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Legislative update: 2/8/23

FRANKFORT– The Kentucky General Assembly is gearing up for an exciting return next week as Part II of the 2023 Regular Session begins. The legislative session is a time of great anticipation, with legislators from all over the state coming together to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Kentucky. Even though it is a short, 30-day session, I foresee a packed legislative agenda and a wide range of challenges to be addressed.

The next few months will be filled with lively debate, creative solutions, and working toward a better future for all Kentuckians. Whether you’re a seasoned policy expert or a curious onlooker, the Kentucky General Assembly is a fascinating and important institution that paves the way for the future of our state. So buckle up, because Part II of the 2023 Regular Session is about to kick off, and there is sure to be plenty of action!

It certainly was a busy but productive week in the district! On Monday, the Governor and Senior Advisor Rocky Adkins were in town to present over $4 million in funding for investments throughout Boyd County. The City of Ashland received over $700,000 to replace aging waterlines serving the downtown area and Catlettsburg, with an additional $300,000 for pump station improvements. Other recipients of funding at the event included various local government entities and 13 nonprofit organizations in the area. 

On Tuesday, I was honored to receive the “Friend of the City” award from the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) alongside State Representative Scott Sharp, R-Ashland. The recognition was regarding our work on a bill to repeal a convoluted liquor law established in the 1980s by the state legislature that set up special liquor districts in Ashland. Last session, Rep. Sharp and I worked across the aisle to get it off the books. I am deeply honored to receive this award, and I appreciate KLC for its unwavering support and dedication to our cities. Together, through bipartisanship and working closely with local officials, we continue to strive for a brighter future for all Kentuckians.

Back in Frankfort at a joint meeting of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee this week, members heard testimony on the winter weather impacts on natural gas and electric service. You may recall the rolling blackouts experienced following the Arctic Blast over the holidays. Officials from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) explained that the rapid drop in temperature caused auxiliary heat to kick on. They stated that this ultimately rendered electricity demand to spike, resulting in a loss of generation.

Winter weather can have significant impacts on natural gas and electric service, particularly on the reliability and availability of renewable electric power generation. In cold weather, demand for heating—particularly for natural gas—increases, which can strain the distribution system and potentially lead to supply disruptions. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar may also be impacted by extreme weather conditions, reducing their effectiveness and efficiency. On the other hand, traditional sources such as coal and natural gas are less dependent on weather conditions and can continue to generate power.

It is imperative that we be better prepared for winter weather impacts on electricity generation moving forward, which helps ensure a more reliable and efficient energy system. To achieve this, we will likely review measures to diversify power generation to include a mix of renewable and conventional sources, upgrade the grid infrastructure to be more resilient to extreme weather, and implement demand management strategies to reduce the strain on the system during periods of high demand. Furthermore, I plan to work with utility companies to improve their emergency response plans to address outages and restore power to affected communities quickly. By being proactive and working together, we can minimize the impact of winter weather on electricity generation and improve the overall resiliency of our energy system.

As always, I intend to closely monitor the legislative proceedings and report on the latest developments to keep you informed. For additional information on the 2023 session, visit www.legislature.ky.gov, where you can see the weekly schedule, watch live and archived coverage of committee meetings, search legislator contact information, learn about the legislative process, view informational materials, and request to testify at committee meetings.If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. To share feedback on an issue, feel free to email me anytime at Robin.Webb@LRC.KY.GOV or call the General Assembly Message Line at 1-800-372-7181. Kentuckians with hearing loss can use Kentucky Relay by dialing 711.

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