The4th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Agriculture was held on Wednesday, September 9, 2009, at 10:00 AM, in the Hospitality Room, at the Kentucky Horse Park. Senator David Givens, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator David Givens, Co-Chair; Representative Tom McKee, Co-Chair; Senators Ernie Harris, Dan Kelly, Bob Leeper, Vernie McGaha, Dorsey Ridley, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Dwight D. Butler, Mike Cherry, James R. Comer Jr., Mike Denham, C. B. Embry Jr., Jeff Greer, Richard Henderson, Jimmy Higdon, Charlie Hoffman, Brad Montell, Fred Nesler, David Osborne, Sannie Overly, Don Pasley, Tom Riner, Steven Rudy, Dottie Sims, Kent Stevens, Wilson Stone, Tommy Turner, Ken Upchurch, and Susan Westrom.
Guests: Jane Beshear, First Lady of Kentucky; John Nicholson, Executive Director, Kentucky Horse Park; Jamie Link, Chief Executive Officer, World Games 2010 Foundation, Inc.; Dr. Pearse Lyons, President, Alltech; and Secretary Jonathan Miller, Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet.
LRC Staff: Biff Baker, Lowell Atchley, Stefan Kasacavage, Stewart Willis (Budget Committee), and Susan Spoonamore, Committee Assistant.
The August 27, 2009, minutes were approved, without objection, by voice vote, upon motion made by Rep. Don Pasley and seconded by Rep. Richard Henderson.
A resolution urging the Parliament of Canada to clarify language in Bill C-32 (the tobacco control bill) that could potentially threaten the burley tobacco industry in Kentucky was approved, without objection, by voice vote, upon motion made by Rep. Tom McKee and seconded by Rep. Don Pasley.
Chairman Givens introduced Jane Beshear, First Lady of Kentucky; John Nicholson, Executive Director, Kentucky Horse Park; Jamie Link, Chief Executive Officer, World Games 2010 Foundation, Inc.; Dr. Pearse Lyons, President, Alltech; and Secretary Jonathan Miller, Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, for brief updates on the status of the Horse Park for the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG).
Mr. Nicholson stated that the park had booked over 70 major competitions and was confident that the number of competitions would continually increase. He said that there were 34 organizations (state, national, and federal) located on the grounds. He also stated that there were 12 active projects still on-going.
First Lady Jane Beshear thanked the Legislature and sponsors for funding of the 2010 World Equestrian Games. She stated that she and the Governor and other state officials had just returned from a trip to England promoting the games and reassuring the Europeans that the United States and Kentucky were safe and ready to host the games.
Ms. Beshear said it would be important to recognize all 120 counties during the WEG, and that there would be a Kentucky Pavilion on the grounds highlighting the “Kentucky Experience.”
Ms. Beshear said the funding for the two new arenas would make it possible to host all 8 disciplines on the grounds of the horse park, something that has not been done before. She stressed that the WEG would leave behind a wonderful legacy, in addition to the positive financial impact.
Jamie Link, Chief Executive Officer, World Games 2010 Foundation, Inc., stated that it would be the first time ever for the WEG to be located outside of Europe, and that it would also be the first time ever that all the events would be held on one site. It was estimated that the event would have a $150 million economic impact.
Mr. Link said that the games would be broadcast live and was expected to draw approximately 500 million viewers. He stated that 32 countries had submitted media requests. Mr. Link noted that the Foundation employs 30 staff and has over 11,000 volunteers. Tickets for the WEG will go on sale to the public on September 25th.
When asked if tours to other counties would be offered to visitors during the games, Mr. Link stated that tours would be offered, making it possible to showcase Kentucky. For anyone interested in being a part of the “Kentucky Experience,” they should contact their local tourism or Chamber of Commerce entities or the Tourism Cabinet.
Sen. Kelly and Rep. Westrom stated that they would like to see the musical and instrumental youth talent promoted, as well as local artisans.
Mr. Link and Mr. Nicholson listed the events that would be showcased at the museum in the near future. Mr. Link also stated that for the first time ever, there would be a Para Dressage for the physically handicapped. Also, beginning in October, there will be a trial run of the Carriage Driving and Endurance Challenge.
Dr. Pearse Lyons, President, Alltech, spoke on the accomplishments that are being realized from state and private funding in making the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games a success. He spoke on the Alltech-Muhammad Ali Center Global Education and Charitable Fund working together to promote numerous charitable activities leading up to and coinciding with the games. There are 10 ambassadors, representing Kentucky’s congressional districts, whose mission is to promote the Games in churches, schools, civic groups, and clubs. Dr. Lyons also talked about the 2009 Alltech Fortnight Festival which kicks off on September 25th. There will be 16 straight days of entertainment throughout the Commonwealth. The same will happen next year from September 25th through October 25th with entertainment in downtown Lexington, surrounding cites, and regional arts centers.
Several legislators expressed an interest in how the $10 million donated by Alltech was spent and what the operating budget was. They requested a detailed report.
Secretary Jonathan Miller, Finance and Administration Cabinet gave a breakdown of how the state money was being spent. Sen. Givens asked how many dollars had been invested in the horse park so far. Secretary Miller said he would ask his staff to prepare a detailed report of his facts and figures and would make it available to the LRC staff. Secretary Miller was also asked whether projects were being completed on budget and on time. Mr. Nicholson stated that most of the projects were on or under budget and on time.
Rep. Stone asked if any estimates had been done on the economic impact of the sales tax. Mr. Miller stated that no estimates had been done yet.
Immediately following adjournment, the committee was invited to tour the facilities.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 12:20 p.m.