Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.
Post Office Box 1070
Frankfort, Kentucky 40602
(502) 875-2428 phone (502) 875-2845 fax
February 4, 2005 REGULAR SESSION: Bills We're Watching Update #3
This list profiles the significant environmental, conservation, consumer and general government bills that are being tracked by the Council during the 2005 session. This is the second of many updates. It will be updated at least weekly, and will be supplemented with more detailed analysis on key bills.
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For a copy of any bill, or to check the status of the bill, to track which committee it has been assigned to for hearing, and other legislative information, visit the Legislature's Homepage at http://www.lrc.state.ky.us
The phone number to reach a legislator in person is 502-564-8100 (this is not toll-free).
The toll-free meeting schedule information line is 1-800-633-9650. The toll-free message line is 1-800-372-7181, to leave a message for a legislator or an entire committee. The TTY message line is 1-800-896-0305. En Espanol, el nombre es 1-877-864-0202. The toll-free bill status number will be available in a week.
THE BEST WAY TO REACH LEGISLATORS ITS NEVER BEEN EASIER!
Did you know that for a single fax to 502-564-6543, you can reach all of the legislators that you want to contact? You can send a faxed letter, for example, to all Senators and Representatives by listing their individual names on a cover sheet and asking that each get a copy of your letter. The good folks at the LRC fax room will copy your fax and distribute it to all that you list (the recipients must be listed by name.) The LRC web page has a list of all legislators and all committee members.
DAY EIGHT: 454 BILLS AND 177 RESOLUTIONS ALREADY FILED
On January 4, 2005, the General Assembly convened in Frankfort for the regular "short" legislative session. During week 2 of the session, a number of bills relating to the environment have already been filed. The General Assembly has returned to session until adjournment on March 22, 2005.
Please note that the Council does not have a position on each bill listed. Some bills are tracked for general interest; others simply to assure that they do not become vehicles for polluter-sponsored amendments. KRC's position concerning bills is indicated with a plus (+) or minus (-). The primary sponsor and current status of the bill are also noted by Committee or chamber.
SB 1 (D. Williams) S. State & Local Govt) (-)
Proposed constitutional amendment to allow the General Assembly to impose artificial caps on noneconomic and punitive damages in medical malpractice cases.
Kentucky's Constitution protects against legislative limitation of rights of action available to persons injured through the tortuous conduct of another. Section 14 of the Kentucky Constitution guarantees that "All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and rights and justice administered without sale, denial or delay." As has been the case in past sessions, KRC opposes any constitutional amendment that would seek to artificially limit for any class of injuries and for the benefit of one class of persons who have by definition inflicted harm on others, the right of any person to bring a civil action and to seek a jury trial for compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages for injuries sustained. Appellate mechanisms within the judiciary already exist to assure that punitive damages bear a reasonable relation to the conduct of the negligent party, and mechanisms exist for courts to control and punish frivolous or meritless litigation.
SB 8 (Boswell) (S. State & Local Govt)
Proposed constitutional amendment authorizing legislature to establish and regulate casino gaming.
SB 9 (Boswell) (S. Licensing & Occupations)
Companion bill to SB 8 to establish statutory and regulatory framework for regulation of casino gaming if the proposed constitutional amendment is adopted.
SB 31 (Tapp) (S. Appropriations & Revenue)
Creates new tax credits for producers, blenders and retailers of biodiesel fuel (at least 2% mix of animal or plant oils with petroleum diesel).
SB 38 (Kelly) (S. Eco. Dev, with 2 readings)
Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of economic development agency and boards. (KRC tracks all reorganization bills in order to monitor any provisions or amendments that would diminish the regulatory powers of environmental or public health.)
SB 39 (Kelly) (S. Floor)
Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of Transportation Cabinet.
SB 40 (Kelly) (S. Eco. Dev, with 2 readings)
Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of Commerce Cabinet and eliminating Tourism Development Cabinet.
SB 41 (Kelly) (S. Rules with committee sub)
Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of natural resources, environment, labor and public protection agencies into Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. Senate Committee Substitute transfers Department of Energy to Tourism Cabinet.
