Kentucky Resources Council, Inc.
Post Office Box 1070
Frankfort, Kentucky 40602
(502) 875-2428 phone (502) 875-2845 fax
February 4, 2002
2002 REGULAR SESSION: 731 bills, 176 resolutions, and 42 legislative days to go.
It is hard to remember a time when one looked forward to the time when the convening of the General Assembly meant progress in the area of protection of the environment and the rights of those whose interests often suffer in the pursuit by the powerful of narrow economic and political agendas.
Without the support and courage of a handful of legislative leaders in the House and Senate historically, the damage would have been far greater, but the last decade has been an exercise in defending against serial attacks on environmental quality and public access to government, punctuated by occasional small increments of progress in areas such as solid waste management and protection of natural areas.
The extent to which each branch of government at the state, federal and local levels will be accountable depends entirely on each of us. The next 42 legislative days will see efforts to enable environmental lawbreakers to avoid penalties, to hide from the public records regarding agricultural water pollution, and to weaken protections against outlaw coal companies reentering the market. The fate of these measures, and the level of tolerance by the legislature of such measures, is yours to define.
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.
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. State Govt) (-)
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 unless enacted into law.
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 a joint resolution 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.
SB 1 also modifies the composition of several standing and permanent committees of the legislature.
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) (Recommitted to S.AgNR)
The companion bill to HB 319, this bill requires state agencies to purchase Kentucky-grown fresh produce, fresh seafood, eggs, fish and meat products if available.
While a positive step, the bill should be amended to include local agencies and contractors using state funds as well as state agencies, and to define when perishables are "available" in order to assure that agencies make a reasonable effort to secure such products. Also, language directing the Department of Agriculture to maintain a web-based registry of available Kentucky perishable producers and products would help inform concerning "availability."
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) (S.State Govt)
Increases legislative oversight over executive branch expenditures under contracts, personal service contracts and memoranda of understanding.
SB 33 (Roeding) (S. State Govt) (-)
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 also contains sections of KRS Chapter 13A that have been found unconstitutional by the Franklin Circuit Court, including KRS 13A.333, which purports to allow a committee of the General Assembly to find a regulation deficient and to cause the regulation to sunset.
There is one positive aspect to the bill in the clarification of when a comment period closes on a proposed regulation, but otherwise the bill is unconstitutional in part and 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.
The bill suffers from a lack of a robust and durable source of funds needed both to pay for the staff person mandated for support within the Natural Resources Cabinet, and to fund the education, publicity and other initiatives identified in the bill and to support the functioning of the KY-CLEAN Board.
SB 40 (Kelly) (to S. Calendar) (-)
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) (to House State Government)
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) (S. Calendar with Committee Sub) (+)
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) (S. Ag. NR)(-)
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 to determine for itself the most efficient and effective means of attaining and maintaining air quality improvements.
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) (+)
Proposed constitutional amendment to repeal annual sessions.
SB 116 (Harris) (+) (S. Calendar)
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)
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)
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)
Executive Branch Budget
SB 154 (Miller and Blevins)
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) (+)
Senate version of HB 556, establishing and defining 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.
SR 8 (Williams)
2002 Senate Rules of Procedure
SCR 17 (Brett Guthrie) (Passed Senate, to House NREnv) (+)
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. A floor amendment to the Senate bill included KRC as one of the 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)
Allows any vehicle hauling building materials to a home to exceed weight and dimension limits of the road.
HB 15 (Cherry) (H. Eco. Dev.) (posted) (-)
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) (H. Rules)(+)
Mandates use of up to 5% biodiesel (fuel made from renewable fats and vegetable oils) fuel for all diesel fuel sold in state by 2007. While marginally increasing fuel costs at the pump, this measure will result in appreciable reduction in air toxics and criteria air pollutants from diesel engines while creating new markets for Kentucky agricultural products.
HB 43 (Tapp) (To Senate A&R)
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.
HB 75 (L. Belcher) (H.Tourism, Dev. & Energy)(-)
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) (H. Floor)
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.
