Paducah Power – Rate Protection Ordinance Part II: The Legalese

This post follows on the first installment which should be read prior.

Here I include back-up information and the KRS Statutes on which my strategy regarding Paducah Power is based.

Some Legislative History (Exciting and Riveting Stuff)

If organization structure is or was part of the problem, (and to be very clear – I do believe it certainly was) then recent amendments to KRS 96.170 may provide the ability to add some transparency and improve the inadequate system of  “checks and balances.”

Early in Kentucky’s history, the Kentucky legislature passed a statute which states:

“The legislative body of any city may, by ordinance, provide the city and its inhabitants with water, light, power and heat by contract or by works or its own, located either within or beyond the boundaries of the city, make regulations for the management thereof, and fix and regulate the prices to private consumers and customers.”

[I added the bold].

This statute was reenacted and codified in 1942 at the same time that the Kentucky legislature enacted “The Little TVA Act.”  The “Little TVA Act” was a legislative effort to enable the expansion of electricity into rural Kentucky.  For a significant period of time, KRS 96.170 applied only to cities of the third, fourth or fifth class and thus, not Paducah.  In 2014, the Kentucky legislature amended this statute along with many other statutes to eliminate the distinction between the various classes of cities.  Consequently, since 2014, this statute has been potentially applied to all Kentucky cities.

There is no doubt that there is language in “The Little TVA Act” which is an attempt at preemption or to put it another way, an attempt to exclude any other statute from interfering with the operation of “The Little TVA Act.”  However, Kentucky’s highest Court rendered a decision in 1943 which says:

“Applicable general rules as to construction of statutes as established by text writers and are opinions, are to the effect that it is the duty of the Court to harmonize conflicting statutes and give effect to each if it be possible. On reenactment of a statute which has been previously interpreted by the Courts, it is presumed that the reenactment was made with the intention of the legislature to incorporate such interpretation into the reenacted statute.  In interpreting statutes, the Court should adopt a practical construction.  Statutes passed at the same session of the legislature should, if possible, be so construed as to give both affect.” [I added that bold too].

Kentucky’s highest court went on to then apply both “The Little TVA Act” and KRS 96.170 in the interpretation of city powers as it dealt with a eastern Kentucky city’s acquisition, management and control of a power company.

By | 2017-12-26T00:41:13+00:00 August 25th, 2016|Paducah Power|1 Comment

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About the Author:

Eddie Jones is a candidate for Commonwealth Attorney. Eddie began his legal career as a prosecutor in the United States Army JAG Corps. Presently, Eddie Jones is a practicing attorney in Paducah, Kentucky at the law firm of Boehl Stopher & Graves and also serves as a County Commissioner in his community of McCracken County, Kentucky. His background includes service in the United States Army and an undergraduate degree in Public Administration from Evangel University along with a Law Degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Eddie is interested in working to make Paducah and McCracken County more sustainable through bikeable/walkable neighborhoods, tourism including sports tourism, and the development of public/private partnerships including a focused, transparent plan for regional economic development.

One Comment

  1. […] I believe the Paducah City Commission should consider a “rate protection ordinance.”  Certainly, if I were to be elected in November, this would be a top priority of mine.  I envision an ordinance that would provide the Paducah Power Board with authority to increase rates consistent with the Consumer Price Index.   Any rate increases beyond that cap would require approval of the City Commission.  A “rate protection ordinance” inserts more public transparency into the manner, amount, length and timing of any increased rates without unnecessarily compounding the work of the Paducah Power Board.  In short, our power bill would not be allowed to take the Christmas money again without a public, YouTube type discussion about “how much?” and “how long?” and a little bit of “why how come mister?” [Read more on the legal basis for this strategy here.] […]

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