SB 43 (Kelly) (S. Floor with committee sub)
Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of Personnel Cabinet.
SB 44 (Kelly) (S. Floor with committee sub)
Bill codifying creation of Office of Homeland Security to coordinate comprehensive statewide homeland security strategy. The creation of a new agency appears duplicative of and redundant to the charge of the existing Division of Emergency Management, which by law is already empowered to develop and coordinate for the Governor all matters pertaining to the state comprehensive emergency management program and disaster and emergency response of the Commonwealth. At a time when the administration has collapsed such significant governmental functions as labor, utility and environmental protection into one agency, creation of a new agency is questionable. The proposed funding coordination and tracking could be added to the existing mandates of the Division of Emergency Management without the new overhead cost.
SB 45 (Kelly) (S. Judiciary, with 2 readings)
Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of Justice Cabinet.
SB 46 (Kelly) (S. Floor with committee sub)
Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of Education Cabinet.
SB 47 (Kelly) (S. Floor with committee sub)
Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
SB 48 (Harris) (S. Ag. Nat. Res.)
Imposes new requirement where city annexes land which includes only a portion of a sanitation district, that the sanitation district must vote to relinquish authority to provide sanitary sewers to that annexed portion. Currently, such approval is not required by statute.
SB 49 (Kelly) (S. Floor with committee sub)
Bill codifying Fletcher Administration reorganization of Finance Cabinet.
SB 75 (Boswell) (S. A&R)
Bill extends duration of enterprise zones by 5 years and allows expired zones to apply for
SB 88 (Seum) (S. Judiciary)(-)
Bill would retroactively invalidate any ordinance adopted since 1998 by a local government expanding civil rights protections beyond those in state law, unless the ordinance is submitted for voter approval. Directed at undoing local fairness ordinances that have extended protections again discrimination based on sexual identity and preference.
SB 104 (Thayer)
Modifies current law governing sanitation districts to explicitly include authority over management of stormwater sewers.
SB 123 (Roeding, Pendleton, Kerr, Tapp) (S. State & Loc. Govt)
Bill amends various portions of existing law governing adoption and legislative review of administrative regulations.
SR 1 (Williams)
2005 Senate Rules of Procedure.
SR 43 (Ridley & Pendleton) (Adopted)
Encourages state agencies to assist in promotion and preservation of Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
HB 2 (Weaver) (H. Elections)
One of a number of bills introduced that would amend the state constitution to mandate that the General Assembly not adjourn a regular long session without enacting a budget and providing that, if they cannot accomplish that in the normal 60 legislative days for the long session, that they remain in session without pay until a budget is adopted.
HB 3 (Stacy and others) (H. Elections)
Substantively identical to HB 2.
HB 8 (Cornett) (H. Transportation) (-)
Expands existing extended weight coal haul road system to include all forms of mineral, oil and gas. This system allows trucks to haul in excess of the maximum gross weight limits for state or county road systems for payment of a decal fee. Bill also broadens ability of any mineral haulers to operate overweight on roads not included within the extended weight system through a cooperative agreement.
The haulage of coal and non-coal minerals, and use of coal, non-coal and oil/gas related heavy equipment and trucks on state and county roads in this state presents significant public health, safety and quality of life concerns. The damage caused by hauling overweight through local neighborhood and residential community roads that were never designed to carry such industrial traffic, and interference with the quality of life of residents of regions where mineral extraction occurs, deserves legislative attention. Expansion of the existing problem of coal hauling overweight to include other forms of minerals, compounds rather than resolves the underlying problem.]
HB 9 (Crimm) (H. Eco. Dev.)
Revises enterprise zone statutes, renaming them economic growth districts and allows for designation of new districts.
HB 15 (Yonts) (H. State Govt)
Deletes mandatory requirement for annual reports by contracting bodies to Government Contract Review Committee, allows committee to establish schedule for reporting and record retention.
