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Emerging from conference, bill restricts state's study of climate change

In a closed-door conference committee, Republican lawmakers appeared to add a provision to a bill that would prohibit any state agency from developing or implementing a plan to address climate change unless authorized by the legislature .

The new language appears in Senate Bill 10 -- a controversial measure that sweeps clean several key boards and commissions, wiping off Democratic appointees to make room for GOP favorites. The Senate rushed the bill through early in the session but the House balked and wrote its own version. The bill emerged from a secretive conference committee Wednesday and appears on the House calendar for action Thursday. It's not clear whether the House will consider the measure today.

In a paragraph that eliminates the Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change, lawmakers added language not in a previous House version of the bill that states: "No State appropriations or departmental receipts shall be used by State agencies for the development, promotion, dissemination, or implementation of a statewide climate change action plan or adaptation strategy, unless such activities are specifically authorized by the General Assembly. This shall not prevent individual State agencies from addressing climate or weather-related issues or events that are within the scope of their existing agency duties and responsibilities."

Other apparent changes to the language approved by the House include:

--removing a prohibition that members of the Environmental Management Commission not receive significant portions of their income from those subject to enforcement

--cutting a requirement that members of the Industrial Commission be lawyers and two have specialization as worker's compensation attorneys.

--deleting a provision requiring members of the Utilities Commissioner to have related experience

--taking away two appointees to the Wildlife Resources Commission from the governor and giving them to the General Assembly

--restoring a provision that eliminates special superior court judges, as the Senate requested and House deleted, but allows them to finish out their terms

--removing language the House added that allowed members of the state's mining board to hold other elective or appointed office

--cutting language about the state personnel commission, a criminal justice education and training standards commission and an independent occupational licensing board.


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