State lawmakers have restored roughly half the budget items vetoed by Gov. Dave Heineman.
Heineman used his line-item veto pen to scratch $44.6 million from the legislature’s spending plan.
“Look at the big picture,” Heineman told reporters during a news conference announcing the vetoes on Saturday. “We’re in agreement on most major funding issues that make a difference to this state.”
But not all.
The Appropriations Committee met on Tuesday morning to discuss the line-item vetoes. Though they totaled $44.6 million, the governor eliminated only $7.8 million from the state General Fund. The two year state budget for Fiscal Year 2013 and Fiscal Year 2014 totaled $7.8 billion as passed by the Unicameral.
Appropriations Committee Chairman, Sen. Heath Mello of Omaha, brought his committee’s override proposals to the floor of the Unicameral for debate.
“We discussed. We cajoled and had as much discussion as we could this morning on the items and we will stand by our proposal I believe,” Mello stated.
The committee did indeed stand by its recommendations. The legislature agreed with the committee. Other proposals to restore funding failed.
The biggest restoration of funding came in LB 198, the capital improvement budget.
The legislature restored nearly $3 million Heineman had vetoed for the UNMC College of Nursing facility in Lincoln. The legislature restored $1.47 million for both fiscal years to replace the current building in downtown Lincoln and move it on campus.
The legislature also restored more than $700,000 to renovate the Museum of Nebraska History and more than half a million dollars to make improvements to the Capitol.
In LB 195, the main budget bill, the legislature returned $2 million for public transit, rather than shift it into the roads fund as the governor directed. Grants totaling $200,000 each fiscal year to hire Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) have been restored.
The legislature restored $375,000 to provide raises to county court employees. Nearly half a million dollars to fund the Learning Community has been restored.
In the Department of Health and Human Services, the legislature restored funding for a Dental Health Director and dental services provided by Health Centers.
The legislature overrode the governor’s veto of $2.5 million to be transferred into the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min.]