HB 19 (Montell and Embry) (H. Elections)
Proposed state constitutional amendment providing that if budget is not adopted in session during even-numbered years (long session) that the Governor shall call a special session within 30 days of adjournment, and that the legislators will receive no pay other than expenses.
HB 29 (L. Clark & Draud) (H. State Govt, posted)
Bill providing for joint Senate and House cosponsorship of bill passed either chamber where a substantially similar one is pending in the other chamber.
HB 32 (Marzian and others) (H. Appropriations & Revenue)
Bill providing for a 32% gross receipts tax on wholesale sales of smokeless tobacco, cigars, loose and pipe tobacco, and 75 cents per pack (20) on cigarettes, and providing for disbursement of the tax revenues to fund childrens dental and oral health, mental health and substance abuse services, health care and insurance benefits for state employees, smoking prevention education, school expansion and construction, veterans nursing homes, cancer research, tuition assistance and the general fund.
HB 39 (Nesler) (H. Transp.)
Bill authorizes transportation cabinet to allow local governments to erect motorcycle awareness signs with cabinet approval.
HB 56 (Burch) (H. Health & Welfare) (H. Rules with committee sub)(+ but needs amendment)
Bill creates a new Commission to develop an action plan to implement Department for Public Healths Report Healthy Kentuckians 2010. Unfortunately, the findings and goals of that report and this bill fail to include ending childhood lead poisoning a public health initiative that should be among the other childhood health priorities of this state.
House Committee Substitute includes provisions for physical activity and healthy beverages in elementary schools.
HB 57 (Baugh) (H. Appropriations & Revenue)
Companion bill to SB 31, creating new tax credits for producers, blenders and retailers of biodiesel fuel (at least 2% mix of animal or plant oils with petroleum diesel).
HB 59 (Weaver) (H. State Govt, posted)
Allows an agency to withhold from disclosure public records that might expose a vulnerability to terrorist act. The balance between the publics right to know of the use, storage, and handling of hazardous and dangerous materials by facilities, and the desire to protect against exposure to vulnerabilities is a topic hotly debated in the nation. Unfortunately, this bill, by exempting from disclosure records of public utility water, wastewater, sewage and gas systems, may prevent access by the public to information necessary to determine utility compliance with air, waste and water pollution control obligations.
KRC will discuss with the sponsor the narrowing of certain language to address this concern.
HB 61 (Weaver) (H. Licensing & Occupations)
Bill creates new certification program for residential contractors, and requires after January 1, 2007 that any person contracting with a consumer to build, remodel or repair residential real estate be certified.
HB 64 (Meeks) (H. Local Government)
Bill creates financial incentives to encourage development of interlocal county agreements for sharing and coordinating fire, police and emergency/rescue services.
HB 73 (De. Butler) (H. Floor)
Bill alters qualification requirements for the licensure of land surveyors.
HB 77 (Graham) (H. State Govt) (Posted in Committee)
Act provides procedures for dissemination of information from office of Attorney General to state and local government on Open Meetings and Open Records Act procedures.
HB 79 (Baugh) (H. Natural Resources & Environment, posted)
Bill allows for new category of Master Logger designation entitled temporary master logger designation, and allows Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet to establish requirements for that designation, and allows the temporary master logger to supervise a timber harvesting operation provided that the cabinet receives notice prior to beginning the operation.
HB 81 (Fischer and S. Lee) (H. Judiciary) (-)
Bill would prohibit local governments from legislating protections of civil rights. Measure is intended to undercut local ordinances prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The measure is an unwarranted intrusion into the authority of local communities acting through their elected officials, to establish civil rights policies more protective of individual rights than state policy.
HB 86 (Marzian) (H. Transp)
Requires use of protective headgear for all-terrain vehicles; prohibits use of ATVs by children less than 16 years of age.
HB 87 (Marzian) (H. Labor & Industry) (+)
Extends from 5 to 20 years after the last exposure, the time in which a claim must be filed for compensation due to occupational disease resulting from vinyl chloride exposure, making that time frame coterminous with the extended claim eligibility period for radiation disease and asbestos-related disease.
