ACTION ALERT! March 11, 2016 Legislative Report No. 11 2016 Kentucky General Assembly

Today marks the forty-sixth legislative day of the 2016 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.  There have been 937 pieces of legislation introduced this session.

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee is expected to take up the state budget (HB 303) next week.  We have been meeting with members of the committee about our funding priorities.

HB 529: R. Rand, S. Rudy, R. Adkins, R. Crimm, M. Denham, R. Heath, D. Horlander, K. King, M. King, T. McKee, M. Meredith, T. Mills, B. Rowland, W. Stone, T. Thompson, J. Tipton, B. Yonts – AN ACT relating to water resources policy.

This bill will establish the 11-member Kentucky Water Resources Board and identify the role and function of the board in developing water resource policy.  It will require the cabinet to provide leadership for on-farm and rural community drought and water assessment monitoring, and improvements for agricultural purposes and authorize the cabinet to receive and disperse federal, state, and other funds for on-farm and community drought and water assessment, monitoring, and improvements.

This bill passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 8, by a vote of 95-0 and has been received by the Senate. HB 529 was assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee today.

2016 State Priority Issue

“Support the creation of a Kentucky water resource management program that will create, support, and advocate a coordinated effort to manage water resource projects across the Commonwealth.”

ACTION REQUEST:

Please contact your State Senator and ask them to SUPPORT HB 529.

Click here for contact information for your State Senator.

Also, please contact your member of the House of Representatives and thank them for supporting HB 529 and also thank them if they are listed above as a co-sponsor.

Click here for contact information for your House of Representatives.

Below are some talking points on HB 529 for you to use as you speak to your State Senator:

HB 529 creates the Kentucky Water Resources Board which would be administered by the Energy and Environment Cabinet. The Board would, according to language contained in the bill:

  • Assist the cabinet in conducting research and developing recommendations to enhance the quality of water resources accessible for agricultural production in the state.
  • Research emerging water resource issues, including the adequacy of water supplies available for agricultural production in rural Kentucky.
  • Examine potential actions to address deficiencies in water supplies identified by the board.
  • Make recommendations for developing new and reliable water sources for key areas of farm production in Kentucky.

As the agricultural economy changes over the next decade, and in order to enhance and expand rural Kentucky, reliable water sources must be available. Passage of HB 529 will also:

  • Provide better coordination among all interested parties involved in the Commonwealth’s water resources planning, management, and development into the future.
  • Provide more diverse long-term input to the Cabinet on water resource issues through the establishment of this board, by identifying issues, developing solutions, and establishing priorities.
  • Partner with the Cabinet to seek the necessary financial resources and leverage funds to complete the identified water resource concerns.
  • Expand knowledge and awareness of the importance of water quantity and secure resources necessary to develop adequate water resources for all uses long-term.
  • Better assess the use and identify the deficiencies of our water resources and be better prepared to respond during low water flow and drought periods.
  • Ensure long-term adequate supply of on-farm water resources for agriculture, thus alleviating pressure on rural water supplies.
  • Assist in positioning Kentucky in promoting economic development opportunities through the strategic and efficient use of our water resources.
  • Establish a centralized body that has developed information, expertize, and technical assistance that will assist agricultural producers and rural water systems solve emerging critical water resource issues.

Click here for an article highlighting the importance of HB 529.

Kentucky Farm Bureau members from more than 90 counties meet with their state legislators during the KFB Legislative Drive-In / Food Check-Out Day last week. To view the Farm Bureau Minute click here.

HOW TO CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS

During the week, you may reach your representative and senator in Frankfort by calling 502.564.8100.

If you do not desire to talk to your state legislator immediately or you just want to leave a message, you may dial toll-free 800.372.7181. An answering service will take your message for your representative or senator. The legislative calendar information line is 800.633.9650, the bill status line is 866.840.2835, and the Governor’s office number is 502.564.2611

YOUR LOBBYISTS

The following are registered to lobby for Kentucky Farm Bureau for the 2016 session: Jeff Harper, Public Affairs Director, extension 5104; Bryan Alvey extension 7218; Tony Sholar, extension 5121, and David S. Beck, extension 5101.  If you would like to call your lobbyists during the evening, call 502-352-4280 at the Frankfort headquarters or call 502.495.5000 and key in their extensions.

If you would like to contact one of your lobbyists during the day, please call Sara Stivers at 502.495.5121 and she will put you in touch with one of them.

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