AIDEA Reform Bill HB 271
On January 18 2022, Representative Andy Josephson introduced House Bill 271, a bill designed to address some of the problems with how AIDEA operates. The bill did not end up passing but was an important step forward to slightly more oversight of AIDEA. The House State Affairs Committee heard public testimony from folks who complained about the lack of public process with AIDEA's comments, projects and executive session. AIDEA had said that they were going to send someone to talk with the Committee and instead sent a defensive letter against the bill. This led to legislature concern with AIDEA and a Green Bank bill that would have housed a "green bank" under AIDEA was not passed due to concerns. AIDEA now has the Department of Law sitting in on their meetings. Lots of work needs to be done on reforming AIDEA but we are grateful to the organizers who led to these changes and shifts in attitude.
HB 271 would have done a number of things, including:
- Requiring legislative confirmation of the five public members of the board and the Director;
- Requiring the public members of the board to come from different sectors, including a Tribal government representative, a member with experience in socially responsible investing, and a member with experience in renewable energy project development;
- Instituting staggered 4-year terms rather than allowing the board to serve “at the pleasure of the governor”;
- Increasing scrutiny and stakeholder involvement in all AIDEA projects over $10 million;
- Increasing the dividend AIDEA pays to the state from 25 to 50 percent to no less than 50 percent;
- Requiring 30 days notice for change of regulations and requiring AIDEA to publish a written justification for any change to a regulation;
- Requiring AIDEA allow all interested members of the public at least two minutes to comment on any decision and requiring production of a publicly available response to public comments before voting on any action;
- Requiring the release of more information publicly; and
- Requiring local consent for projects over $10 million and requiring the creation of Regional Resource Advisory Councils.