Call to Order and Roll Call
The5th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection was held on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, at 1:00 PM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Tanya Pullin, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Elizabeth Tori, Co-Chair; Representative Tanya Pullin, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Denise Harper Angel, Joey Pendleton, Jerry P. Rhoads, Kathy W. Stein, Jack Westwood, and Ken Winters; Representatives Linda Belcher, Dwight D. Butler, Mike Cherry, Larry Clark, Leslie Combs, Tim Couch, Ron Crimm, Robert R. Damron, Myron Dossett, David Floyd, Jeff Greer, Jimmie Lee, Terry Mills, Tim Moore, Fred Nesler, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, Steven Rudy, Sal Santoro, Charles Siler, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.
Guests: Mark Needham, BRAC Advisor, Governor’s Office, COL Eric Schwartz, Garrison Commander, Fort Knox, Brad Richardson, Executive Director, OneKnox; Tim Hubbard, Assistant Director, Tony Hatton, Director, Kim Greenridge, Superfund Program Coordinator, Superfund, Energy and Environment Cabinet; Tom Preston, Executive Director, Gene Kiser, Deputy Director, and Shelby Lawson, Chief of Staff, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security.
Co-Chair Pullin asked members to review the November 22nd meeting minutes. After a motion to approve by Representative Nesler, and a second by Representative Floyd, the minutes were adopted by a voice vote.
Representative Floyd read a resolution honoring fallen soldier Staff Sergeant Jordan B. Emrick.
Co-Chair Pullin read resolutions honoring Representatives Siler, Smith, and Sims, and Senator Tori for their service to the committee and Commonwealth. Representative Nesler moved to adopt all of the resolutions, and the motion was seconded by Representative Clark. The resolutions were adopted by a unanimous voice vote.
Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) Update
Mark Needham, BRAC Advisor, Governor’s Office, Col. Eric Schwartz, Garrison Commander, Fort Knox, and Brad Richardson, Executive Director, One Knox, gave an update on BRAC progress at Fort Knox. Col. Eric Swartz testified about BRAC progress. Col. Swartz stated that Fort Knox is on track to meet the mandated BRAC completion date of Sept. 15, 2011, and he discussed the major changes to the post. Col. Swartz discussed the workforce dynamics and other noteworthy items to including the LTG Timothy J. Maude Human Resources Complex, which is the largest facility in Kentucky and is 80 per cent occupied, the increased traffic at gates, soldiers living off post, turning over the state Fort Knox child protective investigations, changes to the Patton Museum, and 3,500 Fort Knox Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan.
Brad Richardson briefed the committee on the regional economic impact and Fort Knox area housing. The projected net of new jobs for military, civilian, contractors, and the private sector is up to 7,800. There are 300 new apartments under construction in Hardin County, and single-family residential home sales have a sale price to list price of about 98 percent. The daily commute time for many has doubled, and the traffic count at the intersection nearest Ft. Knox Wilson Gate has increased 50 percent since April 2010.
Mark Needham briefed the committee on road and infrastructure projects around the post. He described the growth of the schools in Hardin County, Fort Knox, and Meade County. Mr. Needham discussed a visioning project for Hardin County to include governance, education, and community development due to the growth and transportation issues of Ft. Knox.
In response to Representative Clark’s question, Col. Schwartz stated that the Human Resource Center is filled two thirds to its capacity and there are still 1,200 positions available. In response to Senator Gibson’s question, Col. Schwartz stated that the remaining positions are IT or technically specific jobs.
Tim Hubbard, Assistant Director of the Division of Waste Management, and Kim Greenridge, Program Coordinator, Superfund, Energy and Environment Cabinet, presented the committee with a power point presentation on the status and overview of Kentucky’s Meth Lab Cleanup Program. Mr. Hubbard discussed Kentucky’s meth problem stating that Kentucky is ranked 3rd nationally for the number of meth labs discovered in 2009 and as of October 31, 2010, that number has increased 42 percent. Mr. Hubbard briefed the committee on the meth law timeline, decontamination tracking, program update, increasing challenges, recommended enhancements, and future efforts of the Kentucky Meth Lab Cleanup Program. The program was awarded the 2008 Department of Environmental Protection’s Outstanding Performance Award.
In response to Representative Webb-Edgington, Mr. Hubbard stated that laboratories are defined by the Kentucky State Police and counted by the local drug task force and police departments. Laboratories could be in a home or even a car, but Mr. Hubbard’s office only addressed labs found in residences.
In response to Representative Cherry’s question, Mr. Hubbard stated that the owner of a contaminated property is the person responsible for the cleanup.
In response to Senator Westwood’s question, Mr. Hubbard stated that the practice of “smurfing” is getting a number of people to buy their limit of pills containing pseudoephedrine and turning them over to the cooker which explains the increase in the number of incidents reported since 2008 even with the restrictions on medication per person.
Office of Homeland Security Annual Report
Tom Preston, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS), presented the committee with a copy of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security 2010 Annual Report. KOHS has 18 employees available to carry out mandates, federal grant management duties, administration of the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center, analysis and disposition of cases including growing suspicious activity, critical infrastructure assessments for public and private facilities, first responder training and exercises, support services to police and fire agencies, management of the Law Enforcement Protective Program and JusticeXChange, community outreach and safety education, and private sector security counseling. Mr. Preston stated that in spite of fiscal constraints, the KOHS is expected to achieve more with much less.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned.