Call to Order and Roll Call
The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations was held on Friday, October 8, 2010, at 10:00 AM, at Acres of Land Winery, 2285 Barnes Mill Road, Richmond, KY. Representative Dennis Keene, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Gary Tapp, Co-Chair; Representative Dennis Keene, Co-Chair; Senators Tom Buford, Julian M. Carroll, Perry B. Clark, Julie Denton, Carroll Gibson, Denise Harper Angel, John Schickel, Dan "Malano" Seum, Kathy W. Stein, Damon Thayer, and Robin L. Webb; Representatives Tom Burch, Larry Clark, Ron Crimm, Tim Firkins, David Floyd, Dennis Horlander, Joni L. Jenkins, Adam Koenig, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, David Osborne, Darryl T. Owens, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Carl Rollins II, Sal Santoro, Arnold Simpson, Ron Weston, and Susan Westrom.
Guests: Senator Ed Worley; Representative Lonnie Napier; Vice-Mayor Rita Smart; William Swope, Jr., State Fire Marshal, Charles Sparks, Deputy State Fire Marshal, Hazardous Materials Inspector/Plans Reviewer; Mac Stone, Executive Director, Office of Agricultural marketing and Product Promotion, Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
Approval of minutes from September 10, 2010, meeting
There was a motion from Representative Burch, followed by a second from Representative Clark and the minutes were adopted.
Representative Keene told committee members that the November meeting date was going to be changed due to the regular meeting date being a furlough day. He said that a notice would be sent out when the date was confirmed. Also, Representative Keene told members that Representative Firkins mother had passed away and asked members to remember the Firkins family in their prayers.
Representative Keene then recognized and thanked Lowell Land for hosting the meeting at his winery, Acres of Land, adding that lunch and a tour of the winery followed the meeting.
Representative Keene recognized Senator Ed Worley who welcomed the committee members to Madison County.
Presentation regarding the certification of contractors who engage in the removal of underground petroleum storage tanks
State Fire Marshal William Swope, Jr., introduced BR 46 and told committee members it is an effort to strengthen current statutes for the underground storage tank program. Currently an underground storage tank installer must be certified by passing a written exam, documenting practical experience in the industry, and providing proof of liability and pollution insurance. The fire marshal said before work begins on a storage vessel, plans for the project must be submitted and reviewed by Charles Sparks, Deputy State Fire Marshal, Hazardous Material Inspector/Plans Reviewer. After the plans are reviewed, Mr. Sparks forwards the document to the Energy and Environmental Cabinet, Division of Waste Management, Underground Storage Branch. Mr. Swope said that when these procedures are followed environmental compliance and life safety measures are documented.
Mr. Swope said that the current statutes authorize the Department of Housing, Buildings, and Construction to promulgate administrative regulations regarding fees, certification requirements, and penalties for licensed contractors. BR 46 will allow the fire marshal's office to establish a process to correct violations, and a means to reinstate suspended or revoked licenses. It will also allow for the issuance of a cease and desist order upon notification of a violation. Currently, when unlicensed work is uncovered, the fire marshal must follow the process for a 13B hearing, which could allow time for the unauthorized contractor to complete the work. Mr. Swope said he felt that the most important part of the bill request; however, is allowing the fire marshal or Underground Storage Branch to fine or penalize uncertified contractors. He said uncertified contractors create an unfair advantage in the bidding process. Without being certified, the competency level of workers and supervisors cannot be assured, and there is little or no incentive to be compliant because there is no means of enforcement or penalties for the unlicensed contractor.
In response to a question from Representative Crimm, Mr. Swope said the State Fire Marshal's office does not have oversight for the removal of tanks. After a tank is installed all information is turned over to the Energy and Environmental Agency who then monitors any other activity of that tank. The fire marshal ensures that the installation is done correctly; any environmental impact is handled by the department of energy. Charles Sparks, Deputy State Fire Marshal, Hazardous Material Inspector/Plans Reviewer added that when a company leaves a site it has 30 days to remove an underground storage tank; however, the EPA is the lead agency in tank removal and allows up to a year to remove the tank. Mr. Sparks said in the past the agency had allowed empty tanks to be filled with concrete but this practice was no longer allowed.
In response to a question from Senator Tapp Mr. Swope said the primary reason for BR 46 was to deal with contractors that come from out-of-state perform the tank removal and leave before the work is discovered. In response to a question from Representative Owens, Mr. Swope said a land owner does have responsibility for making sure that a certified contractor is removing the underground storage tank from his property. In response to a question from Senator Carroll, Mr. Swope said the current statute only gives enforcement authority over licensed contractors. In response to a question from Representative Koenig, and from Senator Seum, Mr. Swope responded that the State Fire Marshal's office licenses underground storage tank contractors and collects fees for licensure and plan review. He added that there are no additional licensure fees added in the bill request. Senator Tapp added that current, existing fees charged per tank will stay the same; however, there will be new fees for certification and examination for the contractors.