HB 97 (Denham) (H. State Govt)
Establishes new permanent legislative subcommittee on Rural Enhancement and development, with goal of improving quality of life of rural residents in the state.
HB 104 (Bratcher) (H. Local Govt)
Would allow any public question not prohibited by law to be submitted to voters of a city or county government for referendum by resolution of the governing body or on petition by 3% (down from the current 20%) of the voting population.
HB 110 (Burch) (H. Health & Welfare) (H. Rules With Committee Sub)
House counterpart to SB 47, Fletcher Administration reorganization bill on Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
HB 114 (Wuchner) (H. Local Govt)
Bill would reduce the number of Board members and change the composition and appointment of District Boards of Health, and would move authority to confirm appointments (which are made by the County Judge/Executive) from the local board of health to the fiscal court. The current requirement for a consumer member on the Board would be eliminated.
HB 122 (Feeley) (H. Local Govt)
House counterpart to Senate Bill 48, the bill imposes new requirement where city annexes land which includes only a portion of a sanitation district, that the sanitation district must vote to relinquish authority to provide sanitary sewers to that annexed portion. Currently, such approval is not required by statute.
HB 129 (A. Smith) (H. Transp)
Bill adjusts downward by 10,000 pounds the upper weight limits for coal haulage by trucks with 2 5 axles.
HB 135 (DeCesare and others) H. Elections & Const. Am.)
Another bill proposing to amend the state constitution to mandate that the General Assembly not adjourn a regular long session without enacting a budget and providing that, if they cannot accomplish that in the normal 60 legislative days for the long session, that they remain in session without pay until a budget is adopted.
HB 137 (Harmon) (H. State Govt)
Amends statutes governing Kentucky River Authority in order to prevent imposition of water user fees on municipal tributary lakes or reservoirs not recharged by main stem.
HB 138 (Draud) (H. A&R)
Bill, similar to HB 32, providing for a 32% gross receipts tax on wholesale sales of smokeless tobacco, cigars, loose and pipe tobacco, and 75 cents per pack (20) on cigarettes, and providing for disbursement of the tax revenues to fund childrens dental and oral health, mental health and substance abuse services, health care and insurance benefits for state employees, smoking prevention education, school expansion and construction, veterans nursing homes, cancer research, tuition assistance and the general fund.
HB 143 (Wayne & Riggs) (H. Local Govt, posted)
Amends planning statutes to address relationship of independent and joint planning units within counties.
HB 146 (Westrom) (H. Elections & Const. Ams.)
Proposed constitutional amendment to allow in medical malpractice cases, the General Assembly to impose artificial caps on noneconomic and punitive damages.
Kentucky's Constitution protects against legislative limitation those rights of action available to persons injured through the tortuous conduct of another. Section 14 of the Kentucky Constitution guarantees that "All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and rights and justice administered without sale, denial or delay."
As has been the case in past sessions, KRC opposes any constitutional amendment that would seek to stem jury awards by artificially limiting or eliminating, for any class of injuries and for the benefit of one class of persons, the right of any person to bring a civil action and to seek a jury trial for compensatory or punitive damages for injuries sustained. Appellate mechanisms within the judiciary already exist to assure that punitive damages bear a reasonable relation to the conduct of the negligent party.
HB 160 (Pullin) (H. Tourism, Dev. & Energy)
Eliminates confirmation by Interim Committee on Energy of appointments of PSC Commissioners; effect is that any appointments made when General Assembly is not in session will serve until they convene and confirm.
HB 172 (R. Nelson) (H. Eco. Dev., posted)
Creates new process for designating forest land as classified forest and requiring a management plan to be developed by Division of Forestry for such lands, and providing tax assessment at alternative rates for such lands.
