At this halfway point in the session, KCC has reviewed hundreds of bills and resolutions to date, and we have highlighted about 90 bills and resolutions for you in our House and Senate lists linked above. So far, only a few have made it all the way to the Governor’s desk.

This week, much of the public attention was focused on the House “Medical Marijuana” bill HB136 (KCC Monitor) which passed after much debate and plenty of floor amendments…seventeen filed,  with eight total adopted. Our interest in monitoring marijuana bills this session has more to do with the fact that these operations can be surprisingly large users of energy. (See this article from the National Conference of State Legislatures).

As for other bills that moved this week, there was SB4 (KCC Oppose),  which takes away Governor’s sole authority in appointing a Transportation Secretary, requiring the establishment of a state transportation board to submit candidates (the Governor would make a selection from that list) and to determine priority for state transportation projects. That bill passed the Senate 25-8 and is on its way to the House.

We also saw movement this week on SB103 (KCC Oppose) which reduces the minimum acreage requirement to qualify as a “farmstead” from ten acres to five acres for the purposes of on-site sewage disposal system requirements. After the addition of an amendment which excludes dwellings unrelated to farming, that bill is now on its way to the House.

But we are taking note this week
on what we have not seen:

We have not seen any movement yet on several bills of importance to KCC, including HB126 (KCC Strong Support) rate affordability bill and, HB323 (KCC Strong Support) Net Metering phase-in bills, which are both being held in the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee. We urge you to contact members of the committee, as well as House Leadership, and ask for passage of these bills. The Net Metering phase-in legislation, in particular has received much bipartisan support and would help small solar businesses.

We also have not seen movement on HB239 (KCC Support) which would allow greater choice for diagnosing black lung patients. The bill has twenty co-sponsors,  yet has not moved in the House Economic Development & Workforce Investment committee. Please contact members of the committee and ask for passage of this bill that will benefit these workers who have experienced great environmental harm from their years of mining coal.

Sometimes “what you don’t see” can be a good thing. KCC has been working hard behind the scenes to educate lawmakers on how different states are dealing with the growth of the electric car market, and policies to address the how  these vehicles can contribute to the road fund. For at least two sessions, lawmakers attempted to add new flat fees for drivers of these cleaner, more efficient cars, and we have been anticipating a new fee proposal for this year. But we are feeling good about the fact that lawmakers seem to be taking their time to be very thoughtful and deliberate. We are hopeful that they may delay changes to this growing market for a little while longer.

Unseen, Unsung? NOT!

Last week, the KCC staff decided to salute our team on the KCC Board. This week, we want to take just a brief moment to express our thanks to our “behind the scenes” MVP, Mr. Randy Strobo of Strobo Barkley PLLC. During the legislative session, Randy contributes his legal and legislative expertise to KCC, but even more importantly, provides a solid sounding board and friendship partnering with our Executive Director Lane Boldman. If you come to the Capitol you’ll likely see Randy and Lane working the halls.  What you won’t see are the mountains of texts they send each other day and night as bills change quickly. So this week, we want to send thanks to all of the great work Randy provides every session.

Celebrate Kentucky’s Natural Lands!

We mentioned last week that we have had an event in the works. Well, here are the details: We invite you to come to the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, March 3rd and join several land conservation nonprofits in celebrating Kentucky’s natural lands. This week, Rep. Daniel Elliott filed House Resolution 95 which celebrates Kentucky’s natural lands. Join us on March 3rd from 1-2PM. We also welcome folks who wish to come early if you wish to visit your legislators while you’re there (and we can assist with those appointments). RSVP for Ky. Land Conservation Awareness Day HERE!

In addition to HR95, we would also like to take a moment to highlight Rep. Elliott’s bill HB319 (KCC Support) which establishes a fund for the preservation of battlefields and Underground Railroad sites in Kentucky. Please thank Rep. Elliott.