Give yourself a hand, because you did a GREAT JOB so far. Because of your calls and emails,
the Kentucky General Assembly did not
"grandfather" billboards erected since last April that did not comply with Kentucky's Billboard Act, despite a lot of pressure from lobbyists. House Bill 328 goes to the Governor "clean" - reasserting the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's authority over billboards, curing the defect regarding commercial "speech" that was identified in the "Lion's Den" decision, and providing a permit fee for billboards.
Pat yourself on the back, and then, LET'S GET BUSY,
FOR THERE IS MORE WORK TO BE DONE!
House Bill 272
has gotten a lot of press because it allows small rural Water Districts and Water Associations to charge at 10% late fee on water bills, and prevents the Public Service Commission, which regulates them, from disallowing those late fees. A carve-out protects low-income ratepayers who get third-party bill assistance from late fees, but the bill still imposes a fee on everyone else regardless of whether there is an emergency or not.
THE WORST PART OF THE BILL
The worst part of the bill, which has gotten little attention, is a naked power grab by the cities who own utilities and are members of the Kentucky League of Cities, to BAR THE GOVERNOR from suspending late fees or non-payment utility cutoffs during emergencies.
Yes, you read that right.
- catastrophic storm damage
- ice storms, or
- other natural, environmental, health, or safety disasters
would allow the Governor to prevent city-owned gas, electric, water, or wastewater utilities from imposing late fees or cutting off your service, despite the declaration of emergency.
KRC doubts that you sent your State Representatives or State Senators to Frankfort to pass such a callous and unfeeling bill. KRC doubts that you elected your City officials who own utilities, to lobby Frankfort through their "League of Cities" to protect their ability to cut off gas. electric, or water service to your most vulnerable low and fixed-income neighbors and small businesses, during emergencies.
TIME TO ACT
If you are as outraged as we at KRC are, PLEASE ACT TODAY AND TOMORROW!
- Call the Governor's office at 502-564-2611 and leave a message to VETO HB 272.
- Call 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message to ALL Senators and Representatives telling them
"We are outraged that the General Assembly would have passed HB 272 and allowed City-owned utilities to impose late fees and cut off customers during declared emergencies. We did not send you to Frankfort to punish the poor and small businesses. You have two legislative days left and you can fix this travesty, and we will be watching to see if you do the right thing.
- And please contact your friends and neighbors, and if you are a customer of a municipal gas, electric, water, or wastewater utility, contact your Mayor and City Council and demand that they disavow HB 272 and contact the Governor to ask for its veto.
What's right is right.
And protecting the ability of city utilities to cut off customers during declared emergencies, just ain't right. We are, in answer to Cain's rhetorical question, our brothers and sisters keepers, and there are other remedies for nonpayment of bills during crises than the punitive measures that the Kentucky League of Cities seeks to protect through HB 272.
Thank you for your interest in your Kentucy's environmental and public health.
Individual contributions from donors across the Commonwealth make it possible for KRC to do its work everyday, including advancing environmental, energy, and public health policies in Kentucky. If you're interested in making an investment in KRC, visit https://www.kyrc.org/get-involved/donate