Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Contact legislators early Wednesday morning to make some good things happen

Tomorrow morning the energy bills will come up before the House Insurance/Commerce Committee. Jon Woods of Springdale (479-200-3100) is a critical vote. PLEASE contact him phone before 10:00 am tomorrow, when the committee will meet. You could email him, but I don't have that to share with you. Oh boy does he need to hear from you now.

The bills and talking points are listed below. Thanks to Citizens First for staying on this so doggedly.

If you can, please let me know if you get a response... positive or negative.

Thanks Omni Folks,

Bill Kopsky at Arkansas Public Policy Panel wrote:
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 15:03:13 -0500
To: gwleaders@ARPanel.org
From: Bill Kopsky at Arkansas Public Policy Panel
Subject: Fwd: energy showdown - save money, create jobs, help the
CC: staff@arpanel.org,board@arpanel.org,steeringcommittee@ARPanel.org

The key votes are now: Maloch (Magnolia) , Hoyt (Morrilton ), Wells (Paris), Dunn (Forrest City), Lovell (Marked Tree), Ingram (West Memphis), Cooper (Melbourne), and Woods (Springdale).

Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 14:56:34 -0500
To: environment@ARPanel.org
From: Bill Kopsky at Arkansas Public Policy Panel
Subject: energy showdown - save money, create jobs, help the environment


Wednesday morning at 10am in the House Insurance and Commerce Committee (map here), Room 171 of the State Capitol, two key energy bills will come up for testimony and a vote.

We are currently plus or minus 1 or 2 votes on both bills and every bit of effort you can put into contacting your legislators on the committee and coming to the hearing will be a huge help. The vote will go either way -- we are getting heavy industry opposition.

Please do everything you can to call your lawmakers and attend the hearing.

HB1903 by Rep. Cash will provide consumers and Arkansas businesses with rebates and incentives to increase their energy efficiency through weatherizing your home, putting in new windows, buying more efficient appliances, etc.

HB1851 by Rep. Webb will lower barriers to using renewable energy in Arkansas and help consumers and businesses upgrade to renewable energy.

Very few bills will come up where there is clearer choice between serving the public good and serving narrow big special interests.

HB1903 has the support of the Governor, the Attorney General and the Chair of the Public Service Commission. It saves consumers $700 million over the next ten years, creates local jobs in construction and renovation that can't be outsourced, and will reduce our global warming impact significantly. What is not to like?

The utilities, the State Chamber of Commerce and big industrial users are attacking the bills with half-information. They point out that HB1903 will cost consumers money ($27 million by their estimate), BUT THEY'RE NOT SAYING IS IT WILL SAVE CONSUMERS UP TO $700 MILLION over the next ten years. That is a return on investment of over 20:1. Even if the savings were half of our estimate, they would still be a return on investment of over 10:1.

Please call your members of the House Insurance and Commerce Committee (map here) and ask any of your family and friends who live in these districts to also contact their legislators to support HB1903 and HB1851.

The Citizens First Congress is a grassroots coalition of over 40 community groups from across Arkansas that works on progressive reform at the Arkansas Legislature.

Our Ten Priorities for a Better Arkansas for the 2009 Arkansas Legislature are
Increased resources for rural and small business economic development.
Enact the recommendations of the HIV/AIDS Task Force.
Progressive tax reform to provide low and middle income tax relief while generating sufficient state revenue.
Enact the recommendations of the Global Warming Commission.
Create an Arkansas Civil Rights Commission.
Close the education achievement gap.
Enact the Dream Act to make sure every student graduating from an Arkansas school has the opportunity to pay in-state college tuition.
Create a Task Force on Arkansas Water Resources.
Increase penalties for and enforcement of wage theft.
Expand state incentives for land conservation.

Gladys Tiffany
Omni Center for Peace, Justice & Ecology
Fayetteville, Arkansas USA
479-973-9049 -- gladystiffany@yahoo.com

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