We start this week at the 47th day into a 60-day legislative session. So we anticipate a fast-moving week as we soon approach the “veto” period, which will begin on March 29th.

Our attention remains largely on the two primary bills which have held our concern all session: HB200 (Budget bill which has removed funding for land conservation and environmental education) and HB227 (anti-residential solar bill).

Our highest concern this week is with HB200. The House Budget bill did restore funding for the Kentucky Mesonet Program at the Kentucky Climate Center, which was one of our concerns. However the bill still “sweeps” $5 million in funding from the Heritage Land Conservation Fund (more information and special handouts on the land conservation issue HERE) and also removes funding for environmental education. See the KCC Alerts Page for our recommended actions on this bill With time counting down, we need the Senate to act to get this funding restored. This is the most important week for you to make your calls and send your emails on this bill, so please share our action information with friends.

KCC members and supporters have made an incredible effort to slow down HB227, despite overwhelming resources spent to pass this legislation. The bill is STILL stuck in the House Natural Resources & Energy Committee, awaiting a vote on a new committee substitute before it can move on to the House. While the substitute has not been posted, we understand what is being proposed is still highly flawed and unfair to customers who have invested in residential solar. See the KCC Alerts Page for our recommended actions on this bill. While we are pleased that this legislation has stalled, there is still time for it to move quickly through the House and Senate.

We are also looking forward this week to two events: KCC will be helping filmmaker Ben Evans and members of the Evolve electric vehicle group, where we will be hosting two screenings of Ben’s latest film on electric vehicles in coal country. We will be screening the film for legislators on Tuesday and Thursday at the Capitol Annex. See the KCC Alerts Page for information about two pieces of legislation proposing new fees on electric vehicles.

Our second event will be this Friday, March 16th in Louisville, where we are hosting a special presentation of “Sisters of the Mother Forest”…the story of Lucy and Annette Braun…featuring KCC board member Alice Jones in this one-woman presentation. We hope you can join us! See information here.

 

KCC “Support” Bills On the Move:

  • HB33, the “Safe Bicycle Passing Law.” This bill has now been through the House Transportation Committee and is posted for passage in the Senate Transportation Committee.
  • HB370 streamlines the voluntary environmental remediation program application process for contaminated properties. This bill has now passed the House Natural Resources Committee and is now in the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
  • HB513 allows the Energy and Environment Cabinet to require structural analyses and secure financial or performance measures for small wastewater treatment plants before issuing CWA discharge permits. Allows the Cabinet to appoint a receiver to assume the management and operations of a plant. This bill is now through its second reading in House Natural Resources and should pass on to the Senate shortly.
  • SJR218 Directs state agencies to conduct self-studies to examine current practices that contribute to food waste and to identify opportunities to reduce food waste by increasing donations to charitable feeding agencies. This resolution has now passed the Senate Agriculture Committee and is now in the House Agriculture Committee.
  • SB249 is a bill that restructures and reorganizes Department of Oil and Gas administrative hearings. This bill has moved quickly through the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee and is anticipated to be in the corresponding House committee shortly.

(If you wish to act on any of these bills, call the message line at 1-800-372-7181. Also check our Alerts page.)

 

KCC “Oppose” Bills and Resolutions On the Move:

  • HB22, a bill affecting drones, prohibits the use of drones and evidence gathered by drones except for law enforcement purposes. This would challenge citizen monitoring of environmental hazards. This bill has now gone through the House and Senate and the House has now concurred with the Senate’s committee substitute, passing unanimously. This means the bill is almost ready to go to the Governor’s Desk. Please contact House and Senate leadership and ask them to hold his bill.
  • HB324 is similar in impacting citizen monitoring, in that it establishes a criminal offense of trespass upon key infrastructure assets such as electric power plants, pipelines, refineries, research facilities, and water treatment facilities. While we understand privacy concerns, we also are concerned that it may restrict citizen monitoring of environmental risk sites. This bill has also passed the House Judiciary committee and has now gone to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • HCR115 is a resolution that urges U.S. Congress to establish a moratorium on closing coal-fired electric plants and to eliminate subsidies for renewable energy sources except for battery storage. The resolution was passed in House Natural Resources and posted for passage last week, but due to floor amendments filed, it has not passed the full House. Call your representative and ask for them to vote “no” on this resolution.

(If you wish to act on any of these bills, call the message line at 1-800-372-7181. Also check our Alerts page.)