Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.
Post Office Box 1070
Frankfort, Kentucky 40602
(502) 875-2428 phone (502) 875-2845 fax
March 11, 2002
Below is the most recent update, complete as of today. This legislative update replaces the prior updates. Information about how to contact your legislator follows as the end of this update.
The Council does not have recommendations on each bill. Some bills are tracked for general interest; others simply to assure that they do not become vehicles for industry-sponsored amendments. Recommendations are indicated with a plus (+) or minus (-).
SB 1 (Williams)(S. Floor with Committee Sub.) (-)
Contains numerous changes to law relating to Executive Branch powers and regulation review. Requires legislative review prior to any Executive Order relating to all but listed minor matters to be reviewed by a legislative committee prior to becoming effective. Sunsets all administrative bodies created by Executive Order or by an executive branch official at the end of that administration unless enacted into law. SB 1 also modifies the composition of several standing and permanent committees of the legislature.
Concerning administrative regulations, in response to the Franklin Circuit Court decision voiding the current legislative regulation review process in part, the bill proposes that if the reviewing legislative committee finds a regulation deficient, that regulation will take effect but is included in legislation that will voted on by the General Assembly in the following session (and which can be amended to include or delete other regulations). If the finding of deficiency is ratified by the legislature adopting the resolution, the regulation sunsets and a similar regulation cannot be adopted for one year thereafter.
The bill lumps together into a single bill all regulations deemed deficient by any interim committee, and then provides that if the determination of deficiency is ratified by passing the bill, the regulation sunsets and cannot be repromulgated for a year. In order to assure proper consideration of each regulation by the General Assembly, KRC believes that deficient regulations should be individually presented to the full General Assembly in individual bills, or that related regulations addressing the same substantive areas should be grouped into bills by subject area, in order to assure more substantive scrutiny by the legislature and legislative committees during the time that the General Assembly is in session.
SB 12 (Boswell) (S. A&R) (-)
For facilities and persons engaged in qualified research in biotechnology, this bill creates income tax credit for costs of biotechnology facilities of up to 5% of the cost of biotechnology facilities, 30% of the cost of employee training, 20% of the cost of qualified research, allowing an offset of the first 50,000 of income tax liability and 50% of the remaining liability, with a 9-year carry forward.
SB 13 (Jackson) (House Ag Sm. Bus, posted)
The companion bill to HB 319, this bill seeks to encourage state agencies to purchase Kentucky-grown fresh produce, fresh seafood, eggs, fish and meat products if available.
SB 19 (D. Adams) (S. State & Local Government) (-)
Extends from three to seven days the time for a public agency to respond to a request to inspect and copy public records.
SB 21 (D. Adams) (S. AgNR) (-)
Creates a ten-year tax credit of up to 10% of start-up & capital costs for new companies mining or processing coal, and allows those companies to assess a 6% job assessment fee on employees. Employees would have an offsetting credit against state and local occupational taxes.
There exist many direct and indirect subsidies to the coal industry, each of which have fiscal impacts on the general fund or other funds affecting taxpayers, as well as economic impacts in the form of health, welfare and environmental quality. For example, recent sessions have seen new incentives for combustion of Kentucky coal. There also exist numerous indirect subsidies actions which facilitate the industry at public expense, ranging from state police and highway department non-enforcement of state laws against overweight and speeding coal trucks; to lax regulation of mining performance bond replacement and coal waste impoundments.
The Council believes that a comprehensive review of direct and indirect costs and benefits associated with the production, processing, haulage and utility consumption of coal is justified prior to enacting new incentives.
SB 31 (Roeding) (To House State Govt)
Increases legislative oversight over executive branch expenditures under contracts, personal service contracts and memoranda of understanding.
SB 33 (Roeding) (To House State Government) (-)
Similar to a bill by the same sponsor in the 2001 session, this bill seeks to curtail further the regulatory powers of the Executive Branch, preventing emergency regulations except where the threat to the public or environment is imminent,
The bill also modifies language in existing law so as to limit the ability of a state agency to adopt a regulation more stringent than a federal counterpart regulation, unlike existing law that requires only that the manner in which the regulation differs or is more stringent must be disclosed. The bill is contrary to the public interest in unduly hampering the executive branch from adopting regulations to address emergencies.
SB 34 (Harris) (recommitted to S. A&R) (+, with concerns)
Creates the Kentucky-Clean program, with a statewide Board to coordinate and administer a funding program for litter abatement and prevention. Funded by as-yet identified general fund appropriation and voluntary state tax check-off.
The bill improves on an earlier version by recognizing the important role of the local solid waste governing body and solid water coordinator in any local solid waste anti-litter efforts, and building on existing programs, but suffers from a lack of a robust and durable source of funds.
SB 40 (Kelly) (recommitted to S. Eco. Dev., Tourism) (-)
Extends from one to two years after a county is decertified as one eligible for incentives based on high unemployment, the ability of a project to gain incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority. Same as SB 20 except that it includes one additional statutory citation beyond SB 20.
SB 61 (Sanders) (Passed Both Houses)
Amends existing law to provide for guaranteed energy savings contracts in which payment is made from verified energy savings as a result of efficiency measures.
SB 72 (Westwood) (Recommitted to S. A&R) (+)
Provides a tax credit for restoration expenses for residential structures in zones identified by the Kentucky Heritage Council as restoration zones located in older neighborhoods.
SB 102 (Seum) (To House State Govt.)(-)
Bill would direct the Jefferson County Air Pollution District to develop a plan for meeting air quality goals without a vehicle emissions testing program.
The bill is an unwarranted intrusion into the ability of the District and the community to determine for itself the most efficient and effective means of attaining and maintaining air quality improvements. It would require elimination of the VET program and would prevent the Air Pollution Control District from reinstating the program when Jefferson County is redesignated as non-attainment under the new ozone standard. The elimination of the VET program will require even more drastic cuts in emissions from other sources, and may jeopardize federal transportation money.
SB 103 (Roeding) (S. State and Local Govt) (-)
Bill would propose a constitutional amendment allowing the General Assembly to impose limits on recovery in lawsuits of punitive and exemplary damages.
Damages are a crude approximation of justice for persons injured by environmental harm or damage from consumer products that are poorly designed. Where the regulatory laws prove ineffective at protecting individuals from harm, and the court or jury finds that the defendant has violated the law in such a manner as to demonstrate conduct more culpable or outrageous than mere negligence, punitive damages exist to punish the behavior by imposing a monetary judgment sufficient to remove the incentive for illegal behavior. The possibility of such judgments is often the only effective means of curtailing corporate abuse in the environmental and consumer realm is resort to litigation, with the possibility of imposition of damages to punish illegal behavior. The Kentucky Constitution guarantees that no causes of action existing at the time of the adoption of the Constitution will be abridged; an important protection for the public and assurance that the courthouse doors will remain open to those injured and seeking redress. So-called tort reform measure such as this that would limit recovery for punitive damages would deprive injured parties and juries of the ability to affect illegal corporate behavior, and should be vigorously opposed.
SB 114 (Denton and McGaha) (S. State and Local Govt) (+)
Proposed constitutional amendment to repeal annual sessions.
SB 116 (Harris) (+) (To H. Floor)
Would amend existing law to clarify that Public Service Commission members serve on a full time basis.
SB 120 (Borders) (S. State Govt)(-)
Proposed amendment to state Constitution to repeal 12 sections of the state Constitution relating to control over corporations and allowing instead the General Assembly to regulate corporations by general law. Among those sections eliminated would be constitutional provisions:
requiring that corporations carrying on business in the state have an authorized agent for process and a place of business in the state, which is important to assuring that corporations not domiciled in Kentucky will be accountable in courts;
controlling issuance of stocks and bonds to assure sales at fair value;
protecting against corporations infringing on the rights of individuals and assurance that corporations are subject to the state s police power and to condemnation powers;
creating a duty on the part of the General Assembly to enact laws in order to prevent trusts, pools or other combinations from price fixing where an article s price is fixed above or below value;
assuring that where a domestic corporation merges with a foreign corporation the resulting merged company does not become foreign but instead remains subject to the jurisdiction of the state;
prohibiting foreign corporations (those incorporated outside of Kentucky) from receiving more favorable conditions than prescribed by law for domestic corporations;
prohibiting a corporation from leasing or selling its franchise to another;
requiring the General Assembly to provide by law for revocation of corporate charters for companies guilty of abuse or misuse of their corporate powers, privileges or franchises, or when corporations become detrimental to the interests and welfare of the Commonwealth;
defining corporations to include joint stock companies and associations.