HB 124 (Draud) (H. Calendar)
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) (H. Eco. Dev.)(posted)
Requires Cabinet for Economic Development to prioritize efforts towards counties with 15% or higher unemployment.
HB 173 (Hoffman) (H. HREnv) (+, but with amendments)
Imposes a 5$ per ton fee on waste disposed at contained landfills, to fund assistance to local governments to remediate and close old landfills. Cabinet will assess and rank the old landfills and prioritize by risk. Local governments would be eligible for the funds on a 4:1 matching basis. 50 cents of each 5$ would be rebated to the host county. 10% of the deposits would be transferred to the hazardous waste management fund each year if needed to remediate top 3 orphan non-governmental landfills.
The former landfills are the sole responsibility, under law, of that local government, and a 4:1 contribution from all solid waste generators in and out of state through a 5$ fee provides substantial subsidy to those communities. The Council supports funded assistance to local governments to close former solid waste landfills owned or operated by local governments, but believes that any financial assistance should be in the form of loan assistance, as provided in HB 174, and should be coupled with a commitment by that community to adopt a mandatory solid waste collection ordinance (whether curbside or otherwise) and to full implementation of that community's solid waste plan obligations. Additionally, the existing exemption in state law that allowed these government landfills to operate without a closure bond should be eliminated, since had such a bond requirement been in place those communities would have better planned for the fiscal obligation of closure.
The Council supports a solid waste impact fee, provided that it is assessed at the first point of transfer in state, in order to capture waste managed in the state even where disposed of elsewhere, the hazardous waste assessment fund, imposing a fee on hazardous waste generated in the state and intended to provide a state "superfund", must be fully reauthorized in addition to any funds generated by the solid waste impact fee.
Finally, the Council supports use of part of any tipping fee to fund the initiatives outlined in HB 174.
HB 174 (Stumbo) (H. A&R)(+)
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," a portion of which would fund debt service on a loan program to local communities to close former landfills, a grant program to local government to clean up illegal dumps, and funding of the environmental education master plan.
To be eligible, counties must hire a solid waste coordinator, and implement and enforce their solid waste and anti-litter laws.
Under the bill the state may petition to assume responsibility for local solid waste programs if the community fails to achieve and maintain 85% participation in proper disposal of wastes by mid-2007.
Additionally, authority to collect delinquent waste fees with property taxes is provided.
The Council strongly supports the bill, but believes that one key change is needed to clarify the responsibility of each county concerning waste collection. The Council believes that the flexibility provided by allowing communities to utilize approaches other than county-wide curbside collection is necessary due to funding constraints and demographic limitations in some counties. Setting a target goal of 100% participation with an action trigger of 85% is not unreasonable, given the lack of full compliance even in counties having mandatory collection ordinances. However, requiring the state to assume responsibility for managing solid waste collection programs for defaulting counties is not an appropriate solution - instead, after a sufficient lead time and financial support, the county failing to achieve and maintain an appropriate level of demonstrated participation by residents should be held in default and penalized; not rewarded by having the state assume their responsibility.
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)(posted)
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) (-)
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) (H. Rules) (+)
Removes the sunset clause on the state hazardous waste assessment fund.
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) (To Senate AgNR)
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 286 (P. Clark) (to Senate)
Mandates establishment of a real property and facilities management database of all state facilities and property.
HB 294 (Geveden and others) (H. Rules)
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) (H. Floor) (Posted)
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) (-)
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) (H. Ag.Sm.Bus) (posted) (+, needs clarification)
Requires state agencies to purchase Kentucky-grown fresh produce, fresh seafood, eggs, fish and meat products if available.
While a positive step, the bill should be amended to include local agencies and contractors using state funds as well as state agencies, and to define when perishables are "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 others) (H. A&R) (+)
Would allow a refundable credit to low-income taxpayers against state income tax equal to 5% (rising to 15% in 2003) of the federal earned income credit.
