These are busy times, as we have been receiving many calls at the office asking for research on the voting records of many in the legislature. While KCC does not presently endorse specific candidates, we have been glad to help our members with information on the voting records of candidates on specific issues we track. It is exciting to see such an involved electorate, and we hope to see all of you at the polls on November 6th. If you don’t know where your polling place is located, you can go to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Voter Information Center page to find your precinct location and sample ballots. You can also view your current voter registration and find candidate filings through the state’s Voter Information Portal. We know that many KCC members are out there working hard for their chosen candidates, and we appreciate all of your effort to express your views at the ballot box.
As soon as we know election results, KCC will be posting the new slate of 2019 legislators on our website. We are looking forward to working with these new faces and committee members.
Kentucky Voices, November 7th, 2018
With all of this hard work that has been taking place, we have scheduled our annual Kentucky Voices Author’s Event to be held the day after elections, Wednesday, November 7th in Frankfort. We hope you will take advantage of this annual event and join us for a relaxing evening of some of Kentucky’s best native authors and filmmakers. The event is FREE for current members in good standing, and if you are not a member, we are asking for a suggested donation to support our work and prepare for the 2019 session. (Better yet, we hope you will consider becoming a member!). We will be serving refreshments at 6:30PM and the event begins at 7PM. We have a GREAT lineup for the evening, details here. Please join us and come out in support of KCC! You can also donate in advance on Eventbrite.
We are excited to share new resources with our members, KCC’s guide to Key Steps for Climate Action, and our new Climate Action web pages. We had been working on these new resources over the summer, and received a request for an advance printing of our climate action guide last month, but will soon be following with a revised and expanded print edition in December to add updated information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The guide highlights many great examples of work all across the state to address climate impacts and steps you can take. If you would like copies of this guide for your organization, please contact us. We will also be sending out the Key Steps guide to all KCC members who have renewed their membership by the end of December 2018.
What’s Been Happening During the Interim Session
As we reach the end of the Interim Session, meetings have been slowing down, but lawmakers were engaged with plenty of presentations all summer. Just to mention a few highlights, a few weeks ago, the Natural Resources & Energy committee received several presentations in Owensboro, including several from Owensboro Grain, who is producing biodiesel, soy-based industrial products, and demonstrated its on-site co-generation power plant that is designed to power 100% of their “crushing” division’s power needs. Earlier they received detailed presentations on the state’s aging water and wastewater infrastructure, which will be a major concern in upcoming sessions. Back in September, the same committee received updates from Fish & Wildlife on the status of invasive species such as wild pigs and Asian Carp, plus information on the control of contagious diseases in Kentucky wildlife. These are just a sample of topics that were covered over summer, and KCC has been monitoring all that have a conservation impact.
Other highlights include presentations to The Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture who received updates on the Farms to Foodbanks programs and some of the great agricultural work happening at Kentucky State University.
Interim committees are still scheduled to meet up to the week before Christmas. These meetings are a great time to schedule a meeting with legislators on the issues you care about. If you are planning a visit to Frankfort and would like our assistance in setting up a meeting with your favorite legislator, please contact us and we are glad to accommodate.
Recognitions…Thanks for your great work!
The work we all do to protect Kentucky’s natural environment is very hard and most do it with little expectation of reward. However in the past month, we were very pleased to see recognition for very deserving champions: First we’d like to mention is Chris Schimmoeller, who will be this year’s recipient of Kentucky Heartwood’s annual Stu Butler memorial award. Chris has been a longtime friend of KCC and we can’t say enough about her career of caring for Kentucky’s natural environment and her personal grace and integrity. In addition, Kentucky Resources Council’s director Tom Fitzgerald, a constant ally and friend of KCC, was presented the Secretary’s Award for his work to reform oil and gas laws during the Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment. We were also pleased to see an award go to the Kentucky Native Plant Society, a KCC partner group.
And speaking of the annual Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment: This year’s conference, I have to say, had far more focus on energy than the environment, which I found to be a disappointment. That perspective was also shared by KCC member Kris O’Daniel last week, in her Lexington Herald-Leader Op Ed. The conference covered progress on the Abandoned Mine Land program, the energy and regulatory outlook for 2019, and the growing urgency of dealing with our state’s water and wastewater infrastructure. See this article on this year’s conference.
We are very excited to announce that we are receiving support to organize a conference next summer or fall, tentatively called the “Upper Cumberland Watershed Climate and Biodiversity Conference”. We are hoping to bring together a diverse group of interests who want to address Kentucky’s unique biodiversity, and form action plans to support climate resilience in this important watershed. Stand by for more details as we develop this project, and if you are an organization who is interested in participating, we’d like to hear from you!
In the meantime, mark your calendars for KCC’s Annual Legislative Summit, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, January 12th, 2019 in Louisville.
We want to thank several organizations that invited KCC to present at their recent meetings. We were guests at the Kentucky Conference for Environmental Education for a panel on environmental advocacy, and were also invited to present to the Mammoth Cave and Northern Kentucky Groups of the Sierra Club to update them on legislative issues happening around the state. We are glad to come out to your region if you are looking for guest speakers…just contact us!
We’re Moving…but not very far!
As some of you may know, last year we had to move the KCC office on short notice due to our building on East Main (Frankfort) being sold just before the session began. We temporarily re-located to the other side of Main Street this year, but are now planning on a move a block away to Wapping Street, across from Frankfort’s Paul Sawyier Library. We should be in our new office before the 2019 legislative session.