Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Interim Calendar Released


The Legislative Research Commission released the 2017 Interim Committee Schedule calendar today and is attached or can be viewed HERE. The Interim Session begins June 1 and runs until December. The Interim Session is a time when House and Senate committees meet jointly to take testimony on issues for the upcoming session as well as get updates on bills that have recently passed. No formal action on bills is taken during the Interim, but it is a good time to educate legislators about issues in advance of the 2018 Session. Agendas for these meetings are generally announced in advance of these committee meetings and we will keep you informed on any issues of interest. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bill Lists - March 15

From Government Strategies:

During the 2017 session of the General Assembly you can view the following bill lists updated nightly.

Education Bill List

Energy-Environment Bill List

General Business Bill List

Health Care Bill List

Health Insurance Bill List

Insurance Bill List

Transportation Bill List

Time For Recess - KY Legislative Update

The Kentucky General Assembly completed their 28th legislative day on Wednesday night, finalizing the bulk of its work for the 2017 Session. A few highlights on actions that took place the last two days:

- Charter Schools - House Bill 520 that would authorize charter schools was amended and approved in the Senate before the House approved those amendments and gave it final passage. The bill is now on the Governor's Desk. House Bill 471 that was amended to address funding for charter schools was approved in the Senate, concurred in by the House, and is now on the Governor's Desk.
- Education Reform - Senate Bill 1 that deals with standards review, aligned assessments and ESSA accountability passed out of the House with two floor amendments dealing with arts and advanced learners and those await final action in the Senate.
- Education Bills - Two other priority education bills received final passage and were delivered to the Governor: SB 107 (university board appointments) & SB 153 (postsecondary performance funding).
- Criminal Justice Reform - SB 120, a priority bill for this session that combines criminal justice reform and workforce development in the form of inmate re-entry, had minor amendments added before it passed the House. It will need Senate concurrence of those amendments.
- Nuclear Energy - SB 11, legislation that has been filed for many years finally passed both Chambers and has been sent to the Governor.  SB 11 lifts the moratorium on construction of nuclear power plants.
- Overweight Trucks - HB 184, sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Miles, is legislation to allow for the trucking transport of "metal commodities" which includes aluminum, to exceed current weight limits. The Senate Transportation committee approved a compromise on the legislation that was passed by the Senate and the House.

There were a few items of unfinished business that may be considered on the session's final two days March 29 & 30.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ohio's restructured electricity market has cost households at least $1 billion

Ohio's restructured electricity market has cost households at least $1 billion since 2009, according to a new study by The Ohio State University's John Glenn College of Public Affairs. 
The report co-authored by Professor Noah Dormady, Glenn College doctoral student Zhongnan Jiang and Matthew Hoyt, an economic analyst at Exeter Associates finds that households in Ohio have never seen the benefits of competition, but have instead been forced to subsidize the losses of an aging coal fleet through a system of inflated riders and surcharges on their home electricity bills.

“Our findings stand in stark contrast to the competing analyses that have found mixed or favorable effects associated with retail restructuring,” said Dormady.   “We believe that much of this is due to the fact that the retail restructuring design of SB 221 created a perverse system by which commission intervention distorted true market-basis pricing…In essence, true retail deregulation never occurred in Ohio—and while wholesale prices declined, retail customers generally saw increasing total bills due to the regulated portion of their bill, that is riders and surcharges.”

To help reduce the incentives for utilities to inflate electricity costs to households and allow them to experience the intended benefits of competition the study provides important recommendations for correcting Ohio’s restructuring problems. Under the current system, customers have been overpaying for generation. They have been paying for generation through their energy costs, and they have been paying for generation through riders and surcharges on their monthly bills.

To read the full report go to glenn.osu.edu/research/policy. For more information contact Dr. Noah Dormady at 614-688-1668 or email him atdormady.1@osu.edu.

Bill Lists - March 14

From Government Strategies:

During the 2017 session of the General Assembly you can view the following bill lists updated nightly.

Education Bill List

Energy-Environment Bill List

General Business Bill List

Health Care Bill List

Health Insurance Bill List

Insurance Bill List

Transportation Bill List

Monday, March 13, 2017

Kentucky joint action agency adding renewables

Kentucky joint action agency adding renewables
Platts Megawatt Daily
March 13, 2017

A Kentucky joint action agency formed less than two years ago is looking to build upon its roughly 300-MW generation portfolio by adding 50 MW of renewable energy to the mix by the time a longstanding wholesale power arrangement with Kentucky Utilities ends in May 2019.

So far, the 10-city Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency has signed power purchase agreements for
mostly coal-fired generation with Big Rivers Electric, Dynegy and the Paducah Power System.

The Dynegy power will come from the Houston-based merchant generator's 1,100-MW Joppa baseload plant in far southern Illinois. Joppa was one of five power plants totaling 4,100 MW acquired by
Dynegy from St. Louis-based Ameren in 2013, as part of the latter's exit from the competitive power business.

