Throughout my time in office, I have never missed or abstained from a vote. Energy policy is a particularly contentious subject that has crossed my desk many times.
In 2008, SB327 came up for a vote. I ended up voting against the bill, which admittedly promised vague and confusingly enforced regulation. The reason for this hard decision was simple: this bill made it harder for the Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment to do their job.
Also in 2008, SB586 proposed that consumers should pay for new Nuclear power plants through rate increases. Where the title of the bill called this an incentive, I saw it as a tax on average Kansans to pay for Nuclear plants that are too risky to find private investment capital. The bill also gave the Kansas Corporation Commission oversight to approve new nuclear facilities, a job better left in the hands of scientists and engineers. For these reasons, I vote against this bill.
HB2412 promised trivial renewable energy requirements, small tax credits for consumers, and the language that would be proposed in so many energy bills that I would vote on. These provisions included:
-Specifies that the secretary of health and the environment may only take action against the emission of air pollution if it poses an imminent endangerment to the health of persons or the environment (Sec. 43).
-Allows certain electric cooperatives to opt out of regulation by the state corporation commission (Sec. 44).
These provisions would effectively de-fang the Kansas Secretary of Health and Envrionment while giving utility corporations an unregulated Kansas. For these reasons, I voted against this bill.
In 2009, the legislature saw this same bill under a different name and with even worse regulatory issues. HB2014 attempted some menial reforms in exchange for deregulation of electric utilities and limitation of the Secretary of Health and Environment’s ability to act on behalf of the people of Kansas. Though the bill would have also allowed net metering, benefits to consumers regarding would have been minimal, given the proposed regulatory climate. For these reasons, I voted against the bill.
These are just a sampling of the many energy bills that I have had a chance to vote on. Tell me what you think in the comments section below!