With the General Assembly not even through its first month, we have already seen several bills attempting to make their early mark. KCC and their allies have been working hard to slow the momentum of these significant bills. This week, our efforts have been focused on HB227 (Strong Oppose), which would re-defined the state’s net metering laws and compensation to citizens who have grid-tied solar arrays on their homes. Paired with the recent tariff on imported solar panels, this legislation would cripple independent solar installer businesses. This bill was filed late on Monday, Jan. 22 and KCC was watching, immediately alerting members and allies to flood the switchboard with calls. We have also been accompanying citizens to the Capitol Annex all last week to meet with members of the House Natural Resources Committee. Expectations were for the bill to be heard during the Committee’s meeting last week, however due in large part to your calls and effective lobbying efforts, it has not yet been called for its first hearing. The next scheduled meeting is this Thursday, February 1, so please keep those calls coming! (See Actions to take HERE).

We also have been reacting to the filing of the House Budget Bill, HB200 (Strong Oppose). While the bill reflects a continuation of budget reductions all around, including important departments such as enforcement, we wish to highlight specific areas of concern to our members, including the elimination of the state tree nurseries, the Environmental Education Council and the Mesonet program that is part of the Kentucky Climate Center.

In addition, followers of KCC may recall that during the previous budget cycle, we were able to restore $5 million from a proposed $10M “sweep” from the Heritage Land Conservation Fund. When KCC members and allies in the Conserve Kentucky coalition prevented a full sweep, this allowed KHLCF to complete important projects in progress. For this budget year, however, the House is once again proposing to “sweep” the funds we were able to protect ($2.5M each year, $5M total). This is the state’s only funding for land conservation, so we are once again asking for organizations to sign on to a joint letter opposing the sweeps. Please see KCC’s ALERTS for details, where you will also find a handy list of nature preserves located in your legislator’s district. And in the meantime, contact your representative and members of the House Appropriations & Revenue Committee and tell them you oppose the budget sweep of the Heritage Land Conservation Fund.

We also want to draw your attention to the following: Two weeks ago, the Senate filed two bills of great concern, SB2 (Strong Oppose) that would amend the Ky. Constitution to limit damages from injury and environmental harm, and SB82 (Strong Oppose) that prohibits local ordinances to regulate the use, prohibition or taxes on disposable containers. Both of these bills are currently in the Senate State & Local Government Committee.

This week we also saw the re-filing of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act, HB196 (Strong Support), a bill that KCC and our allies in the Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance have been supporting for several years. See details in our House bill list and please encourage co-sponsors.

Finally, if you are interested in lobbying in person, please note that KCC is working alongside allies to promote several upcoming lobby days from Ky. Student Environmental Coalition (Feb. 12), Ky. Interfaith/Ky. Council of Churches (Feb. 13), Kentucky Sustainable Energy Alliance (Feb. 22), and KCC on March 14. Please go to our home page at www.kyconservation.org to sign up for any or all of these events. KCC will also accompany any citizen on an individual basis that would like lobbying support. Just call us at 502-209-9659.