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

2008 REGULAR SESSION: Bills We're Watching: Week Thirteen – 1,030 Bills, 505 Resolutions, only 2 Legislative Days To Go!  Posted: April 4, 2008
2008 REGULAR SESSION: Bills We're Watching: Week Thirteen

This list profiles the environmental, conservation, consumer and general government bills being tracked by the Council during the 2008 session. The General Assembly has recessed and will return on April 14 and 15 to consider any vetoes. Additionally, it is likely that the chambers will suspend their rules and consider some additional bills.

With 2 legislative days left, we have removed those bills that have not yet been heard by the initial committee to which they were assigned or which are unlikely to be acted on by the other Chamber. To review all of the bills that KRC tracked this session, click on the 13th update.

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!)

DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF THE POSTING OF THESE UPDATES?

Send this to a friend, and tell them to write us at FitzKRC@aol.com if they want to receive notice when these postings are updated.

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/legislation.htm

To find your legislators email, go to http://www.lrc.ky.gov/whoswho/email.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.

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 mischievous amendments. Where KRC has taken a position concerning a bill it is indicated with a plus (+) or two minuses (to make searching easier!) (--). The primary sponsor and current status of the bill are also noted by Committee or chamber.

Senate Bills

SB 5 (Thayer) (H. Rules, Recommitted to H. Elections & Const Am.)

Would eliminate gubernatorial primary runoff elections.

SB 8 (Thayer)(H. Rules)

Comprehensive revisions to campaign finance laws.

SB 16 (Seum) (H. Rules)

Bill responds to use of staff to promote ballot initiative in Metro Louisville, by restricting employees in the classified service in cities of the first class activities involving ballot initiatives during work hours and using public resources.

SB 22 (Tapp) (To Governor)

Would create a certification program for licensure of home inspectors.

SB 58 (Burford) (H. Rules)

Increases penalty for torture of cat or dog to Class D felony.

SB 69 (Harris) (To Governor)

Original bill would reduce by half the Hazardous Waste Assessment Fund fee paid by Rohm and Haas and Safety Kleen on hazardous wastes used as fuel, and would reduce from 20% to 5% the amount of the fee transferred to the pollution prevention fund which is administered by the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center for funding pollution prevention programs.

Senate Committee amendment reduced the funding cut to KPPC and actually increased its funding, while further weakening the capability of the state to fund emergency response, and state superfund site remediation.

A House Committee Substitute that allows the ½ rate, but in return reauthorizes the program for 8 years and stabilizes the funding at a base of $1.8 million adjusted for inflation annually, and transferring an amount from the Petroleum Storage Tank Environmental Assurance Fund to offset the reduction.

SB 83 + (Harris)(To Conference)

The House amended this bill to incorporate the provisions of HB 313, a more comprehensive House net metering bill addressing these sources and providing for standardization of interconnection requirements, as well as removing caps on availability of net metering. The bill now goes to conference committee to hopefully work out a compromise.

SB 120 (Buford) (To Governor)

Would require booster seats for children under 7 years old and between 40 and 50 inches in height and specify penalties.

SB 127 (Buford)(To Governor)

Would remove the Henry Clay Law Office from the list of state-owned historic properties managed by the Division of Historic Properties.

SB 145 + (Stine)(S. Rules, Recommitted to Senate A&R)

Would require full consideration be given to bicycle and pedestrian ways in state transportation planning and construction, and development of standards for design and construction in roadway projects.

SB 156 -- (Leeper and Borders)(H. NR&Env)(posted)

Companion bill to HB 542, would revise state law to eliminate current prohibition against commencement of construction of a nuclear power facility in Kentucky until the PSC certifies that the US Government has identified and approved a demonstrable technology or means for permanent and terminal disposal of high level nuclear waste.

Proposed amendment to K.R.S. 278.600-610 would instead allow construction of such plants provided that the PSC certifies that the facilities’ plan for disposal of high level nuclear waste is in conformity with the “technology approved by the” US Government and that the cost of disposal can be calculated in order that an accurate economic assessment can be completed.

Public concern with the contribution of fossil fuel-generated electricity has breathed new life into the nuclear power industry, which accounts for some 20% of the national electricity generation but which has seen little licensing activity or new capital investment in decades. The issue has split the environmental community as well, with some rethinking nuclear energy as an alternative that in the generation of power releases no greenhouse gases.

