We have just completed the sixth week of the 2020 General Assembly. The session ends on April 15, 2020. This past week, KCC and pro-solar allies hit the Capitol Annex to lobby for clean energy. More than 50 citizens spent the day working with a collaborative of pro-solar nonprofits to ask lawmakers to support two bills:

Our thanks to all the citizens who came to Frankfort from across the state. And our thanks to our allies in the solar advocacy network. We particularly want to thank the work of Cara Cooper, who provides coordination for the network.

We also saw plenty of other friends and allies at the Capitol Annex this week. We’d like to salute our friends at Community Farm Alliance for their lobby day this past week, and the filing of resolutions in the House (HR83) and Senate (SR135) to salute the organization’s 35th anniversary. If you are not familiar with CFA and their critical work in supporting local farmers and food, we hope you will check them out!

New Bills Of Note:

SB164 (Wheeler) KCC Support: Designates 100% of a new open dumping fine be paid to the county where the violation occurred, expressly includes littering and open dumping as crimes subject to enforcement by code enforcement; allows local governments to impose a civil fines between $250 and $500 and use those funds for abatement, cleanup and restoration of the illegal dump site.

Updates of the week:

We have updated our position on HB44, the “Key Infrastructure” bill which has been one of a rash of “anti-protest” bills filed across multiple states. Last week we informed you that a House floor amendment, HFA1, was being filed to this bill. The bill sponsor (Rep. Gooch) worked in good faith on an amendment to address concerns raised by KCC, KRC, ACLU and others. KCC strongly supported this amendment, and we were glad to see that floor amendment HFA1 was adopted to the bill this week. The amendment removes some of the vague language about “impeding” and “inhibiting” critical infrastructure. For civil actions, it removes liability for those who knowingly “compensate or renumerate” those who violate the Act and replaces language to those who “knowingly direct or cause a person to engage in mischief that involves tampering with critical infrastructure.”

The bill does still include higher penalties for damage of a key infrastructure asset [already illegal], but we are working to ensure that lawful citizens are not deterred from exercising their First Amendment rights.

Actions to Take: We want members to ask the Senate to not take action to remove the amendments to HB 44 passed by the House and pass the bill as amended. KCC does not support the original language of the bill, but we support the compromised changes to the bill contained in HFA1. You may call the legislative message line at 1-800-372-7181.

We also ask that you thank Rep. Gooch for making many positive changes to this bill in his amendment.

[To learn more about the range of anti-protest bills filed around the country, see the International Center for Not for Profit Law’s Protest Law Tracker].


Save the Date (March 3) to Celebrate Kentucky’s Natural Lands in Frankfort!

KCC is planning a celebration of Kentucky’s natural lands in the Capitol Rotunda on March 3rd, from 1-2PM. Save the date, and plan on joining us! More details in our next newsletter.

Finally:

We want to take a minute to recognize KCC’s current Board of Directors. We seated our new board last month, with new members who add even more talent and perspectives to our work. KCC’s Staff and Board review the latest bills and make the assessments that are shared with you each week. This team includes farmers, educators, land conservation experts, energy experts, political analysts, biologists and more, from all regions within the state. We hope this provides you a rich summary of views within our analysis.