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Lawmakers end contentious legislative session

Budget passed but senators say much more to do
Posted at 6:28 PM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 19:29:43-04

After a contentious 86 days, the 2017 legislative session is officially over as the session gets mixed reviews.

“We started out by debating rules for 30 days—remember groundhogs day?” said Speaker Jim Scheer.

Throughout the session, senators passed a budget while the state faced a roughly billion dollar deficit.

Ultimately adding money to the prison system while cutting towards the university system and social services but ultimately per law, the budget had to be balanced.

Governor Pete Ricketts thanked the legislature for their efforts during a tough year, “We have been successful working together as two different branches, we have accomplished many of those things to be able to help us grow our state.”

The legislature passed over 150 bills but the session didn’t end without a few final words from the outspoken Senator Ernie Chambers digging into the senators for upholding the governor’s vetoes, “The session was a virtual shambles, and i was very upset with the way things were done,” he said.

The session had some wins, on Tuesday the revenue committee advanced a bill to allow tax credits for school choice.

“Now the tough part starts, we’re going to get it to the floor and we’re going to win on this thing in 2018,” said Senator Bob Krist.

For others, the session didn’t provide enough property tax relief.

“I will introduce a constitutional amendment that will restrict the amount of property tax that go to entities that go to property tax,” said Sen. Steve Erdman.

 

Erdman said he’s looking for partners to fund the ballot drive for November of 2018. He's also wants input on what the rate should be.