LWVAL Action Priority Level II - Monitoring occurs; action dependent on opportunity and available resources.
Click a bill to see sponsor(s), summary (including link to full text), League action and justification for that action, and progress of the bill through the legislative process.
Legend: = LWVAL's support for the legislation. = LWVAL's opposition to the legislation. = new bill activity; change from previous week's report such as new progress in the legislature and/or League action. Bill may be one newly added to the report. These updates are in green font.
LWVAL has taken a position on these bills:
HB61 - Public Service Commission, regulation of pipelines for gas and hazardous liquids, penalties for violation of safety standards increased, Secs. 37-4-87, 37-4-96 am'd.
Sponsor(s): Representative Greer
Summary/Synopsis: This bill would increase the state fines for violations of the gas pipeline safety standards and hazardous liquid pipeline safety standards so that they conform to federal penalties. The Public Service Commission is supposed to inspect these pipeline facilities and assess penalties.
League Action and Justification: Support Both the State League and National League Natural Resource positions underline the need for adequate protections for the public from pipeline disasters. Federal regulations represent a minimum standard for these protections and fines associated with these regulations are minimums as well. We support this bill even though it does not go far enough and gives the PSC the power to "compromise" on the amounts of fines.
ALISON now lists bill as reported as favorable from JUDY but no date is given.
06/02/2015: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar; pending 3rd Read and Favorable from JUDY
06/04/2015: 3rd Read Passed; Motion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call; Signature Requested
06/04/2015: Passed 2nd House; Enrolled; Clerk of the House Certification; Delivered to Governor at 6:55 p.m. on June 4, 2015.
SB52/HB120 - Electric utility, transmission facilities, utilities subject to Public Service Commission regulation, connecting with other electric suppliers, authorized to construct, Sec. 37-4-150 added
Sponsor(s): Senate: Senator Ward House: Sponsor(s): Representatives Davis, Wood, Brown, Greer, Sanderford, Henry, Moore (B), Weaver, Harper, Hill (M), Jones, Tuggle, McCutcheon, Sessions, Boothe, Baker, Williams (JD), Collins, Ball, Gaston, Hammon, Hurst, Butler, Faust, South, Drake, Rich, Whorton (I), Hanes, Ledbetter, Pettus, Patterson, Whorton (R), Fridy, Treadaway, Rowe, Faulkner, Johnson (K), Shedd, Harbison, Chesteen, Bracy, Shiver, Polizos, Ingram, Sells, Clarke, Beech, McCampbell, Wingo, Carns, Hill (J) and Garrett
Summary/Synopsis: Under existing law, an electric supplier is required to serve its customers and expand its electric system as necessary to fulfill that duty. Recently established federal regulations may prevent an electric supplier from constructing and maintaining the new electric transmission facilities that it needs to expand its system.
This bill would specify that an electric supplier would have the right to construct and maintain transmission facilities necessary to expand its system. The bill would provide for the appeal of disputes to circuit court.
League Action and Justification: Oppose On its face, this bill appears benign. Unfortunately, it is really an attempt to negate the federal environmental regulations that require reduction of our dependence on the coal generation of electric power and consideration of other power generation technologies.
The introduction to the bill states "Recently established federal regulations may prevent an electric supplier from constructing and maintaining the new electric transmission facilities that it needs to expand its system. ..."
In addition, this bill asserts a "states’ rights" argument that state law is necessary to protect its citizens from an over-reaching federal government. Clearly federal law and its attendant regulations should trump state law.
The LWVUS Natural Resources Position states: "In 2008, the League called on Congress to enact legislation to significantly cut the greenhouse gas emissions which cause global warming and supported increased energy efficiency and a shift to a clean, renewable energy. The League called for a moratorium on the building of new coal-fired electric power plants and supported requirements for utilities to produce a significant percentage of electricity from renewable resources."
04/09/2015: 2nd Reading and placed on the calendar; Pending 3rd Reading and Favorable from TU&I. 04/28/2015: 3rd Read passed; Motion to Read a 3rd Time and Pass adopted by roll call vote; Signature requested Senate: 04/28/2015: Passed; Enrolled; 04/30/2015: Forwarded to Governor. Assigned Act No. 2015-120.\\ HB120 in the House:
SB225 - Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, settlement funds, priority disbursement to economic and environmental restoration projects in Mobile and Baldwin Counties
Sponsor(s): Senators, Hightower, Figures, Glover, Pittman, and Albritton.
Summary/Synopsis: This bill attempts to ensure that most of the settlement fines from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill that the state received are disbursed to economic and environmental restoration projects in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Under the Restore Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf States Act), 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties must go to Gulf Coast Restoration. The bill requires that any state money for damages that are not disbursed under the Restore Act must be deposited into a trust fund account with 80 percent of the funds to be expended in Baldwin and Mobile Counties. Those counties must expend the funds on scientific research, environmental restoration of coastal areas and economic incentive and initiatives.
League Action and Justification: Support League positions would oppose diverting any money designated for environmental restoration to other uses. This bill could protect those funds in the yearly struggle to create a budget without adequate revenue, when designated funds are often raided for other purposes.
04/28/2015: 2nd Read and placed on the calendar; pending 3rd Read and favorable from F&TG
06/03/2015: Indefinitely postponed
LWVAL is monitoring this bill:
SB38 - Counties and municipal governing bodies, solid waste program, use of funds, procedure for collection, Sec. 22-27-5 am'd.
Sponsor(s): Senator Holley
Summary/Synopsis: Under existing law, county and municipal governing bodies have authority to operate solid waste programs and may establish and collect fees, charges, and rates for the service. Existing law provides that all funds collected from the solid waste program are required to be used for the administration of the solid waste program.
This bill would provide further for the use of the funds by the local governing body for administrative service related to the program, for buildings and roads or bridges used for solid waste services, and for certain other services provided through the solid waste program.
Existing law also provides for the collection of delinquent fees for solid waste services by the suspension of service and by civil action.
This bill would further authorize local governing bodies to use provisions for collection through income tax refund set-offs.
League Action and Justification: Monitor [NOTE: The objectives expressed in this bill are generally accepted as good, but there is concern among some organizations that the funding authority in the bill might be used to excess.]