HB 190 (Collins and others) (H. Nat Res. & Env, posted)
Bill creates 15 working-day timeframes for processing, review, and approval or denial of permits for on-site sewage systems by both local health departments and the state Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. KRC has grave concerns with language in Section 1(2) that directs issuance of a permit, rather than issuance or denial, suggesting that all permit applications must be approved irrespective of whether the proposed on-site system is appropriate for the propertys limitations. Additionally, for sites where a septic tank system is not appropriate due to soil or other conditions, the Cabinet is obligated under Section 2, to provide information relating to an alternative on-site sewage system alternative that can be approved[.] There are two problems with this approach the first being that while the Cabinet can and should provide available general information concerning the types of systems that are approvable under law, the Cabinet is not and should not be the engineer or contractor for the landowner or developer recommending installation of one system or another. Also, there may instances where due to the lot size, geology or hydrology, there are no on-site system alternatives, in which case the Cabinet should not be ordered to recommend one that can be approved.
HB 192 (Bowen and others) (H. Eco. Dev.)
Extends duration of enterprise zone designations for additional 5 years and allows expired zones to be reinstated.
HB 207 (Stein, Marzian, Meeks & Owens) (H. Judiciary)
Amends state civil rights laws to extend protections against discrimination in employment and housing based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
HB 211 (Wayne) (H. State Gov, posted)
Makes several amendments to Executive Branch Ethics Commission operating procedures and reporting requirements.
HB 218 (McKee, Adams, Denham) (H. Ag & Sm. Business)
Bill confirms Executive Order creating Division of Agritourism within Department of Agriculture.
HB 225 (Pullin) (H. Tourism Dev. & Energy)
Creates a Kentucky Gas Transmission Authority with the Finance Cabinet, to issue revenue bonds to fund construction, improvement or repaid of gas transmission pipelines where no transmission lines exist or where existing lines have insufficient capacity.
As written, the bill raises a number of questions. Among them are why a public entity is required to develop pipelines and why the private sector cant develop that capacity? Second, it is unclear whether the authority will own the lines that it repairs or constructs or whether the bonds are proposed for use in repairing or constructing private pipelines. Third, no protections are included for surface landowners and for the environment in new pipeline construction or reconstruction. The regulations that were mandated to have been adopted years ago by the Department for Mines and Minerals as part of the legislative measure precluding local ordinances regulating oil and gas gathering lines, have never been proposed or adopted. Fourth, it is not clear whether the new authority will exercise the power of eminent domain and if so, on what criteria? Fifth, and perhaps most fundamental, if new transmission lines are constructed for moving Kentucky gas to market, it is likely that those lines will fall within FERCs jurisdiction for rates and service, and it is unclear how that will affect the ability to assure that the capacity created will benefit those intended and how will FERC jurisdiction affect the ability to impose line charges to retire the debt. Sixth, it is unclear what procedures will be used to abandon these lines, nor is it clear who bears environmental liability for damage and liability to third parties if there is a catastrophic loss. Seventh, it is unclear why the development of new pipelines, if physical capacity is the issue, is being managed by a multi-interest entity that includes non-governmental and industry representatives as opposed to being managed by a governmental agency? As a private or quasi-governmental entity, what is its legal status in terms of liability of members and the derivative liability of the state for its actions or failures. Eighth, it is not clear who makes the threshold determination that no existing lines exist or that existing lines have insufficient capacity. What distance from existing lines would constitute existence of a line? Does sufficient capacity mean sufficient as a physical matter or at some predetermined cost level above which producers dont want to pay. Is sufficient an absolute term, or is insufficiency during peak times only sufficient to support new line construction.
If the goal of the bill is to assist small producers in eastern Kentucky to secure pipeline capacity, perhaps a focus more on assisting in aggregating production volumes for purposes of reserving capacity and marketing assistance rather than new construction should be considered. KRC will raise these issues with the sponsor during the next week.
HB 232 (Wayne & Riggs) (H. Local Govt., posted)(+)
Modifies laws relating to planning commissions, to make them subject to ethics codes, extends comprehensive planning window to 20 years, specifies consultation required for plan changes and adoption.
HB 247 (Brinkman) (H. Judiciary)
Significant revisions to law concerning partnerships, proposing to adopt with some changes the Uniform Partnership Act.