KRC believes that the policy discussion should be joined in our Commonwealth concerning the role, if any, of nuclear power, and assessment of the comparative footprints and health and environmental risks associated of various energy sources for the life cycle of the fuels and energy generation (including extraction and beneficiation/enrichment of the ores, disposal of tailings, aqueous and rod wastes; mining, processing of coal, including emissions of radionuclides associated with combustion of pulverized coal from traditional coal-fired plants and from resulting ash, and other life-cycle impacts of the fuel choices).

KRC does not, however, support revision of state law that would remove the requirement that permanent disposal for spent aqueous wastes and core rods be in operation prior to construction of any nuclear facilities in the Commonwealth, since indefinite on-site storage in dry casks and pools of spent wastes at existing facilities is not a responsible surrogate for permanent disposal, and elevates risks of accidental or intentional releases.

SB 165 (Leeper)(H. A&R)

Would establish the “Kentucky Bluegrass Turns Green Program” concentrating on energy demand-side management. Bill needs substantial revision, and includes unnecessary auditing requirements. Additionally, removing all savings from public sector energy efficiency projects in order to pay the debt service on bonds for private sector improvements, as the bill proposes, removes any incentive agencies would have to reduce spending on energy.

SB 196 (Smith and others)(To Governor)

Would amend existing Kentucky Recreation Trails Authority to increase membership and expand powers to improve recreational facilities on lands with recreational land use agreements. The expanded membership is weighted towards ATV and motorcycle users and does not comparably increase representation by other types of recreational users.

KRC prepared a memo on liability issues associated with the bill, and in response, House Floor Amendment. 3 was adopted, clarifying that landowners receive limited immunity from liability for dangerous conditions but not blanket immunity as the initial bill had provided.

SB 213 + (Jones) (H. NR & Env)

Would modify mine safety laws to require posting of GPS locations for evacuation sites for air evacuation of injured miners from minesites.

SB 242 (Gibson) (To Governor)

Creates a state beekeeping fund within the Department of Agriculture to assist in promoting, improving and protecting the beekeeping industry in Kentucky.

SB 243 (Ridley and others)(To Governor)

Would include wastes from coal gasification into the category of “special wastes.”

KRC had concerns regarding the bill, which were addressed in a committee substitute that KRC negotiated with representatives of a gasification company and the Cabinet. The typical by-products of the gasification of coal or petcoke or a mixture of the two under conditions where the solid byproducts are vitrified, are a coarse fraction known as "FRIT" and a carbonaceous fines fraction or (CFF). The CFF fraction has a high heating value and is typically recycled through the gasifier as a fuel source to improve coal utilization.

Testing using ASTM Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure and TCLP conducted on CFF reflects leaching potential for a number of metals and compounds above water quality standards including boron, cadmium, lead, nickel, selenium, zinc and arsenic. CFF is typically recycled into the gasifier. Due probably to the higher surface area ratio, CFF leaches constituents of concern at greater amounts than larger particles of vitrified frit.

The committee substitute gives the Cabinet a gatekeeper role of reviewing appropriate testing data and then approving specific waste streams from a gasification facility based on a demonstration of low hazard. The approach is a sound one, since there is fairly little data on leaching characteristics of IGCC coal gasification wastes and some of the IGCC processes do not result in the same degree of vitrification of the wastes as others.

Senate Resolutions

SJR 72 + (Jones)(H. NR&Env)

Would direct the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to require emergency action plans for all high and significant hazard impoundments. Senate counterpart to House Joint Resolution 60.

The committee substitute to the bill maintains the requirement for development of an emergency action plan but provides greater clarity in terms of the timeframes and requirements for the plans, and limits plan development to high hazard potential impoundments where failure could cause loss of human life. KRC appreciates the good faith work of both the Kentucky Coal Association and Farm Bureau in assisting in the development of this consensus bill.

SJR 76 + (Harper Angel)(To Governor)

Would require Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to submit a report to the LRC relating to electronic waste disposal and recycling.

House Bills

HB 2 + + (Adkins)(S. A&R)

Comprehensive energy bill providing an array of incentives for installation of renewables and for energy efficiency, broadening Kentucky River Authority mandate to include hydro, providing tax incentives for construction of ENERGY STAR homes, creating a mandate for high performance buildings for state owned and leased buildings, and directing a study on renewable portfolio standards and public system benefit funds.

