Call to Order and Roll Call
The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at 1:00 PM, in Louisville, at the Kentucky Air National Guard base. Representative Will Coursey, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Albert Robinson, Co-Chair; Representative Will Coursey, Co-Chair; Senators C.B. Embry Jr., Carroll Gibson, Ernie Harris, Gerald A. Neal, Dennis Parrett, and Dan "Malano" Seum; Representatives Regina Bunch, Tom Burch, Denver Butler, Larry Clark, Leslie Combs, Myron Dossett, David Hale, Kenny Imes, Terry Mills, Tim Moore, Tom Riner, Dean Schamore, Rita Smart, and Russell Webber.
Guests: Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, Adjutant General, and Col. Barry Gorter, 123d Airlift Wing Commander.
LRC Staff: Erica Warren, Jessica Zeh, Jonathan Philpot, and Rhonda Schierer.
A motion and a second were made to approve the September and October meeting minutes. The minutes were approved.
Department of Military Affairs Update and Air National Guard Overview
Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini gave an overview of the Air National Guard, stating that Kentucky’s 123d Air Wing has been honored and awarded with a prestigious award for their excellence in service and practice. Kentucky has received the highest award in the nation 16 times and is in the top 10 percent of all units of the Air Force. Gen. Tonini stated that Grade Lane divides the Kentucky Air National Guard (KY ANG) base, which provides a significant security risk. KY ANG has tried mitigating the risk by partnering with many surrounding property owners, and federal and state agencies to mitigate this risk. Gen. Tonini stated that he went to Washington to advocate for the purchase of the five acres to reroute the Grade Lane. Washington contributed 2.1 million dollars and the Department of Transportation gave the remaining finances needed to start the project. There are 21 new C130J aircrafts appropriated and eight have already been spoken for elsewhere, but he hopes that Kentucky will stay in contact with officials and politicians in Washington to make sure Kentucky receives eight of them to replace their older models in order to continue to be the most best and efficient in the nation.
In response to a question from Representative Schamore, Gen. Tonini stated that the new C130J cost up to 90 million dollars and that the upkeep on the older aircrafts is incredibly expensive.
Col. Barry Gorter, 123d Wing Commander gave a PowerPoint presentation on the 123d Airlift Wing and it is a part of this official record. Col. Gorter discussed the five groups under his command, including Operations, Maintenance, Mission Support, Medical, and Contingency Response. The facilities of the 123d Airlift Wing consist of 88 acres, 328,743 square feet of building space, 80,000 square yards of aircraft related pavements, 59,100 square yards of vehicle related pavements, 8,000 gallons of vehicle fuel storage capacity, 875 parking spaces with 12 to 16 aircraft parking spots. The annual lease cost for the base is $43,365,000 and the expiration date is 2046. Col. Gorter described the 123d Air Lift Wing’s federal and state missions and accomplishments, and stated that there is a KY NAG guardsman deployed somewhere around the world every day. The KY ANG has participated in numerous federal operations worldwide in the past decade while also being an integral part of state missions throughout the Commonwealth. There have been 80 Kentucky airmen deployed to Senegal recently to support Operation United Assistance. The KY ANG have had deployments of 393,000 plus man days in 45 countries since 9/11, with 1200 dedicated members who continually volunteer to deploy.
In response to a question from Representative Riner, Col. Gorter stated that there are 90 units that fly C130 aircrafts across the nation and that Kentucky is among those units and has eight of the C130s.
Maj. Gen. Tonini briefed the committee on legislative items of concern. He discussed the Youth Challenge Program and the unintended consequences of the drop-out age being raised to 18, minor changes with the Kentucky Military Code of Justice, and the demands on the state tuition assistance program.
Gold Star License Plate Proposal
Cindy Stonebraker, State Coordinator for Kentucky Gold Star Families, was unable to attend the meeting due to a family medical situation, however she sent a copy of her testimony to staff. The copy is part of this official record in the Legislative Research Commission Library.
Gen. Tonini announced that there would be a tour of the KY ANG base upon adjournment of the meeting.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.