Debate Transcripts

LB 149 (1999)

Veto Override

March 22, 1999


... from 15 different schools from all over the state of Nebraska.  Some of them have stayed to be with us this afternoon.  They are there with their program director and the state Chair, who's an intern for Senator Dierks.  So they are in the north balcony.  Would you please stand and be recognized by your Legislature.  Thank you for being with us.  Please record, Mr. Clerk.


CLERK: I have a quorum present, Mr. President.




PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Mr. Clerk.  Mr. Clerk, next item.


CLERK: Mr. President, just one item for the record, if I might, before that: a hearing notice from Retirement Systems Committee.  (See pages 1124-1125 of the Legislative Journal.)


Mr. President, the first item of business this afternoon is by Senator Bohlke.  Senator Boh1ke would move that LB 149 become law notwithstanding the objections of the Governor.  We received the veto message of the Governor on March 18.  Senator Bohlke filed her motion that same day, Mr. President.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Senator Bohlke, you're recognized to open on your motion to override Governor's veto on LB 149.


SENATOR BOHLKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker and members.  Since being in the Legislature, I've learned one very important lesson and that is if you have 42, 43, or 46 votes, the only real danger of me saying a great deal is that I might change someone's mind.  And so what I say to you is that I think we've had sufficient debate.  It's the same bill, the same policy, no changes.  And I would hope you would support the override.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Bohlke.  For discussion on the motion, Senator Chambers.


SENATOR CHAMBERS: Mr. President, members of the Legislature, I find myself in a very ticklish situation this afternoon.  What I've got to say is, it's me and you, Gov., me and you.  Senator Bohlke, if you talked long enough you might change minds, but




mine would not be one of those that would change.  The Governor and I probably are cooperating without either of us knowing it in the same way that Senator Jensen pointed out that I and the Attorney General were cooperating on a measure which neither the Attorney General nor I knew we were cooperating on.  But when I read the Governor's letter, it indicates to me that he's paid attention to what I've been saying on his confirmations, because I always give that disclaimer that what I'm saying has nothing to do with the qualifications or suitability of the person for the job.  Well, I want to read, after I get my accoutrements here like they ought to be, from the Governor's letter: "I am returning LB 149 without my signature and with my objections.  My veto of LB 149 has nothing to do with the additional $19.4 million that this legislation will authorize to be distributed to Nebraska public schools under the state aid finance formula.  To the contrary, had LB 149 centered solely on the issue of restoring additional funds to the school aid formula, then I would have signed the legislation into law." How many times have you all heard me say that my comments have nothing to do with the qualifications of the particular nominee; under other circumstances I would have no hesitancy about voting for such a person? Governor listens and learns.  On this Particular matter, the Governor is correct.  He is going to be often wrong.  He has been often wrong and, in my mind, inexcusably so when it comes to his appointments, but on this particular issue it shows that, in the same way that even the devil speaks truth on many occasions, the Governor will be right.  I don't know what his motivations really are, Some say it's tied in with this notion of wanting to give money back to various big spenders and Senator "Quetzalcoatl" down there, Senator Quandahl to you all, is going to help put the Governor in a position to do that, and I hope that the Revenue Committee not only stands firm but votes to kill that bill so that it would take 30 votes to try to abrogate the committee system.  When we think of the Legislature institutionally, we should never give over our duties, our responsibilities and our powers to anybody.  We should not willingly and voluntarily give over to an automatic system, whether it's a computer, a formula, or a board or agency, the duty and responsibility that we have to study serious matters and make independent decisions that are appropriate to that situation.  I have not told anybody why I have voted in the way that I have, but I've been on the short




end of every vote that was taken on this bill.  One of the votes was 46 to 3, 1 being one of the 3.  1 am not in favor of the Legislature doing what will be done under this bill.  I know there are many currents and crosscurrents that this bill has stimulated.  The Governor is going to lose this one.  He knew he couldn't win it.  I think it was not wise for him to say the kind of hard-line things ...




SENATOR CHAMBERS: ...that he said.  It would have been better to try to negotiate to the point where neither side had to take a position from which neither could give ground.  The issue is bigger than the Legislature, it's bigger than the Governor, but unfortunately other things have put the Legislature in a position which we'll be in if this veto is not overridden.  I'm going to turn or.  my light one more time.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Chambers.  For further discussion, Senator Crosby.


