provides authority for creation of “local development areas” and for tax increment financing and other financing mechanisms for redevelopment of areas. The definition of “brownfield sites” is overbroad, and would include sites currently owned and actively used by the parties who contaminated them, as well as excluding abandoned and underutilized properties that are not contaminated. The notice given to landowners within a proposed development area is inadequate, since newspaper publication of legal notices is generally insufficient to inform most members of the public, and should be coupled with individually mailed notices as is typical of proposed areawide changes in zoning classification.

HB 350 (Denham) (Recommitted to Judiciary)

Defines a new offense of “agroterrorism” as damaging or destroying any agricultural facility or product “with an intent to deprive the public of a substantial source of food or water.” Identifies damages available in an action against a person who engages in “agroterrorism.”

HB 353 (Watkins and others) (H. A&R)

Would impose a 50-cents surtax on each pack of cigarettes to fund the “Early Childhood Development Fund.”

HB 354 (Webb and others) (To Senate)(Needs clarifying amendment)

Creates a credit against income taxes for donation of easements for conservation purposes; authorizes Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to oversee program.

HB 355 (Simpson) (To Senate) (+)

Authorizes planning commissions to enter into agreements with public or private entities for administration of zoning and planning statutes, code enforcement, and urban renewal programs.

The inclusion of “private agencies” and “organizations” in this bill was troublesome, since it appeared to authorize the privatizing of governmental planning and zoning and code enforcement functions; where previously interlocal agreements have been limited to public agencies. KRC discussed with the sponsor an amendment to remove that private agency reference, and House Floor Amendment 1 was adopted to remove the word “private.”

HB 372 (Santoro, Moore) (H. Local Govt)

Would amend existing law to require uniform state building permits and to require all building permits to comply with Kentucky Building Code.

HB 375 (Webb) (H. Local Govt)

Broad preemption measure that would prohibit local regulation of hunting, fishing, trapping, and trapping equipment, hunting dogs, archery equipment sale and use, firearm use for defense of self or others, shooting ranges, and would prohibit local governments from requiring animals to be spayed or neutered or taxing animals at a higher rate if not spayed or neutered.

HB 385 (Pasley and others) (H. Nat Res & Env)

“Stream saver” bill drafted by KRC for KFTC, would amend strip mining laws to require that overburden must be returned to mine area to the maximum extent possible and that other overburden is to be disposed of in permitted areas or previously mined areas, and that no overburden is to be disposed of in the waters of the Commonwealth. Bill seeks to minimize disposal of mine spoils in valley fills.

HB 399 (McKee and Pasley) (S. Ag & NR)

House counterpart to SB 91. Bill would broaden existing preemption of local government regulation of pesticides to preempt local government enactments regulating the registration, packaging, labeling, sale, storage, distribution, use or application of fertilizers.

KRC was initially concerned that the preemption language could be read as preempting local governments from adopting siting and operation ordinances regulating land application of manures from industrial-scale poultry and livestock operations.

KRC negotiated alternative language that resolved this issue and also clearly protects both any reporting obligations under state and federal law and local government powers under KRS Chapter 100.

HB 411 (Wayne) (H. A&R)

Income tax reform bill increasing tax rate on income over $75,000 and making other changes in income, earned income credit and estate taxes.

HB 417 (Gooch) (H. Judiciary) (posted)(-)

“Dust” bill attempting to create procedures and to alter existing civil proof standards for occupational claims based on exposure to silica materials causing silicosis.

HB 435 (Belcher and others) (withdrawn)

Creates a Floyds Fork Water Resources council to plan for and develop pilot project for improving quality of water and addressing stream loadings in Floyd’s Fork watershed. The bill will not be heard this session, and instead a series of meetings within the watershed will be convened by the sponsor to attempt a regional approach to improving water quality within the basin.

HB 442 (Baugh) (H. Rules with committee sub)

Includes brownfields projects as eligible infrastructure projects under KRS 224A (Kentucky Infrastructure Authority).

HB 444 (Weston and others) (H. Rules)

Broadens the Binding Elements Enforcement Act to allow fines for violations of other land use provisions, including zoning regulations, and to delegate enforcement of these conditions to Boards of Zoning Adjustment.

HB 454 (A. Smith and others) (H. Transp)

Creates new section of KRC Chapter 177 to require shippers and receivers of coal to report shipment weights to Department of Vehicle Enforcement.

HB 458 (DeCesare) (H. Judiciary)

Would restrict power of eminent domain by eliminating condemnation powers for redevelopment of blighted properties.

HB 470 (Hoffman) (House Seniors & Mil. Affairs)

Would create a registry of potential meth contaminated properties in Kentucky, to be operated by the Kentucky State Police, and a contamination assessment program to be operated by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. Does not include a program for certification of contractors engaging in meth-contaminated property decontamination.