These state constitutional provisions act to restrain the power of corporations and to impose duties and restraints on the General Assembly s ability to legislate in the area of corporation law. A repeal of these constitutional provisions, all of which have been in effect since the 1891 Kentucky Constitution was adopted, would vest considerably more power in the General Assembly to define when and if corporations domiciled outside the state would be subject to suit for their activities in state; to allow or prevent price fixing; to allow or prevent the sale of below value bonds and stocks; and to allow corporations to infringe on the rights of the state or the individual. Perhaps most troubling, the General Assembly would gain complete discretion in determining when or if a corporate charter would be revoked; and would be authorized to eliminate or weaken controls on dissolution of corporations for abuse or misuse of corporate charter or power.
SB 136 (Roeding)(to House State Govt)(-)
Bill amends Open Records Act to provide new exclusions from disclosure to public of utility systems, airport security plans, radio and telecommunication emergency systems and public hospital terrorism response plans and government security systems.
SB 143 (Roeding)(To House Rules)
Senate counterpart to House Bill 124, clarifying that a variance from zoning regulations under Chapter 100 includes length of structures as well as height, width and location of structures.
SB 144 (Sanders)(S. A&R)
Executive Branch Budget
SB 154 (Miller and Blevins)(S. State &Local Govt.)
Bill making several changes to Legislative Branch Ethics Code, including exempting transportation or lodging offered to legislators from being considered as "anything of value", prohibiting legislators from using public funds for mass mailings within 60 days of elections, and other changes.
SB 158 (R. Jones, Johnny Turner, Jackson & Mongiardo) (S. A&R) (+)
Senate version of HB 556, establishing and defining the Pine Mountain Trail State Park, a 120 mile-long trail at the Kentucky-Virginia border.
SB 169 (Roeding and others)(To House Rules)
Modifies frequency of testing of official vehicles from annual to the same frequency as other cars (biannual in northern Kentucky, annually in Jefferson County currently).
SB 175 (Seum and Denton)(Recommitted to S. A&R)
Extends designation of identified "enterprise zones" to July 1, 2004. Floor amendments seek to further extend designation to 2005 or 2006, and to designate Muhlenberg County as an enterprise zone until 2008.
SB 176 (Guthrie and others) (To House Rules)
Amends law to allow a city-owned utility to sell power not only to a utility regulated by the Public Service Commission but also to another city-owned utility.
SB 179 (Harris)(House Ag. Sm. Bus., posted)
Amends existing definition of "agricultural land" for purposes of lower property tax valuation, allowing lands used for aquaculture to be assessed at lower rates provided the property is a minimum of 5 acres.
SB 193 (Sanders) (S. Rules with Senate Committee Sub) (-)
Bill amends various provisions of law addressing petroleum underground storage tank fund.
This dedicated tax was intended to fund the removal and cleanup of contamination from old leaking underground gas storage tanks. The fund has, unfortunately, been subject to periodic "raids" from the Executive and Legislative Branch, seeking to use the fund monies to balance budget shortfalls. The Patton Administration proposes to remove the bulk of the money, 94 million, for this budget cycle.
While the Senate Committee Substitute corrects some of the problems identified by KRC in the original bill, the bill remains problematic because there are still many sites containing leaking underground storage tanks, and this bill artificially cuts off the ability to seek reimbursement for tanks to those registered by July 15, 2002. It will come as a great shock to the public to find that the gas tax money they have been paying into a fund to assure that all of these tanks are found, removed and remediated, won't be spent on those cleanups because of an arbitrary deadline established to facilitate the shifting of these supposedly dedicated funds to other purposes.
KRC believes that the transfer of funds from what is supposed to be a dedicated tax for remediation of underground storage tank contamination is inappropriate.
The public, (who has been picking up the tab for this remediation program because big oil dumped these underground storage tanks on the "mom and pop" gas stations and groceries for $1 years ago), has a right to expect that these funds will be spent wisely and for their intended purpose that all contamination of concern, including MTBE, will be remedied from these sites; and that dedicated underground storage tank funds will not be reprogrammed to support the road fund.
The Senate Committee adopted an amendment that transfers "surplus" monies first to a fund to support closing old landfills, and then to the road fund. While a laudable purpose, the shifting of funds is inappropriate given the existence of sites as yet unaccounted for that will need remediation and should be considered eligible without regard to arbitrary deadlines.
SB 194 (Turner and others) (House Nat. Res.) (-)
Allows one-year extension to drilling permits for oil and gas. Current law sunsets drilling permits one year after issuance unless drilling is commenced within that year. The House version of this bill has been amended to protect surface landowners against retroactive application of this change.
SB 197 (Leeper) (S. Rules)
Amends planning and zoning laws addressing manufactured housing.
SB 199 (Neal) (S. Licensing and Occupations)(+)
Counterpart of HB 572.
SB 200 (D. Williams) (S. State and Local Govt) (-)
This bill is intended to trump the Patton v. Sherman decision by summarily voiding any administrative regulations that were identified as deficient by any legislative committee since 1988, and by prohibiting the publication of any administrative regulation that is identical or substantially similar to any such regulation.
A review of the regulations deemed "deficient" by the regulation review subcommittee and other legislative review committees over the past 13 years will reflect numerous environmental regulations that were fully consistent with state law but were struck down as deficient because a handful of legislators determined them to be so. The court decision striking that legislative power to delegate to a committee the power to directly or indirectly void regulations, restored the proper balance of power between the branches of government. This bill, by failing to individually review and ratify the decisions made by those committees in voiding agency regulations, and by instead summarily adopting and giving effect to those past committee actions over a 13 year period, does a great disservice to the public.
SB 209 (Harris) (S AgNR)
Creates appeal process for denial of requests for Agriculture Development Board support and mandating development standards for such awards by agency.
SB 237 (Leeper) (A&R)(+ with amendment needed)
Bill establishes a statewide Public Transit Advisory Commission to advise the Secretary of Transportation on public transit issues and funding of public transit capital projects, including making recommendations on public transit priorities for the statewide transportation plan and the 6-year capital spending plans.
Bill establishes a statewide Public Transit Advisory Commission to advise the Secretary of Transportation on public transit issues and funding of public transit capital projects, including making recommendations on public transit priorities for the statewide transportation plan and the 6-year capital spending plans.
The Council has written the sponsor to request addition of two new positions for non-governmental non-profit organizations advocating for public transit opportunities, in order to allow organizations
SB 245 (Tori) (S. Ag. NR)
Bill modifies laws governing utility rate changes, requiring 60 rather than 30 days notice before rate changes. Bill requires PSC to show "good cause" for suspending rate changes, which current law does not require.
SB 257 (Harris)(S. Ag. NR) (+/-)
Senator Harris has introduced his own power plant siting bill. The bill contains improvements over HB 540, while in other areas, it lacks some of the needed detail contained in HB 540. SB 257 is an improvement over HB 540 in these areas:
* Includes permanent public membership on the Board in additional to a member of the public that will be appointed by the mayor or county-judge
* Requires consideration of all types of waste, including special waste (which would cover many utility wastes);
* Removes the special exemption carved out to favor one company regarding the setback requirements.
* Allows the siting board to consider whether the applicant has the financial, technical and managerial capacity to construct and operate the proposed facility.
* Clarifies that while the use of coal can be considered as a positive in reviewing the facility, any plant, whether coal-fired or not, must fully comply with the Act.
