Eminent domain bill with broad support stalled in House

Posted by: KFTC staff on March 17, 2014

UPDATE: NOW STALLED IN SENATE. After nearly an hour-long debate on Friday, March 21, the House approved HB 31 by a 75-16 vote (see how they voted HERE). Rep. John Tilley and Rep. David Floyd argued passionately for the bill while several legislators representing the Bluegrass Pipeline partners argued in opposition. Now the bill is stalled in the Senate, where Republican leaders won't let it move.

Legislation to clarify that landowners have the right to decline easements for private pipeline projects across their land has been stuck in the Kentucky House.

After two meetings in February, the House Judiciary Committee approved a committee substitute for House Bill 31. The vote was 11-1 on February 26, with 11 votes being the minimum needed. Nine members of the committee were either absent or abstained from voting.

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A state Earned Income Tax Credit is gaining momentum!

Posted by: Kentuckians For The Commonwealth on March 17, 2014

A state Earned Income Tax Credit is gaining momentum! During last week's lobby day, members made sure that every legislator got customized information (thank you KCEP!) about how a state EITC would impact the people in their district. Most of this information was part of a larger conversation about the EITC's role within comprehensive tax reform like the Kentucky Forward Plan, and the opportunity in pairing an Earned Income Tax Credit with increasing the minimum wage in Kentucky.

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Happy Pi(e) Day! Celebrate with us next week in Berea

Posted by: Staff on March 14, 2014

Madison County pie auction and contra dance

Happy Pi(e) Day to all! For those who don't remember from their school days, Pi is a math term that has an infinite number of digits, but is approximately 3.14, so March 14 is known as Pi Day. There are plenty of ways to celebrate, but many festivities involve eating delicious pie, and that's just what the Madison County KFTC chapter will do next week when it holds its annual Pie Auction event in Berea.

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From KFTC's Economic Justice Lobby Day

Posted by: Kentuckians For The Commonwealth on March 13, 2014

The folks at KFTC's Economic Justice Lobby Day – twenty or so, and lots of great folks we've gotten to know from Women In Transition and Network Center for Community Change, and many first-time lobbyists – met the challenge head-on of working with at least four issues (in many more bills) that would impact Kentuckians' lives. It was a full day!

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Shining a light on Benham Power

Posted by: Sara Pennington on March 12, 2014

Benham Power Project -- March 2014On Tuesday, March 4, the City of Benham in Harlan County took a big step forward in charting its energy future. KFTC, along with the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) and MIT, presented research and proposals on how the municipally-owned electric utility in the town can save money on their power bills to their wholesale power provider, as well as help local residents and businesses save energy and money, and help stabilize the town's distribution grid. After the presentations, the town leaders were asked if they were interested in continuing forward with the design and implementation of the project and the response was an overwhelming "yes," with lots of great questions and suggestions shared that evening.

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Live stream of Voting Rights prayer vigil

Posted by: Erik Hungerbuhler on March 11, 2014

Starting at 11:30 EDT, members of the Nia Community of Faith led by Pastor Anthony Everett will be leading a prayer vigil in support of House Bill 70, our restoration of voting rights amendment, in the annex offices of the Senate in Frankfort. We will be streaming live video from the vigil on this page. So please join us, and let us know what you think in our comments.

Live streaming video by Ustream

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Lexington council and mayor vote to table affordable housing trust fund; Central Kentucky KFTC members mobilize

Posted by: Beth Howard on March 10, 2014

Rupp Arena is known throughout the state and the nation as the home of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team. For many, Rupp Arena is a symbol of pride and legacy. It can also be a symbol of something else in Lexington: the number of people who cannot afford housing would fill up Rupp Arena twice.

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Great crowd and lots to learn at KFTC’s fifth annual Growing Appalachia conference

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 10, 2014

About 190 people attended KFTC’s fifth annual Growing Appalachia conference in Prestonsburg, a record for the one-day event focused on ways people in eastern Kentucky can earn or save money or grow a business through agriculture and clean energy solutions.

“What we are seeing across eastern Kentucky is nothing short of revolutionary,” said panelist Ralph Davis, who manages the Floyd County Farmer’s market. “People are returning to family farming. They are taking ownership of their lives and doing something new. Farming is an act of creation. And it is one of the ways this region can heal.”

Among the crowd were many students and teachers, including 15 middle schoolers from Letcher County, high school students from Floyd County, and college students from the University of Pikeville and Big Sandy Community and Technical College, among others. As a teacher from Letcher County explained, “We are just getting started this year with a garden at our school and have plans to build a greenhouse. We are all learning together and thought this would be a great experience.”

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USDA offers financing for energy efficiency upgrades

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 7, 2014

Hope installs the fan in the blower door.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently established the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program (EECLP) to level the playing field for investments in clean energy. The same type of financing that has been available to power plants for decades will be available to electric utilities and – by extension – their residential customers.

The USDA’s Rural Utility Service has more than $6 billion to provide low-cost financing to electric utilities that serve rural areas and operate at-cost, such as rural electric co-ops and public power authorities.

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Committee hears testimony on Clean Energy Opportunity Act

Posted by: KFTC Staff on March 6, 2014

KFTC and allies got a chance to discuss the potential benefits of the Clean Energy Opportunity Act during a legislative committee hearing March 6.

Sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, the bill would create 28,000 new jobs in clean energy over the next 10 years by establishing clean energy standards for Kentucky, according to a study commissioned by the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED).

Marzian presented the bill to the House Tourism Development and Energy Committee as a means to generate “jobs, jobs, jobs for our people that have been laid off.”

“I think it’s a real opportunity for the people of Kentucky and for all of us as legislators to help our constituents in this state,” Marzian said.

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