AND THE ENVELOPE PLEASE . . . . . . .
Thirty Legislative Days, 579 Bills, 333 Resolutions, and now, the final wrap-up.
In keeping with the time of year, here are the legislative Oscars:
In the category of "bills we'd rather not see become law," these candidates all thankfully failed to become law:
* an effort to amend state law to include a definition of "gasification" that would have exempted a solid waste thermal slow-cooking technology from local solid waste plan review and local government approval was defeated;
* three bills that would have limited the Governor's emergency regulation power and would have imposed "no more stringent than" provisions across-the-board in state regulations, were not approved;
* three anti-VET bills aimed at curtailing or eliminating vehicle emissions testing programs were defeated;
* House Bill 176, which would have eliminated both setbacks and integrator liability for corporate swine and poultry operations, did not emerge from committee;
* Senate Bill 144, which would require an unreasonable degree of precision in agency imposition of fees in their regulations, failed to gain passage;
* Senate Bill 172, a constitutional amendment to give legislators the power to veto regulations during the legislative interim, did not emerge from committee. The amendment would have had a detrimental effect on environmental protection regulations, among others.
In the "opportunities missed" category, these good bills failed to gain passage:
* House Bill 9, a bottle bill referendum was defeated by the House.
* House Bill 15, a bill to reform the right of eminent domain (condemnation) under KRS 278.502 for main natural gas transmission lines, in order to improve the rights of persons against whom eminent domain is sought, was not enacted.
* House Bill 165, which required public notice and hearings on certain state-authorized capital projects, was not enacted.
* House Bill 183, a comprehensive solid waste bill that included an advance disposal fee to fund solid waste litter and education campaigns, was defeated on the House floor.
* House Bill 207, a bill to create public accountability in reporting on applicants for state economic development assistance, was not enacted.
* House Bill 193, a bill to clarify the Public Service Commission's obligation to provide public notice where any antenna tower for cellular or PCS communication is proposed, was not enacted.
* House Bill 237, the Governor's solid waste bill, failed to become law. A collaborative and comprehensive negotiation process similar to the successful approach used in 1991, is needed to create a workable bill that will ratchet up accountability in solid waste reduction, recycling and management.
* House Bill 246, a bill addressing city/county codes of ethics, and to curtail political fundraising by planning commission and board of zoning adjustment officials, was not enacted.
*House Concurrent Resolution 34, creating a Task Force on Home Energy Affordability, did not pass.
* House Concurrent Resolution 92, which would have authorized the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture to hear testimony and to conduct a study concerning agricultural contracting, did not pass, however the matter will be studied during the interim.
In the "best of the session" category, these bills became law:
* Senate Bill 2, a voluntary remediation/brownfields bill patterned after Rep. Bather's committee substitute to HB 104 instead of the troublesome Senate version, became law.
* House Bill 55, which establishes training requirements for planning commission and board of zoning adjustment members and planning and zoning officials and staff, became law.
* House Bill 143 amended the existing environmental audit privilege law to restrict its application, particularly in criminal cases. EPA had threatened to remove Kentucky's authority to implement the Clean Air Act because of the breadth of this "audit privilege" law, which allows companies to seek immunity from enforcement for self-discovered violations. These changes narrow the scope of the audit privilege.
* House Bill 305, which grants the Public Service Commission clear authority to approve proposed low-income energy bill assistance programs proposed by electric and has utilities, became law.
* House Resolution 133 supporting the designation of lands around Pine Mountain Settlement School as unsuitable for mining, was unanimously approved by the House.
* Senate Concurrent Resolution 1, which calls for a study of ways to protect Blackacre Nature Preserve from development impacts, became law.
In the "Unjustified Subsidies For Extractive Industry" Category,
* House Bill 325 allows additional tax credits for eligible coal mining companies that employ over 500 and produce over 4 million tons of coal.
In the "Facilitating Questionable Economic Development" Category,
* House Bill 238 amends tax increment financing laws to facilitate the financing of the Bowling Green "Transpark," an "intermodal" airport/economic development project whose benefits have been disputed and which failed to pass a federal cost-benefit review for financing by the FAA. A Senate amendment at least requires that the state not approve the financing "unless there is a net positive economic impact."