* Retains review of transfers of construction certificates and adds board review of whether the transferee has the financial, technical and managerial capacity.
* Tightens up what constitutes "commence to construct" to require a continuous program of construction, eliminating ceremonial dirt turning; however, the scope of the bill with respect to proposed plants that have commenced construction but which are not operating or holding all permits is unclear.
* Makes mandatory the Siting Board hearing in counties without zoning and planning. While KRC would like to see a mandatory hearing in all cases, this is an improvement over the Governor's bill.
* Removes regulated utility plants from the siting board review process, but begins to define the "environmental compatibility" review that regulated units must undergo under existing law. Under the bill, both merchant units and regulated units will have an "environmental compatibility" review conducted by the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet.
SB 257 has several areas in which strengthening and clarification is needed, but represents a better bill than the Governor's HB 540 in the areas identified above. The bill provides a good platform from which a comprehensive bill could be crafted.
SB 281 (Blevins) (-)
Seeks to remove from the Attorney General's office the power to determine compliance with Kentucky Open Meeting and Open records law and to place that power in a multi-person "Commission" comprised of lawyers appointed by the Governor, the Attorney General, the state Auditor, Secretary of State, and State Treasurer.
SB 287 (Mongiardo)
This bill attempts to allow the Kentucky Pioneer Energy plant proposed for Trapp Kentucky to avoid review and local government approval as a solid waste disposal facility. The bill seeks to mandate exemption of this plant and its handling of wastes from local review and control.
The plant proposes to "gasify" mixed solid waste and to combust the gases to produce electricity. Because the facility does not propose to remove recyclable materials, including paper and plastics, from the mixed wastes, current regulations do not allow it to be considered a "waste to energy" facility.
Under this bill, any incineration or gasification technology combusting solid wastes, including waste tires, for electricity would be considered a "waste to energy" facility and the facility siting and management of the wastes would be exempted from any waste management laws, including being exempted from local solid waste planning laws, which now require that the importation of wastes into a solid waste planning area for disposal be consistent with the local waste plan and receive local government review and approval.
SCR 17 (Brett Guthrie) (To Senate With House Amendments)(+)
Creates Kentucky Watershed Task Force to study the need for watershed management of Kentucky s waters. Report due November 30, 2002. The task force is a response to recent water conflicts with communities in adjoining states, which sparked an interest in a more systematic review of state policy. The study could be a vehicle for raising the legislative and public awareness of the importance of addressing water supply issues on a basinwide basis to complement watershed-based water quality efforts that are ongoing in the state. Amendments to the bill have added new members, including KRC and the Division of Water as participants.
HB 9 (Haydon) (H. Elections, Const. Affairs) (+)
Proposed Amendment to Kentucky Constitution to lower even-year legislative sessions from sixty to forty legislative days.
HB 12 (Lee) (To Senate Transportation)
Allows any vehicle hauling building materials to a home to exceed weight and dimension limits of the road.
HB 15 (Cherry) (Recommitted to H. A&R) (-)
Amends economic development statutes to redefine manufacturing to include limestone mining and processing. Currently all mining and mineral processing is exempted from manufacturing.
HB 28 (L.Clark) (HNREnv) (+ but amendments needed)
This bill is very similar to the Administration s solid waste bill from last session. It includes a requirement for mandatory curbside collection by 2004, or to have an alternative system in place and to clean up all dumps in that county by that date. Counties failing to meet that requirement will lose up to 10% of road funds. Bill also provides mechanisms for assessing and collecting fees for solid waste disposal, and empower solid waste coordinators to enforce litter laws.
The Council supports the goal of mandatory collection but remains concerned that the opt-out provision for counties with effective alternative programs is not reasonable (no county ever cleans up all open dumps, particularly with no additional funds) and contains no funding mechanism to allow counties to capitalize the costs of implementing solid waste collection programs, a cost that the Cabinet had previously identified as being in millions of dollars.
HB 40 (Tapp) (To Senate AgNR)(+)
Bill attempts to encourage use of biodiesel fuel (fuel made from renewable fats and vegetable oils). Has been modified from earlier version mandating biodiesel content for all diesel fuel sold in the state, to now require that diesel that is reformulated after January 1 2006 to achieve sulfur reductions shall use at least 2% biodiesel blend. Using biodiesel fuels may marginally increasing fuel costs at the pump, but lowers overall environmental costs by reducing air toxics and criteria air pollutants from diesel engines while creating new markets for Kentucky agricultural products.
HB 43 (Tapp) (Became Law)
Broadens provision allowing dealers to credit fuel taxes for fuels sold for agricultural purposes to include gasoline.
HB 46 (P. Clark, Marcotte) (H. Transp)
Exempts motor vehicles from state or local vehicle emissions testing programs for the first four model years of the vehicle.
HB 48 (Riggs) (To Senate Judiciary)
Would amend existing law to eliminate County Debt Commission and would modify appeal procedures for county bonds under KRS Chapter 300.
Working with the Department for Local Government, KRC obtained revisions to the proposed bill that assure a fair hearing before bond issues affecting county finances are approved, and which remove archaic language that posed an impediment to appeals of bond issuance decisions.
HB 61 (Denham) (H. A&R)(posted)
Would exempt straw, wood shavings, and sawdust used in agricultural pursuits from sales and use taxes.
HB 63 (Damron and Belcher) (H. Transp.)(+)
Clarifies that the state, for state and federal highways, and county government, for county roads, may set lower speed and weight limits for roads and ban or limit trucks on certain days or hours where needed for public safety and convenience. Also provides that county government may, with state Transportation Cabinet concurrence, lower speed limit or weight limit on a state highway of 44,000 lbs. or less to a lower speed and as low as 36,000 pounds weight limit.
HB 64 (Damron) (H. Elections & Const.)
Proposes adoption of the Wildlife Violator Compact by which participating states agree to promote compliance with wildlife resources laws by adopting citation and license suspension procedures complementing other states and providing for reciprocal enforcement. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) has indicated that it has concerns with the bill as written.
HB 75 (L. Belcher) (H.Rules)(-)(posting waived)
Exempts sewage services provided by a fiscal court from regulation by the Public Service Commission as a utility.
HB 88 (Burch) (To Senate Veterans & Mil.Affairs)
Provides additional specific authority to the Division of Emergency Management in conjunction with Department of Public Heath to assess statewide risks and preparedness to address biological and chemical agent terrorism; requires report to legislative committees.
HB 108 (Lee) (Recommitted to S. A&R)
Amends KRS Chapter 211 to outline the core mission of the Department for Public Health and to provide enabling authority.
HB 118 (Marcotte) (H. NREnv) (+, with revisions)
Requires that non-coal mining operations obtain a certification from the county that the use of county roads by trucks will not degrade the roads. If the county does not issue a certification, the mining interest can apply to the state Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet for approval by submitting a transportation impact plan demonstrating that the increased traffic will not pose a safety threat or degrade the ambient air on the roads from fugitive dust or spillage. The Cabinet shall approve or disapprove the plan and mining permit based on impacts on driver visibility, traffic congestion and driver and passenger safety and roadway integrity.
The bill makes express what the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet implicitly has currently authority to deny non-coal mining permits for sand, gravel, limestone and other extraction operations, where the use of county roads for haulage and access is incompatible with the surrounding area and uses along roads typically not designed to safely accommodate such heavy industrial traffic.
HB 121 (Tom McKee) (H. A&R)
Provides a tax credit for meat processors for processing on behalf of charitable organizations. The KDFWR has indicated that it supports the bill.
HB 124 (Draud) (Senate State & Local Govt)
Clarifies that a variance from zoning regulations under Chapter 100 includes length of structures as well as height, width and location of structures.
HB 125 (Stein and Marzian) (H. Judiciary)(+)
Amends various laws to include, among civil rights protected under state law, protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
HB 137 (Gooch) (-)(H. Elections & Const.)
Proposes an amendment to the Kentucky constitution to exempt unmined minerals, including oil, gas and coal, from property taxation.
