SB0263C-Committee Bill Summary (House)

HCS SCS SB 263 -- UTILICARE

SPONSORS: Banks (Mays, 50)

COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Utilities Regulation by a vote of 14 to 0.

This substitute establishes the Utilicare Stabilization Fund in the state treasury for deposit of appropriations, gifts, grants, and any other sources related to the Utilicare program. The substitute also expands the Utilicare program to include energy assistance for cooling a household and redefines a qualified household for purposes of determining eligibility to obtain assistance. Under current law, eligible heads of household must have an annual income of not more than $7,500. The substitute changes the qualified income level to not more than 110% of the current federal poverty level. The substitute provides for payment of primary or secondary heating or cooling sources, decreases the maximum annual appropriation by the General Assembly for the program from $5,140,000 to $5,000,000, and allows a portion of the appropriated funds to be used for the weatherization assistance program with an energy savings payback period of 10 years.

This bill contains an emergency clause.

FISCAL NOTE: Estimated Net Cost to General Revenue Fund of $0 to $5,000,000 for FY 1998, FY 1999, and FY 2000.

PROPONENTS: Supporters say that the federal energy assistance program is not secure and that state level assistance is necessary. Many people, without this assistance, would have to choose between food and heat for their families. The weatherization program teaches families how to conserve energy so that their energy bills are not so high.

Testifying for the bill were Senator Banks; Laclede Gas; City of Kansas City; and Community Action Agencies.

OPPONENTS: There was no opposition voiced to the committee.

Donna Schlosser, Research Analyst



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