Thursday, February 15, 2001

Ky. Senate to vote on bill to eliminate emission testing

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FRANKFORT — Legislation that would eliminate Northern Kentucky's hated auto emissions testing is awaiting a vote before the Kentucky State Senate.

        But even if the bill - which would eliminate the tests in Northern Kentucky and in Jefferson County - passes the Republican-controlled Senate next week, it may not find support in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

        There Democrats hold the majority, and Gov. Paul Patton, who has spoken against the bill, is a Democrat.

        On Tuesday the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted along party lines to approve it. The six Republicans voted for it and the five Democrats voted against it.

        Republican Senators, including Katie Stine of Fort Thomas, predict it will pass in the Senate because so many vehicle owners oppose the tests. She and Senate President Pro Tem Dick Roeding, R-Lakeside Park, co-sponsor the bill.

        “I probably hear more complaints about the tests than anything else,” she said last week. “People want it to end, and they want us to do it now, while we're in Frankfort.”

        The federal Environmental Protection Agency had ordered the tests - which began last year - because Northern Kentucky had not met air-quality standards under the Clean Air Act.

        Every vehicle registered in Northern Kentucky and built after 1968 must go through the tests, which cost $20, every other year. If a vehicle fails, it must be repaired and retested before its license plates can be renewed.

        Mr. Patton has said the bill is necessary to help maintain air quality. And some business leaders and lawmakers fear the possible loss of millions of dollars in federal highway money and other funding for Northern Kentucky and the Louisville area.

        Republican representatives Paul Marcotte, of Union, and Charlie Walton, of Florence, are among the House members working on a compromise bill that would exempt cars that are one or two years old from the tests.

        Data from the state indicate that last year, no year-old cars failed the test and only one 2-year-old vehicle failed.


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