April 2021: Bills are Moving in the Legislature and We Need Your Help!
The Senate has several bills on its perfection calendar – only one step away from floor debate! We need your help informing them which bills are good and which are bad. Not sure who your elected officials are? Click here.
The same bill language is often introduced in both chambers of the General Assembly at the same time to speed up the process of getting the bill passed – these are called Companion Bills.
There are a few sets of bad companion bills where one has passed in the House and the other is on the perfection calendar in the Senate (meaning, it can move to floor debate any day). We need to let our senators know we want them to vote against these bills!
Bad companion bills needing action:
- HB 574 (passed in the House and had a hearing in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee) and SB 254 (on formal perfection calendar) would restrict the inspection of agricultural grounds/facilities to certain federal/state agencies.
- This is another attempt to block local public health agencies from protecting their local communities from health concerns found in agricultural operations.
- HB 217 (passed in the House Rules-Legislative Oversight Committee – likely heading to perfection calendar) and SB 138 (on formal perfection calendar), which both require SNAP participants to comply with federal work requirements
- This is another attempt to mandate the harshest penalties for SNAP recipients when they fail to meet federal work requirements – being permanently ineligible for the program after a third failure to meet work requirements.
- HB 529 (passed in the House and reported to the Senate) and SB 96 (on formal perfection calendar) would establish a minimum biodiesel fuel content mandate.
- We do not need to incentivize more biodiesel production. Our farms need to focus on growing food and promoting soil health!
- HB 697 (passed in the House and reported to the Senate) and SB 105 (on formal perfection calendar) would modify provisions relating to property assessment contracts for energy efficiency.
- This is an attack on Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, which facilitate local government funding of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
- HB 333 (passed in the House and had a hearing in the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee) and SB 149 (on informal perfection calendar) threaten democracy in multiple ways:
- It requires initiative petition signatures to be gathered on a government identified form
- The text of the proposed measure must be “no smaller than twelve point, Times New Roman, and have a top, bottom, left, and right margin of not less than one inch.”
- $500 filing fee for initiative petitions
- Only signatures written in black or blue ink shall be counted as valid without requiring verification.
- All of these changes in HB 333/SB 149 would make it incredibly difficult to ensure petitions get started (the cost is so high) and that petition organizers obtain signatures that will be deemed valid.
CALL YOUR SENATOR TODAY AND ASK THEM TO VOTE NO ON SB 138, SB 254, SB 96, SB 105, and SB 149 IF THEY GO TO THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE
There are other important bills on the Senate perfection calendar:
- SB 202 (allows utilities to engage in financial securitization) – Supports utilities in retiring old coal power plants
- SB 301 (establishes the Prescribed Burning Act) – Allows private landowners to obtain liability insurance for their prescribed burns.
- The House version of this bill (HB 369) has been passed on the House floor, so passage of SB 301 would bring the Prescribed Burning Act close to becoming a law!
CALL YOUR SENATOR TODAY AND ASK THEM TO VOTE YES ON SB 202 and SB 301 IF THEY GO TO THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE
- SB 40 (requires more work for DNR when issuing fines to violators) – If DNR has to go through more steps to issue fines, we fear they will be deterred from issuing warranted fines
- SB 354 (extends the sunset of various tax credits) – This bill could be positive if the programs were reformed to support renewable energy like wind and solar, not just biofuel
- SJR 2 (drastically increases signature requirements for initiative petitions) – Threatens democracy
CALL YOUR SENATOR TODAY AND ASK THEM TO VOTE NO ON SB 40, SB 354, and SJR 2 IF THEY GO TO THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE
These BAD bills have been passed by the House rules committees, which means they will be placed on the perfection calendar and could soon get a vote on the House floor:
- HB 525 (requires DNR to conduct a use attainability analysis on state waters before limiting ammonia discharges from point sources) – This creates significant barriers to preventing water pollution from industrial farming
- HB 1046 (allows DNR to sell Eleven Point State Park) – Public lands should stay in public hands!
- HJR 22 (increases signature requirements for initiative petitions and allows the General Assembly to modify those petitions) – Threatens democracy
CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY AND ASK THEM TO VOTE NO ON HB 525, HB 1046, and HJR 22 IF THEY GO TO THE FLOOR FOR DEBATE
These BAD bills were recently passed on the House/Senate floor:
- SB 141 (requires the Public Service Commission to create a renewable natural gas program) – Natural gas is not renewable!
- Passed in the Senate and reported to the House
- A companion bill (HB 892) has been referred to the House Rules-Administrative Oversight Committee
- HB 488 (prohibits political subdivisions from restricting utility service based on the source of energy delivered to an individual customer) – This would take away the ability of local governments to choose the energy sources that best serve their communities
- Passed in the House and reported to the Senate
TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO OPPOSE SB 141 and HB 892 AND TELL YOUR SENATOR TO OPPOSE HB 488