Themeeting of the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee was held on Wednesday, February 14, 2007, at 4:00 PM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Lowell Atchley, LRC staff for the committee, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Carroll Gibson, Co-Chair; Representative Mike Denham, Co-Chair; Senators Dan Kelly and Richie Sanders, Jr.; Representatives Royce W. Adams, James R. Comer, Jr., Charlie Hoffman, Tom McKee, and Tommy Turner.
Guests: Keith Rogers and Tim Hughes, Governor's Office for Agricultural Policy; Laura Knoth and Jeff Harper, Kentucky Farm Bureau; Gay Dwyer, Kentucky Retail Federation; and Gary Larimore, Kentucky Rural Water Association.
LRC Staff: Lowell Atchley and Kelly Blevins.
Following roll call, Senate and House committee members chose their respective co-chairs to preside over upcoming meetings. Representative Hoffman made the motion to elect Representative Denham as the House co-chair; Representative McKee seconded the motion. A motion was then made by Representative Turner and seconded by Representative Adams that nominations cease. Senator Kelly made the motion to elect Senator Gibson to the position of Senate co-chair. A motion was made by Senator Kelly and seconded by Senator Sanders that nominations cease.
The new co-chairs agreed that Senator Gibson would chair the meeting.
Co-chair Gibson then asked Mr. Keith Rogers, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP), to report on agricultural diversification project applications that the Agricultural Development Board (ADB) considered during its January meeting.
Mr. Rogers’ report was relatively short. He commented on state projects that included the following project approvals: Lawrence County Farm Bureau, $4,286 to purchase marketing materials and equipment for vendors at a local farmers’ market; Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association, $100,000 to administer a heifer replacement program; Bath County Conservation District, $105,000 to administer a menu approach for three model programs; Rockcastle County Goat Producers Association, $10,000 to administer a menu approach for two model programs.
Mr. Rogers also explained the rationale in the board’s not approving a Hart County Board of Education project to buy agriculture classroom materials for the local high school at a cost of $4,250. According to information supplied to the Committee, the project would not have benefited tobacco dependent producers and other funding sources were available.
Mr. Rogers also commented on a chart supplied to members containing information showing state projects approved since the inception of the program until December 2006. There were no questions raised about the chart.
The GOAP director mentioned the Governor’s Summit on Agriculture, which was planned for Thursday, March 15 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Agricultural leaders and those interested in agriculture from across the Commonwealth were invited to attend the one-day event.
As discussion continued, Co-chair Denham asked Mr. Rogers asked about the status of agricultural development funds and also asked what the biggest obstacle was relative to receiving applications from throughout the state. According to Mr. Rogers, the months of June through December 2006 were very busy, with a “tremendous run on applications.” But he said they had experienced a lull as they awaited the April 2007 Master Settlement Agreement payment. He predicted the pace would quicken after April. Mr. Rogers said he could comment in greater detail about their funding situation at the next Committee meeting.
Before closing the meeting, Co-chair Gibson said there had arisen a need to change the Committee’s regular meeting date. He instructed staff to poll members regarding any conflicts that they had and any preferable days to meet.
Documents distributed during the Committee session are available with meeting materials in the LRC Library.
The meeting ended at approximately 4:45 p.m.