Last Friday was the public hearing for the Legislative maps to be heard before the Redistricting Committee. Due to the testimony that we heard concerning Alliance, I am proud to support a map that now keeps the city of Alliance whole. I will continue in my efforts to see that Alliance stays whole.
Today in the legislature we took up the Gubernatorial veto of LB 421. This is the bill that would allow the game and parks commission to increase the amount they charge for park entry permits. The issue for the governor is whether or not this would be a tax increase. the debate on the floor recognized the need for Game and Parks to have the opportunity to charge more . Forty-two members voted to override the veto and only five voted to uphold the veto.
It is important that we do not let our parks and recreation areas fall into disrepair. Our parks provide us with many opportunities for enjoying the outdoors and the amenities that are associated with each park. I believe we can do even more as a state to increase revenues by promoting our state parks and recreation areas by finding new revenue streams that are park specific. Tour companies could provide new opportunities to attract more visitors to our state and put money into the pockets of not only the state, but the surrounding and near by communities of our parks.
With the introduction and the hopeful passage of LB 684, these important questions as to how best to promote Nebraska tourism may be answered. If we can find these opportunities we will be able to grow our tourism economy and not have to rely as heavily on park permits to fund our park needs.
We also took up the Redistricting Map for the Supreme Court on Select File. Once again because of population loss, the districts in western Nebraska must grow to maintain the proper population. There are six Supreme Court districts in the state. There was some contention that Omaha would have an undo influence if Omaha was split into parts of four districts. During the negotiations and debate, we drew the committee map so that Omaha had parts of three districts. There was an amendment on the floor that reconfigured Sarpy County Representation. It also changed the District around Lincoln removing part of Cass county and adding Seward County. It was introduced by Speaker Flood and garnered the support of the body.
This week will be a very important week for the Legislature. We will take up Redistricting, CIR reform and a Pipeline bill. All of which are hugely important issues. It will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out. Stay Tuned.
As Always it has been a pleasure and an honor to represent the people of the 47th district. If you have any questions or concerns on these or any issue, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Senator Ken Schilz