This week takes us to day 23 of the 30-day legislative session. The deadline for new bills has now passed, however bills can still be amended or substituted. On March 12th and 13th the Legislature will have two days of bill concurrence, and then we will enter a 10-day veto period. The last day of the session is presently set for March 29th.
This past week was a busy one for KCC. Aside from our daily lobbying, on Thursday we hosted approximately fifty constituents who came to lobby to support residential solar energy. Our thanks to over a dozen nonprofits who joined us to meet with legislators and campaign against SB 100. We want to thank all of the citizens and groups who came up to tell lawmakers. If you wish to comment on this bill, or comment AGAIN on this bill, please see our action alert page for the latest information.
There are plenty of other bills to comment on as well. See this Courier-Journal article from last week on House Bill 387, (KCC “Oppose” Bill) which would block from disclosure certain records submitted to the state by companies seeking economic development incentives. KCC supports government transparency and urges you to call members of the House today, as they are set to pass this bill at any time.
SB 100 and HB 387 are just a few of approximately 130 bills and resolutions that KCC is tracking. To see our full list of House bills with KCC analysis, click here. You can find our full list of Senate bills with KCC analysis here.
We were able to take a short break this week, on Tuesday evening, when KCC was one of four nonprofits invited to table at the James Taylor/Bonnie Raitt concert at Rupp Arena in Frankfort this past week. Several KCC members stopped by our table during the event, so we thank them for taking the time to visit. You can also come visit us at the upcoming Somerset Green Living Fair on April 6th, and the Springfield Green Festival on April 26th. We love to get out to different festivals throughout the state, so if you know of an upcoming event where we can table, please contact us.
Bills and Resolutions on the Move This Week:
- Leasing on Federal and State Land: House Concurrent Resolution 4 and House Concurrent Resolution 7 both encourage the addressing of leasehold interests on Federal lands and State lands respectively for the purpose of improving communications infrastructure (cell phone towers). We oppose additional intrusion on State and Federal lands. These resolutions have passed the House and are now in the Senate. Please urge the Senate to oppose.
- Water Infrastructure:HCR56, SCR81 (KCC Strong Support) establish a legislative task force to address oversight of public drinking water systems. Both versions were amended this week with a committee substitute which expands the task force from 17 to 21 members, adding several more water company interests, such as Kentucky American Water to the task force and adding wastewater treatment to the resolutions. Both resolutions have passed their respective chambers and are now in the second chamber.
- Meanwhile, HB268 (KCC Support) which adds bond funding for water infrastructure AND state parks, passed the House and is presently in the Senate Appropriations & Revenue committee. Please contact the Senate A&R committee and urge passage of this bill.
- HB341 (Strong Oppose) Increases the fees for specialty license plates, including the Kentucky Nature Plates which fund land conservation, however the amount paid to the group that the license plate supports does not change This may further discourage the purchase of the “Nature’s Finest” plates, which produce significant revenue for the Kentucky Nature Preserves. This bill passed the House and is now in the Senate Transportation Committee. Please call members of the Senate Transportation Committee and tell then not to raise fees on specialty plates without also raising the charity allocations from these plates (particularly the allocation to the Heritage Land Conservation Fund).
- Fuel Tax/ Fees on Electric and Efficient Cars: HB517 (Strong Oppose) This bill will also have a similar effect as HB341 in raising fees without raising charity contributions. This bill also adds $175 fee to electric vehicles, and imposes a penalty on vehicles with low gas mileage by requiring an annual fee. While we want to see a fair tax to address all types of vehicles, this approach sends the wrong price incentives. See Insider Louisville article here. This bill is beginning to move, having its first reading in the House and returned to the House Appropriations & Revenue committee.
- Litter/Waste: SB236 (Support) requires the creation of a website and mobile app for the reporting of litterers. This bill passed with a vote of 35-1 and is now on its way to the House.
Not Yet On the Move: Call!
- We are surprised that no movement has happened yet on HR108 (Strong Support) Urges the Governor to declare a state of emergency in Martin County over their water crisis. This community has now gone for months with unreliable water service. Contact the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee and tell them to support this resolution.
- Other bills we support, but have not yet moved: HB146 (Support) Allows for third-party installation of solar and. HB213 (Strong Support) creates a renewable portfolio standard (contact the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee on both of these bills).
- We would also like to see more calls in support of HCR54 (Strong Support) to create a mileage-based transportation task force. Contact House Transportation and urge support.
- Litter/Waste: HB183 (Support) Limits waste from single-use plastic, but currently has not moved in the House Natural Resources committee.