The 2001 Kentucky General Assembly will reconvene on March 22 for the first of two scheduled veto days. The Senate has indicated that no new business will be taken up, but either the House or Senate could suspend the rules and consider enactment of legislation and resolutions.
One More Fax or Call Please!!!
Before March 22, please send a fax or place a call to Rep. Greg Stumbo's office asking that he:
* Not include a "gasification" amendment onany bills pending before the House; and
* Not bring SB 73, HB 218scs or SB 60 up fora vote before the House.
Greg's office can be called at 502-564-8100 or a message can be left for him at 1-800-372-7181. Rep. Stumbo's fax number is 502-564-0588.
Be sure to thank him also for his leadership on environmental issues this session and last. His steadfast refusal to enact a weak "brownfields" bill and his leadership on industrial agriculture issues have been very important and deserve praise!
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST LEGISLATIVE WEEK
* A stealth effort was made at the eleventh hour to amend an agriculture bill, HB 321, to include a definition of "gasification" into the state's central environmental law chapter, KRS Chapter 224. The amendment would have created an overbroad definition of "gasification" allowing any technology that creates a synthetic gas from organic matter, including trash, to be considered gasification rather than incineration, even though all garbage burning or thermal treatment creates such gases.
The amendment would have the immediate effect of allowing a company pushing a garbage "gasification" technology to avoid local government solid waste plan review and local government "consistency" approval requirements. The overbroad definition might also have negative air quality permitting impacts that would lessen needed controls over any technology thermally treating a variable waste such as garbage that includes many hazardous constituents and emits others during thermal treatment and decomposition.
The effort to pass this amendment in the Senate failed. A last minute effort may be made to insert this definition into a bill in the House during the veto days.
HB 237, the Governor's solid waste bill was amended in the Senate and failed to gain the required "supermajority" vote needed to pass the Senate because of the budgetary impacts of the Senate Amendments to the House-passed bill.
HB 291cs, which would have created a study of the role of vehicle emissions testing, passed the House but was not taken up by the Senate. It is likely that NO anti-VET bills will pass this session
SB 2, the text of which was replaced by the language of the House-passed HB 104, was negotiated and enacted by both House and Senate. This "brownfields bill" is awaiting the Governor's signature.
HR 133, a resolution supporting the designation of lands around Pine Mountain Settlement School as unsuitable for mining, was unanimously approved by the House.
HB 305, which grants the Public Service Commission clear authority to approve proposed low-income energy bill assistance programs proposed by electric and has utilities, easily passed the Senate and is awaiting the Governor's signature.
SB 73, SB 60, and HB218SCS, which would have restricted adoption of emergency regulations to "imminent" harm cases and would have imposed a general "no more stringent than" prohibition against adoption of state regulations in excess of federal minimum standards, appear to be dead. The House could accept the Senate Amendments to HB 218 and pass SB 73 or SB 60.
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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, which committee it has been assigned to for hearing, and other legislative information, visit the Legislature's Homepage at
The toll phone number to reach a legislator in person is 502-564-8100.
The toll-free bill status line is 1-877-765-0447.
The toll-free message line is 1-800-372-7181, to leave a message for a legislator or a committee.
THE BEST WAY TO REACH LEGISLATORS
Did you know that for a single fax to 502-564-6543, you can reach any legislators that you want to contact? You can send a 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 webpage has a list of all legislators and all committee members.
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CURRENT STATUS OF SIGNIFICANT BILLS
In this section, those bills of environmental or government significance are profiled, including those which have been delivered to the Governor for signature and those which realistically could be acted on during the two-day veto session.
HB 20 (Belcher) (To Governor)
Amends KRS Chapter 246, which is the general enabling statute for the Department of Agriculture, to define "agriculture," "horticulture," "aquaculture," "poultry" and "livestock." KRS Chapter 246 largely deals with the powers and functions of the Department of Agriculture. The immediate effect of these broad definitions would be to include aquaculture as an agricultural operation, and to include nursery operations as horticulture. The bill went through "cleanly" as Rep. Belcher had committed, and was not used to tack on amendments to protect corporate agriculture.
HB 40 (Richards) (To Governor) Creates a certification program for communities seeking to attract retirees to settle in Kentucky.
HB 55 (Wayne, Riggs) (To Governor) Establishes training requirements for planning commission and board of zoning adjustment members and planning and zoning officials and staff.
HB 100 (Barrows, Thomas, P.Clark) (To Governor) Creates an industrial hemp research program.
HB 103 (Damron) (To Governor) Allows on-site sewage systems inspection and certification by a private civil engineer, with final inspection by health department.
HB 139 (To Governor) clarifies the reporting requirements for lobbying organizations to make them monthly during legislative sessions on odd and even years.
HB 143 (Yonts) (To Governor) Amends 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. The state law was overbroad and compromises citizen and state-based enforcement efforts. These changes narrow the law and will avoid federalization of air, water, and waste permits.
HB 218 (J. Arnold) (House Rules) (-) Bill amends Chapter 13A dealing with administrative regulations, to revise procedures for fiscal notes, and to extend the time during which the Administrative Regulation review committee has to review a proposed regulation. Bill was amended in the Senate to insert a prohibition on emergency regulations except in cases of imminent harm, and to impose a "no more stringent than" prohibition on state regulations exceeding federal minimums.
HB 238 (Wilkey and others) (To Governor) (-) Amends tax increment financing mechanisms, is intended to help the "Transpark" in Bowling Green. A Senate amendment demands that the project show a net positive impact.
HB 258(Yonts) (To Governor) Reorganizes the state Mining Board, which oversees mine safety violations.
HB 305 (Nunn and others) (To Governor) (+) Amends the Public Service Commission powers to allow them to approve a Demand-Side Management Program proposes by regulated utilities, to include home energy assistance to low-income consumers.
HB 325 (J. Arnold, Gooch) (To Governor) Allows tax credits for coal mining companies that employ over 500 and produce over 4 million tons of coal.
SB 2 (Leeper, Karem) Voluntary remediation (brownfields) bill. Enrolled and delivered to governor, awaiting signature.
SB 47 (Sanders) Extends existing priorities in KEDFA economic assistance to include the secondary wood products industry. Enrolled and delivered to Governor.
SB 60 (David Williams) (House Rules)(-) Bill seeks to place limits on form and content of Executive Orders, creating a referral process to the legislative leadership prior to such orders becoming effective, establishing sunset provisions for any administrative bodies created by executive order.
Bill also amends KRC Chapter 13A relating to administrative regulations to further curtail the issuance of emergency administrative regulations by eliminating the Governor's power to declare an emergency where the immediate adoption of a regulation is needed to "protect human health and the environment" except in the case of imminent harm.
SB 73 (Roeding, Seum) (House Rules)(-) The bill would, among other things, eliminate the Governor's authority to adopt emergency regulations needed to protect public health and the environment until the harm was imminent. It has one positive aspect, which is to clarify that the public comment period on regulations runs a full 30 days, rather than the confusing and much shorter period, which now occurs in the absence of a public, hearing on proposed regulations. Despite this provision, the bill should be opposed. It was amended in the Senate Committee in response to the Council's concerns but remains an unreasonable curtailment of the Governor's emergency powers.
SCR 1 Calls for a study of ways to protect Blackacre Nature Preserve from development impacts. Enrolled and delivered to Governor.
SCR 41 (House Rules) authorizes the Interim Joint Committee of A & R to study freight and passenger rail initiatives.