The Corona virus will inconvenience us into the winter sport...
Sen. Tyson Larson was the guest speaker at the O'Neill Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon.
Senator Larson talked to the crowd about his first year as a freshman senator in the Nebraska Unicameral. "I was on three committees this session; the general affairs committee, which deals with alcohol, tobacco and gambling; the ag committee, which deals with land and soil topics and the judiciary committee, which deals with a lot of important issues.
This year we had a lot of tough choices to make when it came to the budget. We cut a billion dollars out of the budget by a few different measures. We had to cut aid to the cities, in which O'Neill lost $30,000. We also cut money from the NRDs. Medicaid, which was not a popular decision, received a 4% cut, while we tried to keep school funding the same.
One of the many good items we passed, LB629, directly puts liability for ecological damage to any company operating a pipeline involved in an accident. Another bill I was associated with, LB305, permitted use of the Commercial Feed Administration Cash Fund and requires the Director of Agriculture to report regarding the implementation of a state meat and poultry inspection program, which gave the state a meat inspector and will open up markets for a variety of other growers that would typically find it difficult to market products such as ostrich or other specialty products without said inspector. LB229 provides a $7 million per year transfer from the Environmental Trust Fund to the Water Resources Cash Fund for the next 10 years. The bill also broadens the use of the Water Resources Cash Fund to allow funds to be used for studies and grants to facilitate compliance with the Nebraska Groundwater Management and Protection Act.
We have a compact with Colorado and Wyoming and which demands that in 2012 we have maintained the same river and reservoir levels that we did in 1990. If we cannot maintain these levels than we would have to re license our power plants such as Gentlemen Jim in Southerland and Kingsley Dam at lake McConaughy this legislation will keep money aside to help with any problems," stated Larson.
Another big issue was LB84, Adopt the Build Nebraska Act, which provides for distribution of sales and use of tax revenue for road construction which takes a quarter of a cent of every tax dollar to road projects which will give us $70-$80 million over the next 20 years.
Senator Larson fielded a few questions from the audience before the meeting adjourned.
The Chamber monthly meeting is held the first Monday of the month. All Chamber members are encouraged to attend. For more information on where the next monthly luncheon is, please call the O'Neill Chamber of Commerce.