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. Doris Haddock, better known as Granny D, the nonagenarian who walked across America for campaign-finance reform, will be testifying before the state legislature on Jan. 31. She turns 92 on Jan. 24. DATE: Thursday, Jan. 31, TIME: 10 a.m. PLACE: Room 125, Capitol Annex (call the Meeting Information Line 800-633-9650 to confirm meeting time) HB 357 (J.Adams) (H. Local Govt) (posted)
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) (H. NR Env) (posted) (-)
Bill proposes 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.
This bill would create 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.
HB 370 (Nunn) (H. State Govt)
An omnibus Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, this bill requires development of a comprehensive plan for addressing public health emergencies, empowers state and local agencies to address public health emergencies (whether by bioterrorism, natural disaster or disease epidemic) and authorizes establishment of a Public Health Emergency Planning Commission
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) (H. Ag& Sm.Business) (posted)
Exempts 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.
HB 405 (Johnnie Turner and others) (H.NR.Env, recommitted H. A&R) (-)
Bill creates a new exemption from surface coal mining laws - one that would exempt individuals, nonprofit corporations and partnerships extracting up to 5,000 tons of coal from obtaining a mining permit or mining license if the coal is donated to a charitable organization or sold and the proceeds, "after expenses" are donated.
Bill also expands current exemption of 250 tons of coal as an incidental part of construction where the coal is donated, to 5,000 tons.
In a state where elements in the coal industry have abused every exemption provided under state or federal law, including coal exploration laws, "on site construction exemptions," "two-acre permit exemptions" and "incidental coal removal" exemptions, the bill invites new abuse by allowing substantial coal removal and sale, provided that proceeds are donated "after expenses." Any commercial sale violates the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, regardless of how the proceeds are distributed. Further, the necessity of controlling the environmental consequences of mining is unrelated to the disposition of the coal.
HB 408 (Gooch) (H. NREnv.) (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) (H. Seniors, Military and Public Safety)(posted)
Amends existing law governing permitting of mobile home and manufactured communities (parks).
HB 418 (Crenshaw) (H. Tourism, Development & Energy)
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 House)(+)
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)(H. Local Govt)(posted)(-)
Would remove northern Kentucky's Sanitation Districts (sewage agency) from PSC jurisdiction over service and rates.
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.
HB 460 (Bratcher)(H. Judiciary) (+ in concept but needs substantial work)
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) (H. Local Govt) (posted)(+)
"Smart Growth" bill requiring designation of future growth areas for planning and zoning and linking extension of utility service to such areas; provisions encouraging regional planning.
HB 496 (Gooch) (H. NREnv)(--)
Vying with no other bill for the most dangerous and least responsible bill filed this session, this bill, which has been posted for consideration and could be heard this week, would mandate 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 a mandatory 45 day period 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)
Executive Branch Budget
HB 517 (McKee and Gray)
This bill exempts from sales taxes expenditures in furtherance of deer farming.
HB 518 (Bratcher)
Proposed constitutional amendment to create the right of initiative and referendum.
HB 521 (Damron) (+)
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)
Creates a tax credit for Kentucky wood energy producers producing and selling processed wood products.
HB 536 (Rader & Colter)
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 542 (Yonts)
Tax credits offered against income tax for investment in equipment or training related to value-added hardwood products industry.
HB 543 (R. Adams)(+)
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) (-)
Bill adds to the authority of 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.
The Council believes that where land has been taken by condemnation, that land should not be "exchanged" for other land without first being offered to the individual from whom the land was acquired. This bill would appear to change existing law to eliminate this right.
HB 556 (Hall, Branham, R. Nelson and Johnnie Turner) (+)
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.
HR 10 (Vincent) (Senate AgNR)
Creation of a Kentucky Farming Museum Task Force
HR 11 (Haydon and R. Nelson)(H.Floor)
Resolution making May 1 a day to honor Kentucky coal miners.
HCR 12 (Haydon and R. Nelson)
Resolution in support of request to Postmaster General to consider commemorative stamp for America's 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) (H. Rules) (posted)
Joint resolution reauthorizing the aquaculture task force.
HJR 24 (Moberly)(H AG Sm. B)(posted)(+)
Creates a subcommittee on ethanol production within the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources to study ethanol production as a fuel.
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)(H. Labor & Industry)
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.