HB 18 (Owens, Cherry, Larry Clark) (To House For Concurrence)

Would eliminate gubernatorial primary runoff elections.

HB 70 (Owens, Crenshaw) (To Senate)

Would amend state constitution to provide for automatic restoration of voting rights to felons on completion of sentence.

HB 83 (Yonts) (To Governor)

Would amend existing law on water districts to revise manner in which districts can extend services and composition and manner of selection of boards.

HB 88 (Simpson) (To Governor)

Would extend authority to eliminate public nuisances presently held by cities of the first, second classes and consolidated local governments, to third and fourth-class cities

HB 91 (Cherry) (To Governor)

Would define "harassment, intimidation, or bullying" and require school districts to adopt policies for assisting students who are engaging in disruptive and disorderly behavior, including harassment, intimidation, or bullying of another student. Senate modifications to the bill will be reviewed by the House – the sponsor has indicated that he does not oppose those changes.

HB 106 (Denham) (To Governor)

Would require junkyards and other purchasers of ferrous and nonferrous metals and objects containing ferrous and nonferrous metals to keep records of transactions and criminalize failure to maintain a register of purchases of metals and objects containing metal.

HB 119 (Simpson) (S. Judiciary)

Would amend code enforcement board statute to establish schedule for civil penalties for code violations.

HB 124 (Westrom) (S. Rules)

Amends existing laws on certification of landscape architects

HB 216 (Wayne) (S. Judiciary)

Would require that proceeds from donated easements that are part of the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE) Program be paid to donor or donor's heirs after the easement is terminated.

HB 233 + (Simpson, Gooch & Santoro) (To Governor)

Original bill would have allowed a plastic container with a barrier layer to be coded as a “1” rather than a “7” if the resin layer “is compatible with or removed from the recycling stream,” and as a “7” if it is “not compatible for the purposes of recycling.

KRC was concerned that the coding of a multi-layer bottle containing a nylon barrier layer as a "1" would have a negative effect on the plastics recycling industry.

KRC proposed alternative language that allows the coding of containers with barrier layers with the predominant resin if the manufacturer demonstrated that it had conducted the studies required by the Association for Postconsumer Plastic Recycling (APR) and had received a “compatibility letter” indicating that the container would not adversely affect the existing recycling stream. The parties approved the proposal and it was approved by the Committee as House Committee Substitute to the bill. KRC’s approach recognizes that innovation in packaging is occurring yet assures that the existing recycling framework is not disrupted by packaging that is not designed with recyclability in mind.

HB 250 (Cherry, Vincent) (To Conference)

Comprehensive reform of executive branch ethics code to include new restrictions on acceptance of awards and use of state time for certain purposes, on acceptance of donations to defense funds, and extending scope of persons covered by code.

HB 251 (Yonts) (S. State & Local Govt)

Would revise government contract review and reporting requirements, particularly with respect to higher education institutions.

HB 313 + (Moberly, Pasley, Pullin)(S. Ag&NR)

Would amend net metering law to broaden availability of net metering of renewable power onto the electric grid to include wind, biomass, biogas, and hydro, as well as solar, and would establish a statewide interconnection and net metering standard. Committee substitute was approved with no dissenting vote, and increases eligible generation to 50kW from 15, and increases cumulative cap from .1 to 1%.

SB 83 was amended by the House to include the provisions of HB 313, which were rejected by the Senate. A Conference Committee has been appointed by both Chambers and will meet on April 14 to attempt to craft a compromise bill.

HB 319 + (Edmonds and Rader) (To Governor)

Would allow for voluntary agreements between property owners and local government for demolition of dilapidated buildings. The original bill would have allowed the property owner and county to agree on who would bear responsibility and liability for any potential environmental contamination. Language was included at KRC’s request removing that language and replacing it with language clarifying that the parties can contract as to who would bear responsibility for disposal of the demolition wastes, asbestos and other materials, and that the disposition would be consistent with K.R.S. Chapter 224.

HB 322 (Simpson) (S. Rules - Consent)

Amends Chapter 100 regarding land use planning to provide that legislative bodies must act on proposed comprehensive plan goals and objectives within 90 days of transmittal from a planning commission or those goals and objectives are deemed adopted.