HB 151 (Brandon Smith) (H. A&R)
Would exempt from state sales and use taxes 50% of the gross receipts of sales of manufactured or mobile homes.
HB 166 (Comer) (To Senate Eco Dev))
Requires Cabinet for Economic Development to prioritize efforts towards counties with 15% or higher unemployment.
HB 174 (Stumbo) (To Senate Ag NR)(+)
Imposes an environmental impact fee of ? of 1 cent on disposable cups and fast food packaging, and a $1 per ton tipping fee on municipal solid waste disposed at landfills, to fund the Kentucky Pride Fund."
The House Committee Substitute restructured the amounts and recipients of the monies generated by these fees, to reflect the Patton Administration's concerns. Under the modified bill, $9 million will go to the Cabinet to close former solid waste landfills; $9 million will be distributed per capita to counties that are free of open dumps, or which have and enforce mandatory collection, or which have effective universal collection programs. $10.5 million goes for anti-litter programs, with 1/3 to counties based on lane-miles for litter collection; 1/3 based on rural population and 1/3 on total population. Additionally, 1.5 million is allocated to the environmental education master plan. Surplus monies will go in part to Kentucky Parks and Fish & Wildlife Resources.
Additionally, authority to collect delinquent waste fees with property taxes is provided.
The bill is supported by city and county organizations, KDFWR and the Tourism Cabinet, and Governor Patton.
HB 176 (Meeks)(H. State Govt.) (+)
Establishes a Native American Heritage Commission to promote awareness of Native American influences in Kentucky, in conjunction with the Education Arts and Humanities Cabinet.
HB 185 (Cherry) (H. A&R)
Exempts beekeeping equipment and supplies from sales and use taxes.
HB 186 (Cherry) (H. Transp)
Makes revisions to speed limits on interstate, state and county roads, establishing default limits subject to being lowered where the Department of Highways determines necessary. For Interstates and 4-lane controlled access divided state roads the limits are set at 65 mph; limits also set for state and county roads.
HB 192 (G. Graham) (To Senate State & Local Govt)(+)
For any state-sponsored capital projects of over 6$ million dollars, this bill would require public notice and a public hearing on the scope and potential location of the project, written consideration of all comments received, and a report to the legislative oversight committee concerning the hearing, comments and responses.
HB 214 (Riggs) (H. State Govt)
Companion bill to SB 61, amending existing law to provide for guaranteed energy savings contracts in which payment is made from verified energy savings as a result of efficiency measures.
HB 225 (Wayne) (H. State Govt) (+)
Amends executive branch code of ethics to broaden applicability to include more Boards and Commissions and persons holding management positions by personal service contract, and to limit ability of members of such commissions to do business with those agencies, and to increase disclosure of interests.
HB 227(Wayne) (H. State Govt) (+)
Amends executive branch code of ethics to broaden applicability to include more Boards and Commissions and persons holding management positions by personal service contract, and to make other strengthening amendments.
HB 243 (Gooch and others) (Recommitted to H. A&R, posted) (-)
Amends current law assessing unmined minerals as a distinct interest in property for property tax purposes, by eliminating the assessment if the land is classified as agricultural or horticultural and the minerals and surface are owned by the same taxpayer. Appears broad enough to allow a mineral holding or mining company to avoid mineral taxation on lands held for future mineral production for all years up to the date of mining or mineral production provided that the lands are used for agricultural, timber or horticultural purposes in the meantime.
HB 244 (Wilkey) (Passed Both Houses)
Removes the sunset clause on the state hazardous waste assessment fund. A House floor amendment extends the life of the fund for 2 years unless reauthorized. A Senate committee amendment exempts steel industry wastes from assessment.
HB 248 (Branham and K. Hall) (H. Tourism, Eco. Dev. & Energy)
Requires the Public Service Commission to prohibit utilities, and Department of Insurance to prohibit insurers from issuing bills where due date is on a national holiday.
HB 250 (Geveden and Crenshaw) (Recommitted to S. A&R)
Confirms Executive Order 2001-1215 establishing Office of Financial Management in Natural Resources Cabinet.
HB 256 (John Adams and others) (H. Judiciary)
Cedes to the US TVA special agents and law enforcement officers concurrent criminal jurisdiction over all lands owned by TVA.
HB 257 (Riner and Richards) (H. Trans)
Requires fingerprinting and background check on applicants for hazardous material endorsements on commercial driver s licenses.
HB 275 (Gooch) (H A&R) (-)
This bill proposes to alter the Cabinet s adopted allocation of 95% of the allowable NOx credits to existing sources, with 5% to new sources, by mandating that 8% of the credits needed for electricity generating units be allocated to the new merchant plants in 2004, with 5% to new units after that date and 10% going to order to an efficient energy reserve pool that can be accessed by units burning at least 25% coal, garbage, waste tires, or any combination, and using clean coal or other state of the art technologies.
The NOx credits are allowances that will be allocated by the Cabinet to electrical generating units emitting NOx, and which those facilities must hold in order to lawfully emit NOx after the control period begins. Recognizing that the ratepayers have paid already for these credits, and that all but one generating unit in the state will be installing NOX controls at ratepayer expense, the Cabinet allocated the bulk of the credits to existing units. For each credit not allocated to a regulated utility generating unit, that utility will have to purchase the credit in the marketplace, paying market price, because the utility has an obligation to serve the customer. The result is that the ratepayers will bear higher costs.
The allocation of NOx credits to new sources facilitates the operation of those sources in the state. Unfortunately, those cleaner sources of electricity are not offsetting the existing plants, but are in addition to those plants, since they are merchant plants whose output is not intended not needed by Kentucky ratepayers.
The Council supports meaningful and continuous reductions in utility emissions, and does not support subsidization of the merchant plant industry by allocating NOx credits from regulated utilities to the merchant plants. After the fourth year, those plants will become part of the existing unit base and will share in the allocation, causing additional reductions from all participating units. For the first three years, those merchant units and their customers should bear the cost of acquiring NOx allowances in the marketplace.
HB 294 (Geveden and others) (House Rules With Committee Sub)
Would exempt from sales and use tax the gross receipts from the sale of uranium purchased for storage, use or consumption outside of the state.
Any taxation exemption reflects a decision to create an incentive for the sale of a product by lowering the sale price. In a state where the general fund is supported by income and sales taxes, it is a legitimate question as to whether such an exemption is needed or will affect the market for and marketability of the product, and whether the corresponding benefit to the public offsets the exemption. As with any of the numerous bills introduced this session seeking sales tax exemptions for one or another industry or commercial venture, it is appropriate to demand rigorous scrutiny of the public costs and benefits, including environmental costs and benefits, associated with the proposed exemption.
HB 311(Upchurch and others) (H. State Govt)
Requires agencies to immediately provide a copy of all contracts and agreements involving public funds to any member of the legislature without the necessity of an open records request.
HB 314 (Hoffman and others) (Passed Both Houses, in House for Concurrence)
Establishes a process for cities and counties to negotiate a tax base coordination agreement to resolve conflicts concerning allocation of revenues from occupational license and insurance premium taxes.
HB 317 (Kerr) (H. Local Govt) (posted)(-)
Exempts farm trucks used on public highways from Vehicle Emissions Testing programs. There is no rational air quality-related basis for differentiating trucks under 18,000 pounds used for agriculture from other commercial enterprises. This bill continues a trend of carving special exemptions for classes of vehicles in a manner entirely unrelated to emissions potential.
HB 319 (A. Arnold and others) (To Senate)
Gives a cost preference for state purchase Kentucky-grown fresh produce, fresh seafood, eggs, fish and meat products if available.
HB 323 (Stumbo) (H. Elections, Const Amend) (+)
Would amend Kentucky Constitution to provide for a referendum on whether to require a statewide container deposit program.
HB 345 (Nunn) (H. Local Govt)
Broadens those agencies that can enter into interlocal agreements; enables the management of interlocal agreements by joint boards, and authorizes the issuance of bonds and incurring of obligations by such joint boards.
