The3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources was held on Wednesday, January 31, 2001, at 10:00 AM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ernie Harris, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ernie Harris, Co-Chair; Representatives James Gooch, Co-Chair, and Roger Thomas, Co-Chair; Senators Paul Herron Jr, Daniel Kelly, Robert Leeper, Vernie McGaha, Virgil Moore, Joey Pendleton, Ernesto Scorsone, and Elizabeth Tori; Representatives Royce Adams, Rocky Adkins, Woody Allen, Adrian Arnold, Sheldon Baugh, Scott Brinkman, James Bruce, Dwight Butler, Mike Cherry, Hubert Collins, James Comer, Howard Cornett, Keith Hall, Charlie Hoffman, Thomas McKee, Fred Nesler, R. J. Palmer, Tanya Pullin, Marie Rader, William Scott, Dottie Sims, Jim Stewart, Mark Treesh, Johnnie Turner, Tommy Turner, Ken Upchurch, and Robin L. Webb.
Guests:† Wade Helm, Rusty Cress, Stephen A. Coleman, John Cooper, Ronny Pryor, Sean M. Cutter, Mark Farrow, Clayde Caudill, Deborah Eversold, John-Mark Hack, Gordon C. Duke, Jeff Harper, Rob Hignite, Beth Wisman, John Logan Brent, Sheri Arms, Ken Harp, Joel Neaveill, Jim Carloss, Chris Nolan, Mike Ridenour, Bill Doll, Tony Sholar, and Gay Dwyer.
LRC Staff:† Dan Risch, Biff Baker, Brad Wellons, Hank Marks, Tanya Monsanto, Perry Nutt and Wanda Gay.
Senator Ernie Harris, Chairman, received a motion and second to approve the minutes of the January 10, 2001 meeting.† The motion passed.
Senator Harris next asked Mr. Bob Nickel, the Executive Director of the Office of the Petroleum Storage Tank Environmental Assurance Fund, to explain proposed changes to administrative regulation 415 KAR 1:080.† The changes incorporate forms to be used when a claim for payment is made to the fund.† The new forms were brought about by a legislative change in the 2000 legislative session.† The legislation requires subcontractors to be paid, or to waive their right to receive early payment, prior to the primary contractor making a claim for reimbursement from the fund.
After explaining the change, Mr. Nickel asked the committee to accept an amendment which would allow more time for contractors to learn of, and comply with, the change.
A motion was made and seconded to accept the amendment.† Next, a motion was made and seconded to find that 415 KAR 1:080, as amended, complies with statutory requirements.† The motion passed.
Senator Harris then asked Mr. Nickel to report on the implementation of House Joint Resolution 70 from the 2000 legislative session.† The resolution requires Mr. Nickelís office and the Division of Waste Management to draft a memorandum of understanding to better coordinate their responsibilities regarding the regulation of underground petroleum storage tanks.
Mr. Nickel, who was joined at the table by Mr. Rob Daniels of the Division of Waste Management, said the MOU was not complete.† He said it was 80% finished.† He said he believed a draft would be finalized by the end of March or mid April.
Representative Robin Webb, who sponsored HJR 70, asked that she be given a copy of the draft MOU and a summary of the unresolved issues.
Next, Dr. Scott Smith, the new Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, introduced himself to the committee.
Dr. Smith spoke of his twenty-two years of work experience with the university.† He then outlined the priorities he will set for the college.† They include:† 1. Education, training, and retraining of county extension agents; 2. College of Agriculture support for extension agents, for example, by providing leadership training; 3. Establishing firm research priorities; 4. Building new partnerships with, for example, state agencies and other states; and 5. Generally, responding to the needs of Kentuckyís agricultural community.
Representative Roger Thomas applauded the Deanís priority for building partnerships.
Senator Harris asked what effort was being made to fill the vacant county agent positions.
Dean Smith said there is no freeze on hiring.† He said there are twenty-five openings but it has been difficult to find qualified candidates.
The next presentation was given by Mr. Jack Conway, the Deputy Secretary of the Governorís Cabinet, and Secretary Jim Bickford of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet.† They spoke about the Governorís proposal to revise the stateís solid waste management program.
Secretary Bickford described a comprehensive proposal encompassing universal garbage collection, the elimination of open dumps, the regulation of auto salvage yards, and a public education program.† He said the full program would cost approximately $30 million per year.
The Secretary explained that only the universal collection component would be proposed for the 2001 regular session.
Mr. Conway outlined the universal collection proposal.† A copy is on file with the meeting materials in the LRC library.† Briefly, the proposal would require every household and business to use a curbside or end of driveway solid waste collection service.
Secretary Bickford emphasized that the proposal allowed each county the discretion to choose how to provide the collection service.
Also, Mr. Conway said revisions were still being made to the proposal to take into account the unique challenges of rural collection and to account for commercial businesses that properly dispose of their solid waste.
Concerns were raised by committee members about the responsibility of landlords to collect from tenants fees for waste pick up, the lack of enforcement of the current solid waste management laws, creating unfunded mandates for counties, the impact of mandatory collection on low-income citizens, and a lack of a public education program.
Next, Mr. John-Mark Hack and Mr. Gordon Duke of the Agricultural Development Board gave a presentation on the operations of the board.† The material they provided to the committee is on file in the LRC Library with the meeting material.
Representative Robin Webb commented that the lack of legislative oversight of the boardís activities concerned her.
Mr. Hack explained that the board was considering developing a process to reduce the conflict of interests that may arise if county councils review project applications for funding from the board.
Senator Harris asked for an explanation of why the board authorized tobacco settlement money to be used for land conservation in Lexington/Fayette Urban County, a county dominated by horse farms.† He said the issue was thoroughly debated during the 2000 regular session and rejected.
Mr. Hack acknowledged that the General Assembly had considered and rejected the use of tobacco money.† However, he defended the action as supporting an area of the state that has a unique attraction for tourists and is the fifth most productive agricultural area in the state.
Representative Roger Thomas pointed out that the state money committed to the land conservation effort would be combined with $40 million dollars from Lexington/Fayette County.
Last, Senator Harris said he would introduce for consideration during the 2001 regular session, the resolution on a national energy policy.† Staff† prepared the resolution and it was included in the committee folders.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 12:15.