Call to Order and Roll Call
Themeeting of the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee was held on Wednesday, August 3, 2011, at 10:00 AM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Wilson Stone, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Paul Hornback, Co-Chair; Representative Wilson Stone, Co-Chair; Senators Carroll Gibson, Vernie McGaha, Dennis Parrett, and Joey Pendleton; Representatives Royce W. Adams, James R. Comer Jr., Tom McKee, Fred Nesler, and Tommy Turner.
Guests: Roger Thomas, Executive Director, Kylee Palmer, Director of Compliance, and Bill McCloskey, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy; Irene Centers, Program Manager, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, along with Jenna Compton, student at Pikeville High School, Landon Rogers and Libby Dismeaux, students at Burgin High School; Van Ingram, Executive Director, Office of Drug Control Policy, Amy Andrews, State Coordinator, Heather Wainscott, Branch Manager, Office of Drug Control Policy, Lola Patterson and Joe Williams, Coordinators, Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (KY-ASAP).
The July 6, 2011, minutes were approved, without objection, by voice vote, upon motion made by Sen. Vernie McGaha and seconded by Sen. Joey Pendleton.
Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy
At the outset of the meeting, committee received the monthly report from Mr. Roger Thomas, Executive Director, and Mr. Bill McCloskey, Director of Financial Services, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP), regarding project funding decisions made by the Agricultural Development Board (ADB) in its previous meeting.
The officials began their report by reviewing funding under the County Agricultural Improvement, Deceased Farm Animal Disposal Assistance, and Shared-use programs from the previous month. They also responded to questions from Co-chair Stone regarding how the CAIP differs from the older model program system in allocating funds at the county level.
The one project approved for state funding at the previous ADB meeting prompted several questions and comments. The project concerned the Bracken County Agriculture Advancement Council’s receipt of $37,500 in local and state commitments to consider the feasibility of building a biofuel pellet mill in the county industrial part.
Responding at various times to Representative McKee, Senator Pendleton, Senator McGaha, Representative Stone, and Senator Gibson, the officials talked about Eastern Kentucky Power’s potential use of the biofuel pellets to blend with coal in generating electricity, the potential different types of biofuel feedstocks, the expertise of a Missouri company, Show Me Energy, in doing the study, the University of Kentucky’s work in helping grow switchgrass in the northeastern region, and status of biomass study versus actual use.
Following Mr. McCloskey’s review of a project denied funding, the committee saw a short demonstration by Kylee Palmer, Director of GOAP’s Compliance Division, of a new Web-based search tool on the agency’s Web site that will enable one to search the database for information on producers who have received cost-share funds through the CAIP since 2009. Responding to questions from Co-chair Hornback and Co-chair Stone, they described the scope of the database and search categories, such as county, program, producer, year, and the like.
Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Report
The committee received a report from Ms. Irene Centers, Program Manager, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, regarding that agency’s activities during the past year using, in part, tobacco settlement funds. Three high school students, Jenna Compton, Pikeville High School, and Libby Dismeaux and Landon Rogers, Burgin High School, talked about efforts undertaken at their schools to reduce teen smoking and tobacco use. Commenting during the testimony, Senator Pendleton lauded the students for appearing before the committee and discussed legislation enacted in the 1996 session to restrict minors’ access to tobacco sold in stores.
Following the teens’ remarks, Ms. Centers reviewed the FY 2011 and FY 2012 budget figures, highlighted progress toward reducing tobacco use in Kentucky, and presented statistics on smoking rates in assorted age groups.
Responding to Representative Stone, Ms. Centers indicated that a number of entities review their finances, including the Office of State Auditor. She commented to Senator Gibson about the need to have more smoke-free high school campuses. Responding to Representative Adams, she explained how the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control inspects retailers for illicit sales to minors. Reviewing the Monroe Health Department’s financial report, she explained to Senator McGaha that health departments are not required to itemize their expenses, showing for example, how much they devote to supplies that help people quit smoking. As her report ended, Representative Adams observed that more education is needed at the elementary and middle school levels to educate youngsters on the health dangers of tobacco use.
Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy Report
The committee received a report from the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (KY-ASAP) regarding how that agency uses the tobacco settlement funds it receives. Addressing the committee were Mr. Van Ingram, Executive Director, Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP), Ms. Amy Andrews, KY-ASAP State Coordinator, and Ms. Heather Wainscott, ODCP Branch Manager.
The three officials discussed how the tobacco funds are used as a part of grants to county and regional KY-ASAP boards to use in substance abuse prevention and treatment. Mr. Ingram indicated they continue to have low administrative costs. Ms. Andrews pointed out they allow local boards to tackle what they see as the overriding problems in their areas. Ms. Wainscott discussed the agency’s involvement with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
The committee then heard testimony from Ms. Lola Patterson and Mr. Joe Williams, KY-ASAP coordinators respectively in Knott and Graves counties. The speakers discussed some of the activities they have undertaken in their communities to fight substance abuse.
Following Ms. Patterson’s remarks, Mr. Ingram responded to Representative McKee that there seems to be an increase in the prevalence of certain drugs in Kentucky, while the abuse of others is leveling off. The immediate intent, he indicated, is to focus on the proliferation of “pain clinics” in the state.
Responding to Senator Parrett, Ms. Patterson described a Knott County ordinance aimed at regulating pain clinics in that county.
Both Ms. Patterson and Mr. Williams commented to Representative McKee that funds are needed to deal with prescription pain medication abuse, and generally to improve the economy by decreasing poverty and spurring job growth.
Mr. Ingram mentioned the problem that exists in the state with prescription drug abuse.
Documents distributed during the committee meeting are available with meeting materials in the LRC Library. The meeting adjourned at approximately 12:30 p.m.