HB 352 (Crenshaw) (H. State Govt) (+)
Would give hazardous duty recognition in the retirement program to solid waste workers in urban-county governments (Lexington).
HB 354 (Wayne and 25 others) (H. A&R) (+)
House Bill 354 would create a state "Earned Income Tax Credit" similar to the federal EITC. Kentucky low wage-earning families with incomes up to a cap of $30,000 could claim a credit or refund up to $600 (depending on family size and income). HB 354 has been assigned to the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee but has not been posted for consideration. Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky Youth Advocates and others working on this bill ask your to contact the members of the House A& R Committee, and Chair Harry Moberly, to ask that HB 354 have a hearing and their support.
HB 355 (Wayne) (H. Elections & Const. Amends) (+)
Proposal to reform election finance by establishing limits on acceptance of contributions and providing matching funds for participating candidates.
This "Clean Money" bill would allow candidates for the state legislature to qualify for a set amount of public funds if they agree to limit their spending and limit private contributions to 100 contributions of $10. State House candidates would get about $20,000 for a race, while state Senate candidates would get $52,000. If their opponents spend more, the candidates would also get more public funding. Pioneered in Maine and passed by referendum in 1996, Clean Money Campaign Reform is also the law in Vermont, Massachusetts and Arizona! When Maine ran its first election with the Clean Money option last year, 121 challengers and incumbents opted to run as Clean Money candidates. Now one-half of Maine s Senate (17 out of 35) and one-third of the House (45 out of 151) won as Clean Money candidates. They owe no one but the voters who elected them. With the Clean Money option, Maine saw a 40 percent increase in contested primaries in 2000, compared with 1998. HB 357 (J.Adams) (to Senate Rules)
Bill concerns ethics codes for jointly-created agencies of city or county government. Bill authorizes cities and counties to enter into memoranda of agreement or interlocal agreements for joint adoption of ethics codes.
Unclear from text whether intention is that ethics codes will apply to all jointly-created agencies (line 5, p.1) or whether it is intended that the extension of ethics codes to joint agencies is discretionary (lines 9-10, p.1.) Clarification will be sought from the sponsor. The Council favors mandatory extension of the requirement for adoption of ethics codes to all joint agencies of city and county governments.
Another concern is the proposed exemption of nonpaid members of joint agencies from disclosure of financial details. (p.2 lines 18-19). Sufficient disclosure of financial interests is necessary in all appointed members of local government agencies to assure that conflicts of interest are disclosed and appearances of impropriety avoided.
HB 367 (Gooch and others) (Senate AG. NR)
Bill originally proposed to exempt any documents relating to an agricultural operation submitted to a local conservation district office or Division of Water, unless the agricultural operator is deemed a bad actor under the Agricultural Water Quality Act. As initially proposed this bill would have created a wholesale exemption from disclosure for information relating to the compliance of an agricultural operation with air, water and waste laws, interfering with the public s right-to-know regarding compliance with the Kentucky Agricultural Water Quality law and plans.
After opposition testimony by KRC, the bill was amended to narrow the scope, assuring that any agency-generated documents relating to compliance would not be confidential. As amended it is clear that the bill only applies to documents submitted by the agricultural operation, and does not apply to applications for cost-share financial assistance. KRC still believes the bill to be unnecessary and contrary to the public interest but is not actively opposing the bill after the amendments.
HB 392 (Fischer and S. Lee) (H. Judiciary) (-)
Bill would prohibit local governments from legislating in the area of civil rights, including a prohibition on enactments applying to the public or to the governmental unit alone. Measure is intended to undercut local laws affecting discrimination based on gender, but has a broader sweep. The measure is an unwarranted intrusion into the legislative powers of local governments to regulate in order to promote public health and welfare.
HB 400 (Wilkey and Thomas) (To Senate Floor)
Original bill exempted annual sales of less than 500 gallons of honey from permitting by the state and from the requirement of processing the honey in a certified honey house. Amended in committee to reduce amount to 150 gallons.
HB 405 (Johnnie Turner and others) (House Rules) (needs amendment)
Bill creates a new exemption from surface coal mining laws allowing individuals, nonprofit corporations and partnerships to extract up to 5,000 tons of coal without obtaining a mining permit or mining license if the coal is donated to a charitable organization or sold with all proceeds donated. It is intended to address situations where coal is encountered as part of a legitimate construction project.
In response to concerns voiced by KRC and the state, the sponsor has been working to tighten up language in the bill to lessen the possibility of abuse of the law by wildcat miners, and the bill is improved over the introduced version. It is highly doubtful that the bill will be approved by the federal Office of Surface Mining, since federal law requires a permit for coal removal, regardless of the intent, over 250 tons.
The Council has suggested that the state receive prior notice and be able to review the site prior to any coal removal, and to impose best management practices, and the sponsor is considering these proposals. The sponsor has also agreed to insert a clause that prevents this bill from taking effect unless and until approved by OSM or July 2004.
HB 408 (Gooch) (H. NREnv. with committee sub) (Posted)
Directs allocation of Nitrogen Oxide allowances to industrial sources for early reductions, with the remaining allowances sold to industrial sources.
HB 417 (Damron, and others) (To Senate State Local Govt)
Amends existing law governing permitting of mobile home and manufactured communities (parks).
HB 418 (Crenshaw) (Senate Ag. NR))
Allows Public Service Commission to maintain records of contested proceedings in videotape or other format other than stenographic transcript. Any party to a proceeding may request that the hearing be transcribed at that party s expense.
HB 420 (Belcher and Butler) (H. Ag and Sm. Bus) (posted)
Removes caps on Department of Agriculture expenditures from pesticide registration program for education and farm chemical disposal programs. The current allocation of fees caps expenditures on these programs at $100,000 and $200,000 respectively, with 550,000 going to cost-share conservation measures and the remaining funds going to pesticide program enforcement.
It is of concern that the caps are removed on expenditures for the education and container disposal programs with no indication of how much more of the pesticide fee money will be used in either program and the effect that the increase in those programs might have on decreasing the availability of money for the cost-share program or pesticide program enforcement.
HB 422 (Pasley and others) (Passed Both Houses)
Reauthorizes the waste tire fund until July 31, 2006, and authorizes a waste tire amnesty program.
HB 425 (Crenshaw)(H. Tourism, Energy)
Prohibits utility terminations to residences during winter months unless utility first goes through certain steps, including offering deferred payment plan and advising customer of community resources and until payment agreement has been breached.
HB 437 (Simpson) Would have placed northern Kentucky s Sanitation District (sewage agency) under PSC jurisdiction over service and rates. Was defeated in committee.
HB 441 (Gooch)(HnrEnv)(Posted)(-)
Act requiring state Fish and Wildlife to develop a bounty program to pay $35 for each beaver killed by landowner within a soil conservation or watershed conservancy district. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) opposes this bill.
HB 460 (Bratcher)(H. Judiciary) (+ in concept but needs substantial work)(posted)
Bill defines an "acoustic nuisance area" near the Louisville airport runways and provides a right to claim $2,000 per year or $20,000 lump sum award from the state and airport board to compensate for nuisance impacts for the nighttime use of the runways.
HB 465 (Wayne) This "Smart Growth" bill was defeated in a committee vote 8-6.
HB 496 (Gooch) (Recommitted to H. A&R)(--)
The most dangerous and least responsible bill filed this session, this bill mandates that the state Natural Resources Cabinet, on finding a violation of air, water or water laws, issue a preliminary written notice to violators of state air, waste and water laws and give time in which to correct the violation before issuance of a notice of violation. This amounts to an illegal and improper "free bite" for violators of state environmental laws, allowing unchecked pollution without penalty, and interferes with proper enforcement of standards designed to protect public health and the environment. The measure also interferes with proper administration of programs delegated to the state from federal agencies.
HB 507 (Moberly)(H A&R)
Executive Branch Budget
HB 517 (McKee and Gray)(Senate A&R)
This bill exempts from sales taxes expenditures in furtherance of deer farming.
