This past week, we reached the deadlines for filing new House and Senate bills, which resulted in a burst of last-minute of filing activity. We are now with about six weeks left in the session, and only three weeks left till we reach the veto period. But there is still enough time for new filings to move.
During this time, we can also expect to see some consolidation of bills, which means that every bill substitution needs to be watched closely. To date, KCC has now reviewed over 800 House 500 Senate bills and resolutions. Of those reviewed, we have listed about 95 House and 33 Senate bills and resolutions with a conservation impact.
Activity for the Week:
The primary house budget bill (HB200) (KCC Strong Oppose) moved with a bill substitute this past week, and while we were glad to see the restoration of some funds, such as funding for the Mesonet program of the Kentucky Climate Center), we were very disappointed to see that the $5 million in “sweeps” from the Heritage Land Conservation Fund, Kentucky’s only funding for land conservation, remained in the substitute. The bill was voted on and approved immediately after the substitute was revealed. Now the fight moves on to the Senate. See our alert page for actions to take on this bill.
Another bill that moved this week was HB22 (KCC Oppose) a bill that prohibits the use of drones and evidence gathered by drones except for law enforcement purposes. This would challenge citizen monitoring of environmental hazards. That bill is now making its way to the Senate.
The bike safety bill HB33 (KCC Support) was heard in the Senate Transportation committee where lawmakers continued to raise questions on balancing the consideration between bikes and cars on our roadways. See this article from “Bike Walk North Carolina” on bike safety benefits.
Expect the Anti-Net Metering bill to move:
We expect HB227 (Anti-solar net metering bill, KCC Strong Oppose) to move this week where we expect to see new committee substitute. The bill presently resides in the House Natural Resources committee but is expected to move to the full House shortly. See this article on how citizens in Eastern Kentucky are asking for more solar jobs, and please see our alert page for actions to take on this bill.
Notable new bills this week:
For new bills, we saw the filing of HB609 (KCC Oppose), a comprehensive transportation funding bill that includes language from the previously filed HB45 that establishes a flat fee for electric, plug-in electric, and hybrid vehicles. While we agree alternatives to the gas tax must be explored to raise revenue for road infrastructure, we disagree with the flat fee approach and find the charges to be arbitrary. Though the bill was only filed last week, it already has fourteen sponsors, so please see our alert page for actions to take.
We also want to draw your attention to HB515, which provides alternative concurrent venue and jurisdiction when appealing the decisions of state agencies and the changing of venue from Franklin Circuit Court to the Circuit Courts of the counties in which events underlying the enforcement actions occurred.
Thanks for your support! Come Join us for a special evening on March 16!
We appreciate ALL of the kinds words and support from KCC members and friends since the session started. The early and persistent activity around two key pieces of legislation (land conservation and solar) have certainly challenged our capacity since the beginning of the session, and we appreciate your donations and support. We hope you will consider joining us at 7pm for a very special performance of “Sisters of the Mother Forest” (the story of Lucy and Annette Braun) on March 16th, 7pm in Louisville. The presentation will be to benefit the Kentucky Conservation Committee. Our thanks to KCC board member and play author Alice Jones for offering this special performance. Reserve your seats here (and you can also donate to support our work).