HB 330 (Horlander and others) (To Governor)

Amends open meetings law to allow notices of special meetings to be sent by email to agency members and media organizations that have requested such a method of notice rather than by fax or regular mail. Posting of written notice of special meetings is still required 24-hours before the meeting. Bill would be improved by requiring posting of electronic notice of special meetings on the websites of those agencies in addition to posting written notice in the building, and KRC will be talking with the interested parties and the sponsor about revising the statute in the 2009 Session to do so.

HB 406 (Moberly and others)(To Governor)

Executive Branch Budget.

The enacted budget is a slight improvement over the Governor’s disastrous environmental protection budget proposal. The proposed approximately $4M general fund cut proposed in the Governor’s budget appears to have been adopted in the final budget and will substantially impact DEP’s ability to administer and provide personnel resources, particularly for state mandated programs (the many programs that do not have a federal mandate or federal matching monies).

With this proposed general fund budget cut it is projected that personnel cap levels could be reduced to levels not experienced since the mid- and early 1990’s despite the Department being given the responsibility for implementing numerous additional federal and state programs since that time.

The short-term budget impacts in FY2009-2010 are significant enough, and may cause reductions in inspections and monitoring activity, increased permit review backlog and diminished customer service. Plus, there are substantial implications of reducing the general fund "base budget" for future budgets that could potentially create a structurally imbalanced and significantly under-funded budget long-term. In addition to reduced ability to administer a number of programs, recent gains accomplished through reduction of permit backlogs and improvements in several other environmental measures may be lost.

Finally, in addition to the overall budget reduction concerns, a large projected number of staff retirements are expected over the course of the next 3 to 10 months resulting in both retirement payouts and loss of a large number of experienced staff in many critical areas. This creates an especially difficult and challenging situation for DEP to administer its programs over the course of the next two fiscal years.

KRC had recommended that in order to partially offset the restoration of the $4 million and the increased appropriations, and to end the subsidization of pollution by the public, include language in the EPPC budget requiring that the agency adopt a schedule of fees for all permits that would fully recover from the applicant the costs of agency review and processing of the license permit or authorization.

The enacted budget did restore funds from the state highway fund to the Kentucky Pride Fund to support local litter collection and abatement programs at $5 million dollar. The Governor’s budget failed to include funds for 2008-9, yet the mandate of the EPPC to provide such funds was not suspended.

The enacted budget also reduced the amount of funds transferred from the supposedly dedicated Kentucky Pride Fund. The Governor had proposed to remove $2M in funds, and the enacted budget removes “only” $1.25M each year. This transfer could nevertheless result in a reduction of funding for the cleanup of open dumps as well as recycling grants and household hazardous waste collection grants.

The enacted budget authorizes the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority to leverage receipts of the state revolving loan accounts A and F in order to support a bond issue that will expand the ability of the KIA to support water and sewer projects across the state. The Governor’s budget failed to include that authorization, which would use no general fund monies and would have no external budgetary impacts.

The enacted budget also improved on the Governor’s proposal by restoring funding for the Kentucky Division of Forestry state tree seedling nurseries, which annually supply three to five million seedlings at a low cost to landowners across the state for replanting and restoration. An average of one million seedlings is used annually in strip mine reclamation and current permits will require over 26.5 million seedlings over the next ten years.

The enacted budget also slightly improved the funding for the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission over the Governor’s budget. The impact of proportional budget cuts on the smaller agencies and commissions over recent years has had a disproportionately negative impact on their ability to perform statutory obligations. Charged with management of the state’s nature preserves and maintenance and development of data on state species that is essential to many permitting programs, the Commission’s funding had been inadequately provided for during the next biennium by the Governor. KRC had sought to increase their appropriations in both years of the budget by $300,000 over Governor’s recommendations, and the enacted budget provides an additional $93,000 in general fund dollars in FY 09 and $99,600 in FY 10.

KRC appreciates the work of Representative Moberly and the other Conferees, and A&R staff and Ruth Webb in improving on the Governor’s budget proposal.

HB 434 + (Damron)(S. Ag NR)

Would direct the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to establish standards for remediation of mold in private and public settings.

HB 484 + (Butler & Hoffman) (To Governor)

Would require governing board of higher education institutions to purchase Kentucky-grown agricultural products if available. Extends a purchasing preference already in effect for state agencies under Chapter 45A.

HB 486 (Simpson) (S. State & Local Govt)

Defines which entity is the “Executive Authority” for purposes of code enforcement boards.

