Frankfort Today - February 23, 2011
HB 259 - Condemnation Authority for Carbon Sequestration Sites
Senate Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment
We continue to hold reservations about this legislation that grants a quasi-governmental authority condemnations rights over private property. While the condemnation process is much improved over last year's effort, new provisions planning transfer of ownership of the condemned property to ownership of the state or federal government is troubling. POTENTIAL KEY VOTE
On House Orders
HB 195 - Abolishing an Inactive State Agency
Rep. Adam Koenig attempted this last year, and it never received a vote in the House. How hard can it be to abolish an inactive state agency? POTENTIAL KEY VOTE.
HB 480 - Retirement System Governance Reform
This legislation improves oversight and transparency in Kentucky's various retirement systems. It bans placement agents, enforces term limits and requires posting of expenses online. LIKELY KEY VOTE
HB 230 - Another Health Care Mandate
Last year, the Senate attempted to pass a health care mandate regarding chiropractors. Now they're trying to mandate what insurance companies can charge for chiropractor coverage. The most likely result of this legislation is for insurance companies to drop chiropractor coverage, if they're limited from charging an amount that balances the ledger. POTENTIAL KEY VOTE
HB 210 - Decals for New Drivers
This ridiculous legislation is another repeat. It would require the state to print and distribute decals that drivers would be legally required to affix to their vehicles any time a vehicle was operated by a driver with an instructional permit.
HB 210 HFA3 - Repealing State Property Tax on Motor Vehicles
Making lemonade out of a lemon, Rep. Floyd has filed an amendment to HB 210 to phase out the state property tax on vehicles. KEY VOTE if it is offered.
HB 394 - Fake Education Innovation
It's not all bad. Recognizing that his actions and positions were repressing innovation in education, Rep. Carl Rollins has developed this bill allowing school boards to attempt to create innovative practices in education. But this approach does not offer the benefits that real school choice, operating in a competitive free market (outside the constraints of the KEA) would create. Representative Montell's HFA1 is real choice and will be a KEY VOTE if offered. If House Leadership somehow disqualifies Montell's effort, the corresponding procedural vote and final passage are POTENTIAL KEY VOTES.
HB 141 - Granting Collective Bargaining Rights for Corrections Employees in Lexington and Louisville
This idea generally violates the principle that the government should be responsible to the taxpayers, taking away the ability of the elected government to determine a budget. KEY VOTE.
HB 141 HFA1 - Prevailing Wage Exemptions
Rep. Danny Ford, who has offered a number of clever conservative amendments this year, has offered an amendment to increase the threshold on projects that require prevailing wages to be paid from $250,000 to $750,000. While this would not make the underlying bill acceptable, this amendment and related procedural votes will be KEY VOTES.
HB 23 HFA1/HFA2 - Price Controls on Pawnbrokers
We don't know whether the pawnbroker registry requirement is effective in identifying stolen property. But trying to mandate that the expense of participating in the system can't be passed along to customers is not only foolish, but very heavy-handed on the state's part. POTENTIAL KEY VOTE.
We're still highly amused by HB 353 - Large Animal Release
The legislation prohibits "the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources or any other state agency from releasing a species that in adulthood may weigh more than five hundred (500) pounds without the approval of the legislative body for the county into which the species is to be released."
"Dear Magistrate. I am writing to inform you that we are releasing a large bear into your county. Please do not take it personally. Sincerely, DFWR."
HR 147 - Meaningless Sop to State Employees
The legislators who sponsored this resolution, which "Urge[s] the Governor to cease any further furloughs of Executive Branch employees during the remainder of the 2010-2012 biennium," know that is has no effect. A House Resolution won't even go to the Senate for consideration to potentially demonstrate the support of the General Assembly for the notion. Instead, these legislators want to feel good about themselves for doing nothing. State workers who really think furloughs should end and layoffs are a better option (or even Wisconsin-style benefit reforms) should see through this stunt and demand real action from their representatives.