HB 251 (DeCesare & Bowen) (H. Judiciary)(-)
Bill would create a new section of Chapter 454 mandating an award of costs, expenses and attorneys fees against a party where a court finds that a civil action was malicious, harassing, legally without merit or factually frivolous, or a request to proceed in forma pauperis was false or misleading. Bill also provides makes mandatory the assessment of costs, expenses and attorney fees against inmates for frivolous suits (the court now may assess costs).
Courts already have the authority to award costs, including attorney fees, in appropriate cases. Judicial discretion to determine when to grant such an award should not be eliminated, nor should such awards be mandated where a court finds a particular legal argument to be without merit, as opposed to having been brought forward to harass or out of malice.
HB 267 (Hoover & Feeley) (H. A&R)
The Governors proposed Executive Branch Budget. KRC is analyzing the proposed budget and will post a separate analysis within the next week.
HB 272 (Hoover) (H. A&R)
With respect to the clean coal credit, KRC has several concerns. First, why is the state creating tax credit incentives for installation of clean coal technologies when installation of those technologies are already required by law for new plants. Additionally, providing credits to companies based on tonnage of Kentucky coal burned is a Kentucky coal subsidy rather than a meaningful incentive for construction of new more efficient electric generation facilities, for whom the choice of fuel supplier depends on quality, reliability of delivery, and fuel composition. Credits or other inducements should be directed at the improvements in the efficiency in conversion of fuels to energy, improvements in waste minimization and reductions in emissions from such units, and other criteria that reward deployment of new generation technologies that perform better than baseline best available technology at capturing mercury, CO2 and other pollutants.
HB 283 (Vincent) (H. Nat R. Env)
Bill creates reporting requirements for junkyards and recycling facilities of materials sold, and transfers authority over junkyards to Environment & Public Protection Cabinet from Department of Highways.
HB 297 (Marzian) (H. Labor & Industry, posted)
Extends statute of limitations for claims resulting from exposure to vinyl chloride.
HB 302 (Hall & others)
Creates new Kentucky Multiple-Use Recreational Trail Commission for two-year period to develop plan for a long-term permanent state entity to plan, promote, fund, and manage multi-county recreational trails which are developed for multiple uses, including pedestrians, horses, motorized and nonmotorized vehicles on privately owned land.
HB 315 (Stacy)(+)
Proposed constitutional amendment providing that if executive branch budget isnt enacted on or before the 60th legislative day during an even-numbered year regular session, the terms of members of the General Assembly, the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor end 35 days later and special elections are called to fill those positions.
HB 319 (Fischer & Keene)
Amendment to planning statutes to allow independent planning units created prior to 1966 to continue to operate independent of joint planning units.
HR 2 (Adkins)
Adopts 2004 House Rules of Procedure as temporary rules for the 2005 Session.
HCR 12 (Gray) (H. Elections)
Urges Congress to pass amendment to U.S. Constitution defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman in marriage. The preamble to this resolution indicates that it is directed at reversing the trend to civil unions for same sex couples. (Authors query - Aside from the obvious redundancy, does this mean that second marriages are void, or is serial monogamy acceptable?)
HCR 15 (Gray) (H. Elections)
Urges Congress to pass an amendment to the U.S. constitution prohibiting abortion under any circumstance.
HR 23 (Nelson) (H. NR & Env) (+)
Urges Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee to recommend issuance of a stamp commemorating the nations coal miners.
HCR 57 (P. Clark)
Creates a ten-member task force to study the use by government and private parties of eminent domain and to assess the advisability of safeguards to protect private property owners and the environment.
KRC believes that a review of the authority vested by state law to private entities, including utilities and certain extractive industries, to exercise the power of eminent domain, and the use of such authority by governments for nominally public purposes, is appropriate for review by a task force or standing legislative committee.
HJR 65 (Nelson) (H. Nat. Res. & Env)
Reauthorizes Forest Health Task Force
HR 104 (Richards & Others)
Adopts Rules of Procedure for 2005 Session
Resolution directing Interim Special Subcommittee On Energy To Invite World Trade Organization representatives to discuss potential impact of WTO decisions on Kentucky.