HB 506 (Wilkey)(To Governor)

Establishes rules governing annexation by a city of areas including city-owned utility infrastructure.

HB 613 -- (Hall)(S. Eco Dev. Tourism & Labor)

Would establish a system to permit off-road and ATVs on public lands, including state wildlife management areas, using Fishtrap Lake as a pilot project. Motorized ORV use in wildlife management areas and certain other public lands could compromise the use of those lands for other recreation or wildlife purposes. Public and resource agency input is needed in identification of which lands would be appropriate. Additionally, when coupled with the proposed change in Senate Bill 196 to increase disproportionately the representation of motorcycle and motorized ORV users on the Recreational Trails Authority, KRC is concerned that the advocacy of use of public lands for that limited class of users will be advanced without adequate consideration of the range of other less intrusive uses.

HB 618 (Adams & McKee)(To Governor)

Would amend existing law relating to out of season killing or trapping by landowners of damage-causing wildlife.

HB 626 (Denham and others)(To Governor)

Would amend current law relating to the Kentucky Proud agricultural promotion program.

HB 649 (Webb-Edgington and others) (To Governor)

Revises existing law concerning the notification system for prevention of damage to underground pipelines and cables from excavation

HB 675 (McKee and R. Adams) (Senate - Consent)

Would revise functions and membership of the Kentucky Agriculture Resources Development Authority.

HB 689 (Pasley and others)(S. Transp)

Would create a Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority empowered to facilitate financing of major transportation projects and to own those projects, with the power to issue revenue bonds and impose tolls.

HB 690 (Rand) (To Governor)

Would authorize creation of “natural gas acquisition authorities” to acquire supplies of natural gas for municipal utilities and contract for their sale.

HB 698 (Coursey)(To Governor)

Would exempt from definition of coal processing, for purposes of imposition of the coal severance tax, the use of electromagnetic energy on coal to reduce moisture, ash, sulfur or mercury in the coal.

HB 717 + (Adkins, Webb)(To Governor)

Would amend existing laws concerning implementation of mitigation projects using in-lieu fees paid under the Section 404 program to create local stream restoration and mitigation authorities. KRC worked with other stakeholders to revise concept and produced a committee substitute that provides for greater local input on water resource restoration and mitigation projects.

HB 765 + (Pullin) (S. Rules - Consent)

Revises current law on remediation of methamphetamine contaminated properties to provide for development of regulations on decontamination standards, sample collection, response responsibility, to clarify the types of financial assurance available; and to provide for disclosure to purchasers or lessees of the status of any property that has been used as a meth lab but not remediated under the standards of the law.

HB 767 (Adkins and others) (S. Eco Dev, Tourism & Labor)

Authorizes Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority to award tax incentives for one pilot project involving construction of an IGCC plant with advanced carbon capture and storage with a rated capacity of 300 mW proposed by a partnership of investor-owned utilities and with funding from DOE under the FutureGen or FutureGen replacement funding program.

House Resolutions

HJR 6 (Marzian) (S. Education)

Would create study group to develop Holocaust curriculum guidance for schools.

HJR 54 + (Pasley, Moberly, and others)(S.AgNR)

Resolution encouraging U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to promote private investment in the installation of hydroelectric generating units on all existing dams within and abutting the Commonwealth of Kentucky under its jurisdiction, by developing a memorandum of agreement with other federal and state agencies for prioritization of review and action on applications to install hydroelectric generating units.

HJR 68 (McKee and others)(Senate - Consent)

Resolution would reauthorize the Kentucky Aquaculture Task Force and require an updated state plan by November 1, 2008.

HJR 81 (Moberly and others)(S. A&R)

Would provide that the mandates and directives of the 2008-10 Executive Branch Budget have the effect of law.

HR 91 (Wayne and Clark)(To House Floor)

Would urge Congress to encourage EPA to establish standards for certification of conversion kits to allow use of vegetable oil for diesel engines.

HCR 93 (Webb & Osborne)(Senate - Consent)

Would reauthorize the Land Stewardship and Conservation Task Force.

HR 125 + (Pullin & Vincent) (S. Transp)

Resolution urging Congress to fund the upgrade and maintenance of locks and dams on the Ohio River.

KRC would recommend broadening the resolution to urge Congress to fully fund repair and replacement on Dam 10 on the Kentucky River and the Rochester Dam on the Green River.


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