Thefirst meeting of the Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance, and Public Protection of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on Monday, November 19, 2007, at 10:30 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Royce W. Adams, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members: Senator Jack Westwood, Co-Chair; Representative Royce W. Adams, Co-Chair; Senators Julian M. Carroll and Elizabeth Tori; Representatives Dwight D. Butler, Tom McKee, Tanya Pullin, Charles Siler, and Ron Weston.
Guests: Richie Farmer, Commissioner; Mark Farrow, Deputy Commissioner; Glenn Mitchell, Executive Director, Office for Strategic Planning and Administration; Tom Bloemer, Administrative Branch Manager, Division of Regulation and Inspection, Office of Consumer and Environmental Protection; Dr. Wilbur Fry, Executive Director, Office of Consumer and Environmental Protection; John Roberts, Director, Division of Regulation and Inspection; Mike Judge, Executive Director, Division of Marketing; and, Dr. Robert Stout, State Veterinarian; Department of Agriculture.
LRC Staff: Kelly Dudley, Katherine Halloran, Randy Smith, and JoAnn Paulin.
Chairman Adams began the meeting by welcoming the newest members to the committee, as well as new staff members Kelly Dudley and Katherine Halloran.
Chairman Adams welcomed representatives of the Department of Agriculture to provide information on the new Fuel Testing Lab and the needs of Animal Shelters.
Tom Bloemer, Administrative Branch Manager, Division of Regulation and Inspection, Office of Consumer and Environmental Protection, gave a brief overview and update of the Motor Fuels and Pesticide Testing Laboratory project. Preliminary testing is scheduled to begin on January 14, 2008. Commissioner Farmer stated that when it is up and running, all members of this committee and the General Assembly will be invited to see the Lab. Chairman Adams suggested a Monday may be best during the session.
Senator Carroll asked if sufficient enforcement tools have been provided by statute to get harmful products off the market. Mr. Bloemer replied in the affirmative, adding that administrative regulations give the authority to stop the sale of fuel as soon as a problem is identified. Senator Carroll asked how sales are stopped. Mr. Bloemer replied that an inspector would be sent to the station where the product is being sold, and the inspector would lock down the pumps. Senator Carroll inquired about fuel that is distributed to more than one dealer. Mr. Bloemer explained that a bill of lading can be acquired showing where the fuel deliveries took place.
Senator Carroll inquired about Peabody's interest in coal conversion. Mr. Bloemer answered that he had been contacted by several attorneys on behalf of clients who have interest in coal gasification in eastern Kentucky.
Representative Siler asked for a relative comparison of agency funds that may be generated to offset the cost of the 16 additional positions requested for the Lab. Commissioner Farmer answered that those 16 positions were originally in the budget, but not yet hired. Mr. Bloemer explained that currently the motor fuel retail licensing registration program takes in about $200,000 per year to help sustain Lab operations. He estimated that once the Lab is up and running, the annual operating cost would be about $500,000 or $600,000. It is estimated that the Lab would process approximately 10,000 samples annually for Kentucky consumers, and the actual motor fuel capacity of the Lab will be about 20,000 to 30,000 samples per year. Requests for testing have been received from West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and some other northern states as well, which will generate revenue and become self-supporting by 2010.
Representative McKee asked how many other states have their own fuel testing lab. Mr. Bloemer replied that four other states have labs, including California, Missouri, Maryland, and the most recent one was built in 1985. Kentucky's lab will be the largest in the country, and the most technologically advanced. Commissioner Farmer added that Illinois and Tennessee have contacted us regarding doing testing for them as well.
Senator Tori inquired about the ramifications of pesticide infiltration. Mr. Bloemer replied that when violations are found in any of the regulatory programs, inspectors would be sent to the site for further investigation, and subsequent follow-up visits to ensure conformity.
Representative Pullin asked about the location of the Lab facility. Mr. Bloemer answered that it is directly behind the Department of Agriculture's offices on 107 Corporate Drive, on Fortune Drive, in Frankfort.
Chairman Adams stated the importance of the new Lab facility and the ability to get test results back quickly.
Commissioner Farmer asked Mark Farrow to come forward to give a presentation regarding Animal Shelters. Chairman Adams commented that many of the counties are in desperate need of help, especially those in rural areas. He asked if there is a list of counties without shelters. Mr. Farrow guessed that there may be about forty counties, but he wasn't sure. Chairman Adams stated that a few years ago Henry county had a problem with animal disposal which was featured on the national news, and Kentucky doesn't need that type of publicity.
Representative Siler recommended taking the regional approach. He commented that there is a shortage of veterinarians for animal shelters. He also stated that shelters are not suitable for housing abandoned horses and ponies, which is becoming more common. Mr. Farrow commented that the law doesn't require that large animals be taken, and if housing larger animals becomes the norm, there would be an even greater financial burden on the shelters, even for the daily operation of the facility. He added that great strides have been made in the past few years, but there is still a long way to go. Chairman Adams noted that the Kentucky Horse Council is also addressing the problem of abandoned horses. Mr. Farrow commented that Representative Siler had a good point in taking the regional approach, which would save money and help by pooling funds.
Representative Pullin asked if there is a requirement that those who apply for funds should be regional if they can. Mr. Farrow replied that it is not a requirement, but the application may be looked at more favorably than those on a county by county basis.
Representative McKee asked if there is a statewide standard regarding animal adoption policies. Mr. Farrow replied that there is no standard for adoption policies.
Senator Westwood asked if an animal is suspected of being rabid, who should be contacted. Mr. Farrow replied that the animal control officer should be contacted first, or the local law enforcement agency.
Senator Tori asked who initiates the regional animal shelter concept. Mr. Farrow replied that it usually begins with a County Judge who expresses interest, or local government. Senator Tori asked if regional shelters have to be certified. Mr. Farrow replied that they do not.
Chairman Adams thanked the presenters for the information they provided the committee and thanked everyone for attending the meeting. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:30 A.M.