As the state legislative session nears its end, state Senator Russ Karpisek of Wilber says it’s been a difficult and challenging session that’s now in the “heavy lifting” stage. Karpisek says the drawing of new legislative districts, based on population shifts in the 2010 census, is an imperfect process.
He says Saline County should still be in First Congressional District, as it was moved to the Third District ten years ago for “purely political” reasons.
The senator says he expected to see the Congressional districts move much as they have, with the 3rd district expanding in geographical area.
He commented on the five-to-four Republican/Democrat partisan vote in the redistricting committee, which like the legislature, is technically non-partisan. He says few things at the unicameral ever come down to partisan votes, but this is one of them, “and it’s too bad.”
Concerning the budget, Karpisek says though there were difficult decisions to make, he’s happy that they will approve a balanced budget.
The seven-billion dollar, two-year budget was cut by nearly one-billion dollars which he says was “drastic,” especially since K-12 education made up for about 400-million of the cuts.
Karpisek says he was unhappy with UNL’s Innovation Campus getting 25-million dollars and offered an amendment to kill that funding, but his measure failed on a vote of 37-to-5.
On a positive note, he says much of his proposals concerning horse racing and Keno are progressing on the floor and look to pass and go to Governor Heineman to become law.
Stan Smith, KUTT, Fairbury