HB 518 (Bratcher)(H. Elections)
Proposed constitutional amendment to create the right of initiative and referendum.
HB 521 (Damron) (Senate)(+)
Bill requires owners of any burial ground, defined as a place in which person(s) are interred, to protect the burial ground from desecration or damage.
HB 527 (Comer and Turner)(H. A&R)
Creates a tax credit for Kentucky wood energy producers producing and selling processed wood products.
HB 536 (Rader & Colter)(H. NREnv)
Extends the waste tire fund until 2006. Differs from HB 422, which has already passed the House, in not providing a waste tire amnesty program.
HB 540 (Draud) (+/- needs substantial amendment)(Senate Ag NR)
This bill has been modified to include the Patton Administration's proposal for power plant siting review. The most current analysis of the bill is contained in the Council's website at www.kyrc.org. The bill needs substantial revision in order to become a siting bill deserving of public support.
HB 542 (Yonts)(H. Rules)
Tax credits offered against income tax for investment in equipment or training related to value-added hardwood products industry.
HB 543 (R. Adams) (H. Local Govt. posted)(+)
Bill broadens powers of local governments without zoning and planning the authority to adopt ordinances to control placement of cellular equipment and towers. Bill also removes confidentiality from information submitted by cell companies.
HB 549 (Denham and Wilkey) (Passed Both Houses)
Bill makes repurchase of land by Industrial Development Authorities discretionary. Originally, bill received negative notation by KRC because it gave Industrial Development Authorities the power to dispose of surplus property remaining after development of an industrial park, and allows exchange of that property for other property suitable for development. KRC was concerned that the new language undercut existing law giving a landowner whose land has been taken by condemnation prior right of repurchase. Representative Mike Denham graciously agreed to remove the language that concerned the Council, and with that change, we have removed the negative rating of the bill. KRC extends our thanks to Representative Denham.
A floor amendment that attempted to extend the time for counties that have been decertified as eligible for Rural Economic Development Assistance to continue to receive benefits of the incentives, from one to two years, was defeated.
HB 556 (Hall, Branham, R. Nelson and Johnnie Turner) (H. Tourism, Dev.)(+)
Establishes and defines the Pine Mountain Trail State Park, a 120 mile-long trail at the Kentucky-Virginia border. Bill calls for 1,000-foot corridor, and proposes to regulate activities within that corridor to prevent motorized traffic, minimize vegetative changes, and impose other restrictions on land uses subject to a change of use permitting process.
HB 572 (Meeks and others)(To Senate State Local Govt)(+)
Bill creates an historic cemetery preservation program for providing financial and technical assistance in restoring, maintaining and preserving non-profit historic cemeteries (those with burials over 100 years ago). Creates a board to oversee grants and assistance; also clarifies and defines rights of ingress and egress of descendants and family members to cemeteries and graves located on private lands in the state.
HB 575 (Brinkman) (H. NREnv, posted)(-)
Bill amends existing law regarding labeling of plastic bottles and containers sold in the state to require that where there is a container component (base cap, lid, label) of a different material than the rest of the bottle or container, that the code for each be printed on the container. There is a concern that allowing amber multi-resin plastic beer bottles and other multi-resin materials to be given a "1" code, representing PETE plastic, rather than the current "7" code, may cause rejection of recovered plastic loads and cause in turn a decline in community recycling program handling of "1" plastic.
HB 577 (Barrows) (H. A&R) (posted) (+)
Bill requires Transportation Cabinet to implement a "life-cycle cost" assessment of all highway projects of over 15,000 sq. yards that would assess total costs of pavement designs for projects as the primary "driver" for selection of material type for pavement projects. Also requires development of a pavement management system to better manage replacement and repair schedules.
HB 598 (Riggs and others) (H. Rules with Comm. Sub)(posted) (+)
Amends existing cellular tower approval procedures to eliminate Public Service Commission authority to override decisions of local planning agencies regarding cell tower siting, and to clarify that where there is no zoning and planning, the Public Service Commission will continue to review and approve and to consider in that decision the compatibility of the proposed siting with the community values and land uses.
HB 600 (Barrows) (H. A&R)(+ with amendments needed)
Governor's Smart Growth Initiatives. Includes directive to state agencies to assist efforts to rehab and reuse existing infrastructure and sites; creates a state planning committee to advise the Governor, to review state agency siting or permitting of infrastructure projects, to review all state capital projects; to encourage planning and coning, provide assistance to local governments regarding planning.
Bill requires planning committee review of all capital projects with an appropriated budget of over 2$ million, and makes those projects subject to local land use planning but allows state planning committee to override that decision
and precludes further review of the committee decision. Bill also creates a review process for state planning committee review of the proposed conversion of 50 acres or more of farmland "of statewide agricultural importance" to nonfarm use, for all proposed state projects. Bill also creates tax credits and incentives for neighborhood and historic home redevelopment.
Analysis: The bill is well-intended but has language problems that need clarification. For example, it is unclear whether the phrase "capital project" in Section 5 is intended to subject state public projects to local planning review and approval, which would be a new power given to local planning agencies, or whether it is intended to apply as well to private capital projects, in which case the bill would be eroding local government authority. Also, the standard for overriding local land use decisions (an overriding state interest) is too vague, and the language precluding further review is inconsistent with the state constitution Article 2, which subjects any agency decision is subject to judicial review.
The farmland conversion provisions need strengthening. The Governor, by an executive order hastily executed and of dubious legality, eliminated the existing farmland conversion review statutes, and this section of HB 600 proposes to replace that agricultural land conversion review process. The threshold for which projects are subject to review should be lowered to include all capital projects funded with state monies in whole or in part; the threshold acreage for review of conversion of agricultural land should be lowered from 50 acres to 10, since that is the threshold for recognition of a viable agricultural use under Kentucky tax laws, and the standard for approving conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural use of "balancing interests" is insufficient.
It is said that the last crop planted on agricultural land is asphalt, and the one commodity not being manufactured is more land. The conversion of any viable agricultural tracts, not merely those of "statewide importance" should be reviewed, and an alternatives assessment should be included with a presumption against conversion unless viable alternatives that meet the essential project purpose do not exist.
HB 602 (Wilkey and Denham)(Senate)
Bill amends a number of economic development statutes including those relating to tax increment financing and tax incentives/inducements.
HB 606 (Callahan and others)(H. A&R)
Act creates tax credits for historic property rehabilitation and construction, against monies spent for rehabilitation of historic structures.
HB 612 (Adkins, Hall) (H. A&R) (posting waived)
Bill would impose a tax on the manufacturing of synthetic fuel from coal of 50 cents per ton of fuel manufactured or produced, and would require registration of those engaged in making synthetic fuels from coal. $250,000 would go to the county hosting the synthetic fuel plant, and the remainder to eligible coal counties for economic development.
HB 618 (P. Clark and others) (H. Rules with HCS)(-)
Bill that originally demanded end to VET program has been amended to reflect changes agreed to by the Jefferson County Air Pollution Control District. Under the amended bill on November 1, 2003 the county is required to direct the APCD to revise the VET program to exempt the first five model years of cars and to shift to a biennial testing, with rate increases limited to changes in the consumer price index.
While the Council supports these changes over the original bill and Senator Seum's irresponsible VET elimination bill, S 102, the Council believes that the General Assembly should direct that the new and improved Louisville County Council review and make any desired changes in the frequency and scope of vehicle emission testing.
"Local control" is a concept too often honored in the breach in Frankfort. Jefferson County, as the only county in the state to have implemented a local Air Pollution Control District, should be allowed to determine how necessary reductions in air pollutants should be allocated between smokestack and mobile sources. Unfortunately, County Judge Rebecca Jackson opened the door to overriding local government in this arena, choosing to invite the motorcycle lobby to seek state mandated exemption from the local program (and sweeping 20,000 commuter cars out of the program as well). Having set the precedent of ducking political issues and inviting state overrides of local responsibility for VET program decisions, it is harder to stand firm on a now slippery slope. The House should amend HB 618 to provide for a study by the new Louisville legislative council and decision on the VET program scope by a date certain; and send that amendment back to the Senate.