Terry Naulty, KyMEA's treasurer who doubles as general manager of Owensboro Municipal Utilities, said in a Friday interview the joint action agency hopes to use wind or solar energy to balance out its heavy fossil fuels portfolio.

Member cities "want to evaluate whether or not there's a cost effective way to integrate renewables into the supply portolio," he said.

KyMEA issues RFP for renewables
To that end, KyMEA, in the heart of a traditional coal-producing state where coal still is used to generate more than 80% of its electricity, has released a formal request for proposals for 50 MW to 250 MW of renewables. However, it is likely to buy only 50 MW for now. The deadline to submit proposals is 2 pm ET on April 12. The solicitation seeks renewable capacity and energy resources for as long as 20 years.

In addition to Owensboro, the commonwealth's third-largest city behind Louisville and Lexington, KyMEA members include the cities of Barbourville, Bardwell, Benham, Corbin, Falmouth, Frankfort, Madisonville, Paris and Providence. With the exception of Owensboro, all are full-requirements members of the group.

The cities agreed several years ago to terminate the KU contract after the parties were unable to reach an agreement on an extension. KU, the state's largest electric utility, is a sister utility to Louisville Gas
& Electric, and both are owned by Pennsylvania's PPL. For now at least, Owensboro is a self-supporting member, operating the 425-MW Elmer Smith coal-fired generating station.

OMU's board of directors is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to keep running Smith as a coal plant for longer than the next two years. One of the plant's two units already is ticketed for retirement following the summer of 2019.

Sierra Club wants coal burning to stop
The muni is considering several options, including closing the second unit in 2022 or 2023, constructing gas-fired generation or adding renewables.

The Sierra Club is pushing the city to halt coal burning altogether at Smith by early next decade and use renewables to replace it. "We've got to help convince them it would be a financially wise thing to do," Aloma Dew, a Sierra Club member from Owensboro, said in a Friday interview.

But, "I don't feel real optimistic," she acknowledged. "Right now, gas is so cheap and they think it's going to be that way forever." That kind of thinking is not good for the state, she said. "Kentucky gets left behind on a lot of things because we're so hesitant to change."

Dew, nevertheless, applauded KyMEA's decision to incorporate more renewables in its portfolio.

Naulty said he does not know what the OMU board will decide on Smith.

KyMEA's business model, meanwhile, appears to be gaining popularity with other Kentucky cities and public power agencies. "We have been approached by several other public power entities to talk about synergies with KyMEA," he said, adding no final agreements have been reached.

— Bob Matyi

Monday, February 27, 2017

Support SB 214: Needed to Address Unfair Renewable Energy Subsidy


Senate Bill 214  amends Kentucky’s net metering laws to accomplish three things:
1. Increase net metering cap from 30 kilowatts to 1000 kilowatts
2. Grandfather existing customer generators
3. Change the allocation of costs among net-metering customers and all other customers to address an unfair cost shift relating to fixed costs to maintain the state’s collective grid.

What is Net Metering?
Net metering is a system under which privately-owned solar panels or other renewable energy generation is connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred onto the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility.

Why are these statutory changes needed?
- Under Kentucky’s existing net-metering law, all utility customers are subsidizing net metering customers.
- Current net-metering law requires host utilities to overpay for excess energy from the private net-metering facilities by crediting customer-generators at the “full retail rate” (cost of energy, plus costs to build and maintain the infrastructure to deliver the energy) for the excess energy they supply.
- The payment of the full retail rate by utilities to net-metering customer generators means that they avoid paying the costs all other utility consumers pay for the infrastructure of the electric grid.
- Kentucky’s electric utilities have been in discussions with supporters of net-metering for several years and have offered to help grow the industry (raise the cap from 30kW to 1 mW) and grandfather in existing customer-generators, in exchange for the opportunity to better align costs/eliminate a subsidy.

Impact of this Legislation
1. SB 214 would resolve the unfair subsidization of renewable energy by allowing electric utilities to utilize the ratemaking process at the Public Service Commission to more fairly allocate system costs between net-metering customers and all other customers.
2. SB 214 will not impact the approximately 500 existing customer-generators, as they are grandfathered under the bill and not affected by any proposed change in the allocation of system costs to be considered by the PSC.
3. SB 214 will positively impact economic development efforts by making possible larger renewable energy projects for large commercial and industrial customers who require access to renewable power as part of their corporate mandates or site selection criteria.
4. SB 214 does not apply to TVA or Kentucky electric utilities not regulated by the PSC.
Who Supports SB 214 ?
Kentucky’s Electric Utilities regulated by the PSC
Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Consumer Energy Alliance

VOTE YES on SB 214!

