Kansas Legislative News - Kansas Chapter of Sierra Club
KLN No. 4
February 28, 2006
Charles M. Benjamin,
P.O. Box 1642, Lawrence, KS 66044
(785) 841-5902; 841-5922 fax; firstname.lastname@example.org
"Turnaround" deadline was January 25 meaning that bills must come out of their house of origin unless touched by a "blessed" committee exempt from the deadline. What follows is an update on the status of various bills supported and opposed by Sierra Club.
S.B. 467, introduced by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and supported by Sierra Club, would prohibit "solid waste disposal areas" (i.e. landfills) in a variety of locations described in KLN No. 2. The bill is dead for this session but Sen. McGinn, Chair of the Senate Natural Resource Com., has asked KDHE officials to bring various interested parties together after this legislative session, to find compromises to accommodate a variety of concerns with the current version of the legislation, and to bring back a revised version of the bill next legislative session.
H.B. 2642, recommended by the Select Joint Committee on Energy and supported by Sierra Club, would have set up an "energy policy advisory group", appointed by the governor, representing various energy interests as described in KLN No. 2. The bill was voted out of the House Utilities Com. on 2/13 but failed on a recorded vote of the full House on 2/23 of 61 Yeas and 64 Nays. Those voting in favor were Representatives: Ballard, Bethell, Carlin, Carter, Colloton, Cox, Craft, Crow, Davis, Dillmore, Faust-Goudeau, Feuerborn, Flaharty, Flora, Freeborn, Garcia, Gatewood, Grant, Hawk, Henderson, Henry, Hill, Holland, C. Holmes, Horst, Huff, Huntington, D. Johnson, Kiegerl, Kirk, Knox, Kuether, Lane, Loganbill, Long, Mah, McKinney, Mengihini, M. Miller, O'Malley, Owens, Peterson, Phelps, Roth, Ruff, Ruiz, Sawyer, B. Sharp, Sloan, Svaty, Swenson, Thull, Treaster, Trimmer, Ward, Wilk, Williams, Winn, Yoder, Yonally. If any of these legislators represent you, please thank them for their vote.
S.B. 361, introduced by Sunflower Rural Electric and opposed by Sierra Club, would make the Kansas Court of Appeals the court of original jurisdiction to hear any judicial appeals, by any person who participated in the public comment process, regarding KDHE issuance of an air pollution control permit, a variance to such permits, or renewal of such permits - eliminating the state district court in the judicial appeals process. See KLN No. 3 for further details. The bill was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Com. on 2/21 on voice vote (with Sen. Haley voting no) and voted on by the full Senate on 2/23 on a vote of 31 Yeas and 9 Nays. Those Senators voting Nay were: Barone, Francisco, Haley, Hensley, Kelly, McGinn, Reitz, Steineger, and Wysong. If any of these are your state senator please thank them for your vote. SB 361 now moves on to the House Judiciary Committee for a hearing where Sierra Club will continue to oppose the bill.
SB 483, introduced by the Kansas Farm Bureau and opposed by Sierra Club, would require the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) to get permission from the legislature for any land purchases greater than 480 acres, requires the county commission in the county where such purchase would be located to hold an election upon submission of a protest petition, requires KDWP to pay property taxes on any land purchased for public parks, requires that if KDWP wants to dispose of land it first has to offer the land to the county commission or, if the county refuses to accept the donation, to offer the land for sale to the general public at public auction. A hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Com. was held on 2/18 but no action was taken by the Committee to advance the bill. However, Ways and Means is a "blessed" committee (not subject to the turnaround deadline) and the bill may still be worked.
H.B. 2657, introduced by Rep. Tom Sloan and supported by Sierra Club, would have allowed utilities to recover their authorized rate of return on investments in energy efficiency and conservation programs for residential customers who have an energy audit and are current in their utility bills. The bill was heard in the House Utilities Com. on 2/3 and the bill was defeated in Committee on a voice vote on 2/16. Thanks to Rep. Sloan for his efforts to promote energy efficiency.
H.B. 2934, introduced by Rep. Tom Hawk and supported by Sierra Club, would have provided a state contribution to low-income home weatherization activities, increased the number of homes served in Kansas for weatherization, provided technical information and assistance for Kansans to take advantage of tax credits and other programs in the Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 and implemented the recommendation of the Kansas Energy Council to increase spending on current energy-related technical assistance and public education efforts to promote the efficient utilization of all energy resources in Kansas. The bill was heard before the House Utilities Com. on 2/20 and defeated in Committee on a voice vote on 2/21. Thanks to Rep. Hawk for his efforts to promote energy efficiency.
H.B. 2637, introduced by the Select Joint Com. on Energy and supported by Sierra Club, would provide state income tax credits for ceiling insulation, for newly installed and more efficient heaters, ventilation or air conditioners in single family and multiple family dwellings and the installation of energy conservation exterior doors and windows. The bill has been referred to the House Taxation Committee, which is "blessed", where a hearing has not yet been held. HB 2637 will likely be the key piece of energy efficiency legislation in 2006 and Sierra Club will promote the most aggressive legislation for energy efficiency capable of being passed this year in the Kansas legislature.
Eminent Domain is the subject of a number of pieces of legislation, as reported on in KLN No. 2. Sierra Club is opposed to the use of eminent domain for economic and industrial development because such use of eminent domain induces sprawl. However, Sierra Club is not opposed all uses of eminent domain. Thus far no comprehensive piece of legislation in this area has passed either house of the legislature. However, both bodies are expected to spend at least one day debating the issue, and possibly passing legislation, before the end of the 2006 session.
From: Charles Benjamin,
P.O. Box 1642,
Lawrence, Kansas 66044-8642