Contact Representative Larry Clark at 1-800-372-7181 and ask that HB 618 be amended in this manner.
HB 619 (Horlander and others) (H. State Govt) (+)
An important bill for Jefferson County residents, this bill would require the advice and consent of the new metro "local government council" for appointments to boards and commissions; a power which otherwise would be the mayors' alone with no legislative involvement. Also, the bill cautions that such appointments should reflect the diversity of the citizens of the community.
HB 635 (Yonts)(H. A&R)(-)
Bill would exempt from sales and use taxes all equipment, machinery, structures and property associated with construction, rebuilding, maintenance, modification and expansion of coal-fired electric generating facilities for any county with 15% unemployment in any month and 10% or more unemployment for three consecutive months in the year 2001.
HB 640 (Branham)(H. State Govt)
Provides that no public property may be leased, sold or disposed for less than fair market value, and strengthens legislative oversight over disposition of real property of the state.
HB 643 (Geveden) (Senate Ag NR)(+)
Confirms executive orders establishing the Kentucky State Energy Policy Advisory Board. At the Council's request, Chairman Geveden amended the bill to include a second "consumer" representative, allowing low-income consumer advocates the opportunity to request appointment of an individual to represent the distinct interests of low and fixed-income energy consumers.
HB 646 (B. Smith and others) (H. A&R)
Cerates a new fund for water and sewer infrastructure, funded by excess coal severance and processing taxes, and available to coal producing counties for extension and installation of water and sewer lines and upgrades of sewage treatment facilities.
HB 654 (Denham and others) (Senate)
Bill creates an "Office of Agritourism" to promote "agritourism," which is the act of visiting working farms for purpose of "enjoyment, education, and active involvement in the activities of the farm." Bill calls for development of a master plan to promote agritourism, and regional agritourism development plans. Perhaps the Sierra Club could secure official state status for their now famous "tour de stench" tour of industrial agricultural chicken and hog operations in western Kentucky.
HB 676 (Meeks) (Recommitted to H. Judiciary)
Bill sets standards and permitting process for removal and possession of archaeological objects from sites and clarifies rights to human remains and burial objects.
HB 683 (Treesh)(House A&R)
Companion bill to SB 12 establishing tax credits for biotechnology research facilities.
HB 689 (Dwight Butler) (H. Judiciary)(+)
Requires payment of attorney and expert witness fees in addition to treble damages for unlawful timber removal.
HB 694 (Stewart)(H.Local Govt)
Grants enforcement power over criminal litter laws to solid waste coordinators..
HB 705 (Collins, Adkins, Hall) (To Senate)
Bill allows oil and gas permittees an additional year extension on permits in which to commence drilling before expiration of permit. Brent Yonts sponsored a successful floor amendment to protect surface owners in severed estate situations, by limiting the effect of the bill on existing permits in those cases. Representative Yonts advocacy in support on this amendment, and that of Representatives Brinkman and Cornett in committee, are appreciated.
HB 708 (Thomas & Bruce)(To House Rules with HCS)(+)
House Committee Substitute to Bill mandates phasing out of MTBE as a gasoline additive by January 1, 2006, and encourages use of ethanol as of 2004.
As amended the bill tracks the provisions recommended by a consensus of petroleum industry associations and state officials seeking to replace MTBE and other ether-based reformulated gas additives with biomass additives (ethanol and biodiesel).
HB 714 (Bowling)(-)(H. Rules)
Exempts from water fees imposed by the Kentucky River Authority, communities drawing water from privately owned lakes or reservoirs that don't rely on main stem of the Kentucky River for recharge.
HB 728 (Richards and others) (-)(To Senate State Local Govt)
Counterpart to SB 200, this bill sunsets every regulation held deficient since 1988.
HB 733 (Heleringer and Stein)(H. Elections)
This proposed constitutional amendment would allow the legislature to establish oversight committees to review any state contracts, bond proposal and other agreements, including the right to take action during the interim.
HB 738 (Gooch) (+)(H NREnv) (posted)
Bill eliminates the current exemption from water withdrawal permitting for electric utilities.
HB 741 (Gooch and J. Arnold) (-)
Bill allows use of mine-generated "shot rock" from coal mine blasting to be used for roads where approved by the county engineer. Problems with this include language overriding coal mining laws, which demand that all material generated by the mining, including shot rock, be returned to the mine area, and that any excess be disposed of in a controlled manner in a disposal fill. Any off-site disposal would have to be of excess rock only, and would have to be regulated to assure that it was being used and not dumped, and was not acid-or toxic-forming.
HB 745 (Collins) (House Rules)
Oil and gas bill alters manner in which pooling orders address the interests of owners not participating in the pooling and appears to make non-electing owners or absent owners involuntary operators.
HB 771 (J. Arnold)(+) (-) (House State Govt.,posted)
Administrative regulation bill, setting forth changes in response to the court decision striking down the current regulation review process in part. Bill also increases legislative control over setting of and increasing of fees, including all environmental permit fees.
On the positive side, the bill clarifies that the public comment period on regulations is a full 30 days, not merely until close of the public hearing which is often held before the thirtieth day. Bill provides a mechanism for public to request to be notified by an agency when administrative regulations are proposed.
On the negative side, the bill lumps together into a single bill all regulations deemed deficient by an interim committee, and then provides that if the determination of deficiency is ratified by passing the bill, the regulation sunsets and cannot be repromulgated for a year. In order to assure proper consideration of each regulation by the General Assembly, deficient regulations should be individually presented to the full General Assembly, or grouped into bills by subject area, in order to assure more substantive scrutiny by the legislature as a whole of the alleged deficiencies.
HB 780 (Adkins) (House A&R)
Current law exempts from sales taxes energy producing fuels costs above 3% of cost of production, which is based on plant structures. This bill excludes costs of scrap steel and depreciation on equipment used to recycle the scrap steel, and the cost of maintaining that equipment, thus lowering the "cost of production" and increasing the amount of exemption from sales tax for fuel purchases.
HB 783 (Reinhardt)(House Local Govt., posted)
Allows person to sell a parcel of land to a family member without seeking planning commission approval for the subdivision provided that the site has access to public road; construction on such a parcel is deemed a permitted use.
HB 790 (Gooch) (House Tourism, Dev. & Energy)(-)
Mandates that the Public Service Commission, in considering an application to construct a coal-fired plant by a regulated utility using clean-coal technology, give favorable treatment to the coal-fired plant and permit recovery of up to 3 percentage points more on return on shareholder equity; and consider in reviewing regulated unit gas-fired construction whether the gas-fired unit will adversely affect the retail price of natural gas for end-users in the Commonwealth and whether the unit "is part of a trend towards" greater use of natural gas as a fuel for electricity.
The bill is the latest in a hodgepodge of bills aimed at increasing the fortunes of coal-fired electricity generation; in this case, by imposing on the utility review process several vague mandates and by attempting to dissuade regulated units from using gas-fired generation.
Gas-fired units are typically used as "peaking" units, since they are capable of intermittent seasonal operation and quickly respond to peak demand by producing power. Coal-fired plants are typically "baseload" plants operating on a continual basis, and are ill-suited to the task of meeting demand peaks. While the electricity demand in Kentucky has and will continue, for the foreseeable future, to be derived from coal-fired plants, use of peaking plants combusting natural gas is a more efficient way to address short-lived seasonal peaks.
KRC believes that before the General Assembly passes any further incentives for coal-fired electricity generating plants, a comprehensive economic assessment of the benefits and the costs associated with the new coal-fired merchant units should be undertaken. Pending before the 2002 General Assembly are numerous bills to extend enterprise zone breaks, exempt coal-fired utility equipment from sales tax, and to provide other subsidies (including greater access to NOx credits) on top of existing subsidies.