Monday, February 6, 2017

General Assembly Set to Return


The Kentucky General Assembly will end their January recess and reconvene for "Part 2" of the 2017 Regular Session on Tuesday, February 7. After a productive first week that ran from January 3-7, the legislature will come back to Frankfort and begin work on their currently scheduled final 25 legislative days before adjourning on March 30. We say "currently scheduled" as there has been significant talk of the General Assembly "saving" five legislative days to accommodate a special session sometime later this year to address pension reform and tax reform.

After passing 7 key priority bills the first week of the session, we expect they will come in and get to work on several notable issues that lawmakers hope to accomplish this session, including:

- Medical Liability Reform;
- Enabling charter schools;
- Reforms to education standards, teacher evaluations, and school accountability systems;
- Higher education board governance; and
- Criminal Justice reforms.

The Governor will lay out his agenda during his State of the Commonwealth speech to a joint session of the General Assembly on the evening Wednesday, February 8. That is likely to coincide with the key priorities of the General Assembly.

All are predicting a packed agenda, but hopefully not the quick pace that was seen during the first week of the session in January. The top issues alone are enough for a 25 day session, but this doesn't account for the secondary and tertiary issues that will arise once legislators get back to town. We expect heavy bill filing this week and will keep you updated as new legislative proposals are introduced. In addition, we are expecting most legislative committees to meet this week to consider legislation some of which will see floor action by the end of the week. It may not be as fast paced as Week 1 of the session, but we do expect there will be a lot of legislative action this week.

Looking Ahead
The legislature will return on February 7 for the remaining 25 days of the regular session. Due to the addition of Saturday, January 7 as a legislative day, the session legislative calendar was amended and March 9, originally a legislative day, will now be a recess day. The amended legislative calendar and committee meeting schedule can be viewed online, but here are a few dates of interest:

February 7th - Regular Session convenes

February 8th - State of the Commonwealth Address by Governor Bevin

February 17th - Last day for new Senate bills

February 20th - Legislative Holiday (Presidents' Day)

February 21st - Last day for new House bills

March 16th - 27th - Veto Recess

March 29th & 30th - Final two legislative days before Sine Die Adjournment.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Bill Lists - January 3, 2017

From Government Strategies:

During the 2017 session of the General Assembly you can view the following bill lists updated nightly. We will still be providing our clients a legislative report with updated bill lists weekly. Look for those in your inbox starting next Monday. And of course we won't hesitate to reach out directly on an issue of interest to your organization.


Education Bill List

Energy-Environment Bill List

General Business Bill List

Health Care Bill List

Health Insurance Bill List

Insurance Bill List

Transportation Bill List

KY General Assembly Underway


The Kentucky General Assembly convened today to begin the 2017 legislative session. This year is a short, or 30-day session. The Legislature will convene for four days this week to formally organize, which includes electing leaders and appointing committee chairs and members. On Friday, the legislature will recess until February 7th when they will reconvene to begin the working portion of the session.

Today also marks the first time in nearly one hundred years that the House will elect a Republican Speaker of the House. With a margin of 64-36, House Republicans have a supermajority and will officially take reign as the majority party when they convene at Noon.

Leadership & Organization
The Majority Party in the Senate and House have each already announced their leaders for this session and we have reported on that, but we have not shared the Minority Party Leadership for each chamber. Those leaders are:

Senate Democrat Leadership
- Sen. Ray Jones (D-Pikeville) - Re-elected as Minority Floor Leader
- Sen. Julian Carroll (D-Frankfort) - Re-elected as Minority Whip
- Sen. Dorsey Ridley (D-Henderson) - Elected as Minority Caucus Chair replacing Sen. Neal.

House Democrat Leadership
- Rep. Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook) - Elected as Minority Floor Leader
- Rep. Wilson Stone (D-Scottsville) - Elected as Minority Whip
- Rep. Dennis Keene (D-Wilder) - Elected as Minority Caucus Chair

A full roster of committee members is not available as of this email, but we will share as soon as it is available. 

We will send weekly legislative reports and bill tracking updates beginning Monday, January 9th and will update you as needed during the January recess period.  

Looking Ahead

The session legislative calendar and committee meeting schedule can be viewed online, but here are a few dates of interest:

February 7th - Working session convenes

February 10th - Last day for new bill requests

February 17th - Last day for new Senate bills

February 20th - Legislative Holiday (Presidents' Day)

February 21st - Last day for new House bills

March 10th and 13th - Legislative Holidays

March 14th and 15th - Concurrence Days

March 16th - 27th - Veto Recess

March 28th - Legislative Holiday

March 29th - Reconvene

March 30th - Sine Die


Stay tuned....

Monday, January 2, 2017

Tonight is the Night!!!


Please Join Us For Our Annual
Welcome Back to Frankfort 
Legislative Reception 

Wednesday
January 4th, 2017
5 PM —7 PM

Government Strategies
 229 Shelby Street
Frankfort, KY