Senator Tom Carlson-District 38
April 5, 2012
On this 57th day of the session, it has been a busy exhausting week of late night debate and contentious votes. The legislature over rode the Governor’s veto of LB 1072, a state claims bill of $2.5 million to pay 50 subcontractors left with unpaid claims when a primary contractor with the state to provide child services failed to pay the subcontractors. I voted for the over ride, which prevailed with a vote of 31-12. It was the right thing to do as many of the providers are small rural organizations that depended on that state contract.
We spent two evenings last week debating LB 599, the bill to restore prenatal care benefits to pregnant women, including those not legally in the United States. The bill was advanced to final reading late last night. The arguments against this bill are that it is an illegal immigration bill. I believe it is a pro life bill, and an economic bill. Holding true to my pro life position, I have to vote in favor of bringing healthy babies into this world, who will be Nebraskans and U.S. citizens. The fiscal note shows us that prenatal care saves thousands of dollars over intensive care for babies delivered with birth defects due to the mother not having access to medical care during her pregnancy. The bill faces one more round of debate. The fact is this: with or without LB 599, we will take care of the mother and the baby in our system. We as a society do not refuse medical care.
Yesterday’s Final Reading agenda had six bills with my name as sponsor. My personal priority legislation, LR358CA, the constitutional amendment to increase term limits to three, four-year terms instead of the present two, four-year terms, required 30 votes to pass and it got 31. The measure will now be on the November general election ballot for you, the voters, to decide.
LB 905, to change the Nebraska Wheat Resources Act, passed on a vote of 44-0. The bill allows the check off rate to vary with the market and value of wheat. It will also help stabilize the fund, which supports research, marketing, and promotion of the value of wheat products in the food chain.
LB 1057, also advanced to the legislature by the Agriculture Committee, increases the current fee of 1/4 cent per bushel of corn to a half cent. The operative date for the new rate is October 1, 2012. The bill also passed 44-0. The corn board uses check off dollars for research on varieties for greater production with less water requirement and also for greater efficiency on the use of chemicals and fertilizer. The board also invests in marketing approaches and education of the public on the value of corn and corn products in the production of food and energy.
There were A bills following both the wheat and corn check off bills. A bill stands for appropriation and designates which state fund will receive the money to carry out the provisions of the bill. These bills are funded with revenues from the programs and require no state general funds. Both A bills passed with no dissenting votes.
Representative government is the best form of government in the world. It may also be messy and frustrating at times. We have separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. We don’t have a dictator form of government. This is good, but it presents differences of opinion between the executive and legislative branches. When this happens it is uncomfortable; but overall provides good balance. That is why we have veto and over ride provisions in our state Constitution.