Legislative update from Senator Mary Pilcher Cook

From State Senator Mary Pilcher Cook:

There is so much legislation that happens in the course of one week, it is difficult to keep you informed.  I’ll touch on a few things here, but please don’t hesitate to go to my website on the Legislative Reports page and look at the latest summaries.

Both the House and Senate have now passed a comprehensive energy plan in the Senate Substitute for HB 2014 bill.  The House passed the energy measure first, then the Senate added some amendments to the bill, so the legislation is now on its way back to the House.  The House has the option to concur with the Senate amendments, or ask for a conference committee to negotiate some finer points about the legislation.  The conference committee would be composed of three House members and three Senate members.

What does it contain?  Lots of good things.

What’s even better is what it doesn’t contain.  There are no taxes or cap and trade regulations which would vastly increase the cost of doing business in our state.

This energy legislation is designed to encourage the development and usage of renewable energy sources, establish consistent and predictable regulatory policy, and keep responsible and cost-effective solutions for near-term consumer energy needs.

During these times of economic distress it is imperative that Kansas have a friendly business climate that attracts and keeps new, well-paying jobs.  Even lenders have come forward, making it clear that it is impossible to provide potential businesses with financing if they are unable to trust the state’s regulatory certainty.

I have posted a summary of the energy legislation on my website on the Legislative Reports page, but here is a condensed synopsis:

Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – requires each public utility to include renewable energy sources in its generation portfolio, but allows time extensions if factors would adversely affect Kansas consumers.

Net Metering – allows Kansans who produce their own electricity to sell excess power they produce back to their utility company at a fair price.

State Energy Efficiency Standards (EES) – requires the Secretary of Administration to adopt rules and regulations so the unknown policy stipulations can become known.  These standards would apply to all new construction, including state buildings.

Energy Conservation – requires a review of all available federal funding, including money from the Federal stimulus plan, designated for energy efficiency and directs the collection of data on state-owned and leased property energy consumption.

Excess Energy Storage – addresses how to handle excess energy production during low-usage that could be used during peak demand times with compressed air storage.

Regulatory Fairness and Predictability – directs the KDHE to establish emission standards that are no more stringent or expansive than those under the Federal Clean Air Act, clarifies the KDHE Secretary’s authority in the use of emergency powers, and directs the KDHE to reconsider previous air quality permit applications.

Access to New Base Load – Allows Kansas Electric Transmission Authority (KETA) to assist in the building of transmission lines that would serve local communities.

Kansas Energy Resources Commission – establishes a commission that will review strategies to maximize and increase energy production through existing resources and identify emerging technologies and research.

The next NWJCR meeting will be held at Barley’s off Midland Drive on Monday, April 6. Since the House just passed two pro-life bills that may be heard in the Senate, and one gives the woman a right to see a sonogram before an abortion, we will hopefully be showing a video of sonograms at different periods of the life of an unborn child.  We could also hear from Michelle Armesto, who had a direct encounter with George Tiller. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm and you are encouraged to order food or drinks.  It’s a great atmosphere and we are a very friendly crowd.

“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States.”  –George Washington

Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Topeka.

Best regards,

Mary Pilcher Cook

13910 West 58th Place
Shawnee, KS  66216
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Paid for by Pilcher Cook Senate Campaign; Sheila Wodtke, Treasurer

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