HB 472 (Miller and others) (H. Rules)

Would allow local governments to adopt and enforce ordinances and regulations more stringent than state provisions for regulating junked cars.

HB 489 (Horlander) (H. Local Govt) (posted)

Would allow a local government nuisance lien to take priority over other liens except tax liens.

HB 496 (Jenkins) (H. Rules)

Would allow first class mail instead of certified mail for planning and zoning notices.

HB 505 (DeWeese and Brinkman) (H. Elections)(-)

Proposed constitutional amendment would allow the General Assembly to establish restrictions on medical malpractice actions, including nonbinding mediation, statutes of limitation and repose, and to alter evidentiary standards and privileges for this class of actions.

Consistent with KRC’s position regarding past efforts to restrict access to courts by injured parties, KRC opposes constitutional provisions allowing such limitations with respect to this class of civil actions.

HB 521 (B. Smith and others) (H. Rules)

Would amend underground storage tank program statutes to provide for a preapproved advanced cleanup program for tank owners and operators to pay for corrective action and seek reimbursement, to prohibit future raiding of UST funds for general or road fund purposes, and to delete the provision transferring the surplus in the accounts to the general fund.

KRC supports restrictions on the ability to transfer dedicated fund proceeds to the general fund or road fund. The removal of some 94 million dollars from this program has delayed reimbursement of corrective action expenses for qualified UST site remediation projects and has caused the state to slow the pace of corrective action plan approval and reimbursement, resulting in continued unabated pollution of subsurface land and groundwater resources at numerous UST sites.

HB 534 (Webb) (H. Local Govt)

Would allow local governments to use the transient room tax under KRS 91A.390 to finance local parks.

HB 543 (Collins) (H. Rules) (-)

In an apparent effort to avoid a civil judgment similar to that awarded by a West Virginia Court over the manner in which gas royalties were calculated and paid to lessors, this bill would in a constitutionally-suspect manner abridge existing natural gas leases by limiting the royalty payments for lessors to the actual sale price of the natural gas rather than the market value of the gas. Presently and historically, most such leases require payment6 of an amount equal to 1/8 of the market price of the gas produced, and that volume of gas is metered at the well. HB 543 would change existing law by specifying that the royalty is paid on the volume of has at the point of first sale, so that the line losses during transmission would be subtracted from what the lessor is paid. Additionally, the bill would allow the gas company to charge post-production marketing expenses against the lessor.

Additionally, the original bill attempted to shorten from 15 to 5 years the opportunity for a lessor to sue for any violations of lease terms; KRC and several committee members voiced opposition to this provision and it is proposed to be removed by a floor amendment.

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 lawsuits challenging state or local laws (such as 10 Commandment posting laws) as being in violation of 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. Rules)

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) (S. Eco Dev.)

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

HJR 14 (Pullin) (S. Ag &NR)

Would direct the Kentucky Recreational Trail Authority to study illegal use of ATV’s on public and private property.

HCR 16 (Meeks) (H. Rules)

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. Rules)

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

HCR 47 (Denham) (H. Rules)

Resolution directing interim committee on Agriculture and Small Business to review necessity for creation of a State Rural Development Council.

HJR 54 (Meeks and others) (H. Transp)

Would name I-65 in Jefferson County in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

HJR 130 (Webb)(H. Rules)

Resolution directs Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to require development and implementation of Emergency Action Plans by all significant and high hazard impoundments regulated by the state.

HCR 131 (Webb) (H. Rules)

Would establish a task force examining ways to increase e-scrap recycling in the state.

HR 146 (Weston and others) (Adopted)

Would commend LGE, KU and E.oN for their investment in the FutureGen project.

HCR 155 (Wayne) (H. Rules)

Would direct LRC staff to study the suitability of using public broadcast publication as an alternative to newspaper publication to meeting advertising requirements.

HCR 160 (Stacy and Richards)(H. Rules)( +/- )

As original introduced, this resolution would establish a "Save Our Streams" Task Force to review and report on resources available for communities seeking to establish water resource partnership programs in their communities. The task force is charged with developing a framework for such partnerships. At the House Committee hearing, the bill was amended without the sponsors' support to remove the Kentucky Waterways Alliance and to add several industry trade groups representing agribusiness, coal and oil interests. Ironically, after removing the Kentucky Waterways Alliance from the task force, the Chairman of the Committee introduced a title amendment to change the task force name to the "Waterways Alliance Task Force." KRC will work with the sponsor to restore the Kentucky Waterways Alliance and to add the Kentucky River Watershed Watch to the task force. Absent such a restoration of KWA, KRC will no longer support the measure.

The occasional "hijacking" of bills is not a phenomenon new to the legislative process, but is unfortunate whenever it occurs.

HCR 164 (Meeks and others) (H. Transp)

Directs LRC staff to study railroad hazard and safety issues in Jefferson County, including rail security and emergency plans and to report to the LRC by December 1, 2007.


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