HB 791 (Geveden) (House State Govt., posted)(-)
This bill confirms an unlawful Executive Order that eliminated the Interagency Farmland Advisory Committee, thus eliminating the state panel review of certain proposals for conversion of farmland to other uses. The Governor has proposed to replace this panel with another process in his HB 600 Smart Growth Initiative (see above) but the Executive Order did not comply with state law and is illegal, and there is no guarantee that HB 600 will pass.
This bill should not be heard unless and until the former Farmland Committee is replaced by a new committee of equal or greater capability of controlling farmland conversion.
HB 792 (Gooch) (H. Rules)
Bill revises mine safety laws.
HB 793 (Gooch) (H. NREnv)
Mine safety bill defines serious and reportable accidents and limits alteration of accident sites pending completion of investigations.
HB 797 (Barrows)(+) (H. A&R)
Provides tax credit up to 50% of land value for land conservation or preservation through conveyance to an eligible conservation agency, of land for open-space, historic, natural resource or conservation purposes.
HB 798 (Phillip Childers, Brandon Smith, Howard Cornett, Keith Hall)(-)
Bill amends existing law relating to water quality certifications for coal mining activities that are eligible for a "nationwide" permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers relative to placement of dredged or fill material in waters associated with fills and sediment ponds. Introduces concept of "in lieu" mitigation in which the operator would, instead of conducting physical mitigation, pay $200,000 per acre of impacted stream into a fund. The bill further clarifies that physical mitigation includes in addition to actual improvement of streams, upgrading wastewater facilities, running sewer lines, preparing wastewater plans for communities, upgrading local roads and purchasing conservation easements.
The bill has several conceptual and legal problems with the bill. The obligation to mitigate impacts on waters of the Commonwealth cannot be eliminated by payment of a flat fee bearing no correlation to the actual extent and ecological "costs" of the impacts, nor to the costs of restoration. Appropriation of public waters on a temporary or permanent basis impact the stream and downstream areas in many ways interfering with the natural flow regime and nutrient transport, altering low-flow conditions, introducing additional sediments into the stream, changing water chemistry and temperature, and destroying aquatic and terrestrial habitat. "In-lieu" payments, whether of a flat or less arbitrary sum, are not an appropriate mechanism for discharging the mitigation obligation.
KRC is negotiating changes in this law with the industry and the state.
HB 809 (Childers and J. Turner)
Bill attempts to correct deficiencies in law allowing a limited easement of necessity allowing mining permittees access to land where off-site damage has occurred and the state has mandated that the violation be corrected. Law creates an expeditious process for compensation of surface landowner for damages from the violation and from correction of the violation.
HB 823 (Gooch) (H. NREnv)
Amends law addressing inspections of mine conveyor belts.
HB 841 (Pullin) (+ with language amendment needed)
Bill requires all government agencies to establish a policy or program for reducing and waiving civil penalties for violations of laws and regulations by businesses employing less than 100 people. The bill contains exclusions from this policy requirement, and would not affect the agency's ability to require correction of a violation, to limit the waiver or reduction policy to self-discovered and voluntarily reported violations, to impose criminal penalties, to impose penalties for repeated violations, to impose sanctions for serious violations, and to require, as a prerequisite for any waiver or reduction, good faith efforts to comply with law.
This bill, which is directed at small businesses, provides standards for reduction or waiver of civil penalties and allows the agencies considerable discretion in setting such policies. It stands in stark contrast to House Bill 496, which House leadership send to rest in House A&R, and which cut a broad swath through agency enforcement authority that would have been available to intentional, willful multinational corporate polluters under the guise of assisting small businesses.
The language amendment needed would clarify the language of Section 1(2)(b) to assure that small business compliance programs operated by state Universities would be included, and that to be eligible the violations must be discovered and reported voluntarily.
HB 854 (Branham)
Bill addresses sewage collection and treatment, requiring that if a public sewer system is available the property owner must connect within 1 year and allowing a limited waiver if an on-site functioning system is demonstrated to be in operation. Bill also controls discharges of stormwater into sewers, and requires property owners without access to public sewers to have an approved on-site system.
HB 860 (Webb)
Provides a 30% tax credit to cellular company that provides 95% coverage in certain designated eastern Kentucky counties in 5 years.
HB 864 (Moberly and Barrows)(+)
Imposes a tax of .001 cent per kilowatt hour on electricity generation by a merchant plants in Kentucky. Merchant plants are those that are unregulated as to rates and service, and which do not serve the needs of Kentucky consumers.
HB 868 (Coleman)(+)
Bill seeks to limit the ability of a court to enforce an agreement by parties in a court case to keep confidential and deny public access to documents in the lawsuit that relate to public hazards or are of public interest. The bill would prevent situations where a manufacturer of a dangerous product "buys the silence" of litigants by sealing documents as part of a settlement of a claim.
HB 871 (Webb) (H. Elections)
Proposes a constitutional amendment assuring that people have the right to hunt, fish and harvest game, subject to such regulations and restrictions as the General Assembly may prescribe.
HR 11 (Haydon and R. Nelson)(H.Floor)
Resolution making May 1 a day to honor Kentucky coal miners.
HCR 13 (R. Nelson) (+) (To Senate A&R)
Resolution to study cumulative effect of state and federal tax policies on Kentucky s forest productivity.
HCR 18 (Meeks) (H. State Govt) (posted)(+)
Resolution creating Task Force on Native American Indian Tribes in the Commonwealth, to study implications of state recognition of tribes.
HJR 20 (Richards) (S. A&R)
Joint resolution reauthorizing the aquaculture task force.
HJR 24 (Moberly)(S. AgNR)(+)
Creates a subcommittee on ethanol production within the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources to study ethanol production as a fuel. A floor amendment seeks to add biodiesel.
HR 28 (Riner)(H. State Govt)
Amends 2002 House Rules of Procedure to require that all committee meetings of the House be open to the public, including all party caucuses, free conference committees, Rules, Committee on Committee and other committees.
HR 31 (Webb and others)(To Senate AgNR)
Resolution urging coal mining industry to implement aggressive recruiting strategies to employ Kentucky miners before recruiting overseas workers.
HR 32 (Riner and Richards)(H. Seniors Committee)
Resolution urging the U.S. Army to proceed with the destruction of the chemical weapons at the Bluegrass Army Depot without undue delay.
HCR 113(B. Smith)(H Ag SMB)
Directs Interim Ag. and Natural Resources Committee to study the risks and benefits of using biodiesel fuel.
HJR 139 (Bather & Burch)(H NREnv)
Directs suspension of new or modified permits in west Louisville, requires report on assessment of risks from Cabinet.
HCR 161 (Pasley and Comer) (H. Transp)(+-)
Establishes an off-road motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle task force to study issues surrounding use of public and private lands by these vehicles, including state policies and effect of this issue on highway safety and Kentucky tourism. Composition of the panel needs more balance from landowners who are often adversely affected by irresponsible ATV /ORV use, and from recreational users of public lands whose interests need to be considered in order to minimize conflicts in public land use.
HCR 199 (Palumbo and others)(+) (H. Calendar)
Resolution directs the Interim Joint Committee on Economic Development and Tourism to study the effectiveness of the Kentucky Enterprise Zone Program.
HJR 210 (Thomas)
Resolution to facilitate series of statewide meetings to determine feasibility of reservoir ranching of paddlefish in Kentucky's public waters.
DO YOU WANT OFF THE LIST? HERE S HOW
This list profiles the significant environmental, conservation or consumer bills that are being tracked by the Council during the 2002 session, as well as some general government bills of interest. 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. Action alerts will be issued as warranted.
If you do not wish to receive this list, please send an e-mail message to fitzKRC@aol.com and you will be removed immediately from the distribution list. 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.
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 http://www.lrc.state.ky.us
The toll phone number to reach a legislator in person is 502-564-8100. The toll-free bill status line is 1-888-829-0021. The toll-free meeting 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 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.(H. Calendar)