In response to a question from Senator Webb, Mr. Swope said there are instances when the land owner and the tank owner are different. He added that there was an increasing problem with out-of-state contractors leaving a site after removal of a tank, before the site is cleaned up. In response to a question from Representative Burch, Mr. Sparks responded that the Environmental Protection cabinet regulates the removal of underground petroleum storage tanks. He said that to remove a tank, as much product as possible is pumped out. The lines are then capped at the dispensers and vents are left open and the EPA monitors the tanks for weeks. In response to Senator Buford's question, Mr. Swope said the fire marshal's office has been in contact with the Energy and Environment cabinet. Mr. Swope added that the fire marshal's office issues the permit to start the work, therefore the contractor is not paying a double fee or taking the exam multiple times. If an individual in not licensed the fire marshal's office does not issue a permit for the work. Mr. Swope said a list of all licensed contractors is given to the Energy and Environment cabinet. Senator Webb said there are both federal and state guidelines that have to be followed making the removal hard to streamline. However, she added that she would like to see more agency cooperation and felt a notice to all agencies involved should be included in a proposed legislation.
Presentation regarding the activities of the Grape and Wine Council and other issues relating to small farm wineries in Kentucky
Mac Stone, Executive Director, Office of Agricultural Marketing and Product Promotion in the Department of Agriculture introduced Roger Leasor, Lowell Land, and Chuck Berry with the Grape and Wine Council and Tom Cottrell, Enologist, University of Kentucky. Mr. Stone told committee members that, thanks to the hard work of Senator Tapp and the legislature, Kentucky's wine industry is much better today than in 2006 when Senate Bill 82 was introduced. He said today there is a total of 65 wineries in Kentucky. Not only are the wineries producing more grapes and producing more wine they are hosting events that have an economic impact in rural Kentucky. Mr. Stone said the department has reprinted its wine brochure to add new wineries. He said the Kentucky Department of Agri-tourism has partnered with the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Council to develop advertising and signage for the industry. Mr. Stone said the website has also been redesigned to stay current with mapping, events, and Kentucky winery information. "Vintage Kentucky: Vine to Wine Experience" a video program has been shown on KET and was awarded Telly awards in the Cultural and History/Biography category as well as in the Travel/Tourism category.
Mr. Stone said that the department has also had a visible role in the World Equestrian Games. Each day two wineries are featured at the cocktail party prior to the James Beard Celebrity Chef dinner. The James Beard Foundation is the most celebrated culinary organization in the nation, renowned for its dedication to the educational initiatives, development and recognition of the culinary arts. He said working closely with other agencies is important to the success of this event.
Mr. Stone told committee members that at the 2010 Kentucky State Fair the third annual wine competition took place with 14 participants and 95 medals awarded. He said this type of competition does not award first, second and third medals. He said gold, silver or bronze medals are awarded based upon the quality of wine. Mr. Stone added that the number of medals and the quality of Kentucky wine is increasing each year.
Mr. Stone said grower development, while less high profile, is still an important part of the wine industry. He said the legislature's support of the industry, with the agriculture development fund and the state-wide financial marketing program, have been helpful in keeping agriculture in the wine industry. The enologist at the University of Kentucky has been extremely helpful to the farmers in adjusting their growing patterns to fit wet or dry weather. Mr. Stone said that the varieties of grapes that grow well in Kentucky are different than more popular varieties currently in stores, and the enologist is helpful in this area also. He said by replacing vines that do not grow as well with vines that thrive in Kentucky, the acres planted in grapes continues to increase. He said tonnage is also going up as post-harvest handling has improved. Mr. Stone said that the marketing cost share program is used more during the fall season and the mechanism has been adjusted to have more funds available during the fall season. He said the opt-in card is working for smaller farms who know that they are not going to use their equal percentage. This allows funds to be available to all wineries.
Mr. Stone said that the relationship with the wholesalers is improving as wineries and distributors are learning to evaluate stocking and restocking communication. He added that some wineries have full contracts with the wholesales rather than self-distribution. Mr. Stone said leadership development has helped the industry to become stronger.
In response to Senator Stein, Mr. Stone replied there is quite a bit of fruit wine produced in Kentucky. He added that most farmers grow their fruit knowing that it will go to a winery. Senator Stein asked Lowell Land how his winery, in a dry territory, sold his wine at his small farm winery. Mr. Land replied that there had been a precinct election to allow alcohol sales. In response to Senator Denton's question, Mr. Stone said that the wine council is having discussion on the pros and cons of Sunday Sales. He said that data shows that Sunday would be the second largest retail sales day of the week behind Saturday. He said that winery operators have stated that visitors are disappointed, after they have followed the brown signs to a winery, that they cannot purchase or even taste wine on Sunday. He said currently it is a local option decision rather than a state-wide decision. He said a precinct could hold an election to have Sunday sales if the winery is in a wet territory; however, local leaders do not advocate for this election. Mr. Land added that the local jurisdiction typically does not support Sunday sales because the issue is not politically popular. He said constituents phone their mayor's, commissioners, and magistrates causing the initiative to lose support. Mr. Land said currently there are eight wineries that are allowed Sunday sales and that they report 20 to 30 percent of their sales for the week come from Sunday sales.
In response to a question from Representative Westrom, Mr. Stone replied that wineries are changing varieties of grapes grown to those able to better grow in Kentucky's climate. He said the university is working with the growers to improve the quality of the fruit and increase the tonnage. In response to a question from Representative Burch, Mr. Land said Acres of Land winery is selling more wine than it can produce just off the acreage they have in grapes, therefore he buys grapes from other Kentucky growers. He said there is demand for Kentucky grapes.
Representative Keene thanked Mr. Land for his hospitality.
Representative Keene recognized Representative Lonnie Napier and Mayor Pro-Tem Rita Smart.
There being no further business to come before the committee the meeting was adjourned at 11:29 a.m.