SENATOR CROSBY: Thank you, Mr. President and members.  I hadn't ever spoken on LB 149 and the newspaper mentioned that the other day, except that I had said that I ...  before the session started, when the Associated Press and others were taking surveys as to how we stood on the concept of the $22 million, I said I had doubts about it and I did not like the idea of the way it was being presented So today I do want to give you, just very quickly, a little history lesson, and I ...  one of the things I try to do here in everything I do is to be consistent, but I will open quickly by saying my staff member gave me a copy of a postcard that her family found over the weekend and, Senator Chambers, you have to look at this copy because here's what it says: The Nebraska, the white spot on the map.  You got to look at this.  It's from the forties.  You know that because on the other side of the postcard it says a one-cent stamp.  But what they were touting at that time, and in...  on the map there's a little white map that says: Omaha, a good place to live; Nebraska offers no income tax, no sales tax, no other extra tax, no bonded debt, more money for you.  Remember, they're talking about state taxes, not local taxes, because at that time we did have local property tax, personal property tax.  Tax on the real




estate was all local.  The state did not levy any of those taxes, and that's what they touted when they tried to get business and other ...  and people to move to Nebraska.  Back in the fifties, when my husband was Governor, you'll remember that he tried very hard and I think almost got rid of the personal property tax.  Remember, Operation Honesty, you were supposed to declare on your personal property form that the assessor brought around to your house what you had that was taxable.  You don't have a piano, do you, the assessor would say, and he's sitting right next to the piano.  Nobody wore any diamonds, no furs, nothing.  And the other thing was it had to do with stocks and bonds that you owned, and a lot of people did not declare them and that was the whole thing that had ...  that was the whole thrust of Operation Honesty, to get people to be honest if they wanted to continue that tax.  Well, we got rid of that.  In 1966, the state, was on the ballot to put in a sales and income tax.  I guess maybe that's where the fun began because, after it was voted in, and you were talking about that this morning, the people voted for it and then they didn't want it.  They blamed Nobby Tiemann for the sales and income tax.  He didn't put it on the ballot, but he was a victim of that particular legislation.  One of the things that I think, and Senator Chambers said something a minute ago that made me think of this, one of the mistakes I think along the way that the Legislature did, and I don't remember the year and I didn't look, they took away from the Equalization Committee the tax-setting privilege.  Before that, Legislature did not set the tax rates.  So this has all been coming along and we're still on the track, we still haven't gotten it right, and that's why I react the way I do to LB 149, 'cause we still haven't gotten it right.  Every year there's some problem.  We need $22 million, I guess it's down to a little less than 20 million now, to make up to the state aid to the school districts so they are alive and well, so they are whole.  And it's been explained to me many different ways and each one of them confuses me.  I still have all these little maps and graphs that Senator Wickersham wrote out for me one day in my office.  But ...




SENATOR CROSBY: ...still, each person has a different reason for voting for or against LB 149.  I'm trying to be consistent.




I did not vote for LB 1059 way back in '89 and '90 because I thought that was the beginning down a road that we should not be going.  We're getting to the point where the state gives so much money to the local school districts that pretty soon...and we're hearing it already from the Department of Education.  You see, that's the other thing.  Now the Department of Education's going to be doing this formula.  I just react negatively to that.  So those are my reasons and I thought you might like a little history lesson this afternoon to lighten things up and I will vote against overriding.  Thank you.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Crosby.  For further discussion on the motion to override LB...  the veto on LB 149, Senator Brown.


SENATOR BROWN: Mr. President, members of the Legislature, I rise to oppose the override, but I dearly regret that I'm doing it and I dearly regret that we have ceded to the executive branch our responsibility to protect our legislative process and our legislative integrity.  The Governor seems more worried about our appropriate roles than we are.  In light of 149 and in light of this morning's discussion on (LB) 142, perhaps we should just establish formulas and put all of our appropriating on autopilot.  We seem to think that formulas are great for state aid and that it may be necessary to do the same thing for community colleges and ... that we've done here, and maybe we can do it for all of our spending.  We'd have a shorter session.  We would only need to vote on new additional spending that ... the new A bills that we have and we wouldn't have to spend so much time worrying about what's in and what's out.  We'd just have a formula for everything that's in.  We are abdicating, in LB 149, our right and responsibility to deal with appropriating, and the great majority of this body seems to think that that's a good idea and have aligned themselves with spenders who say, don't worry about the consequences, spend whatever seems to have any merit and somehow it will all work out.  And there are others who believe that that spending has to fit into a pattern and it has to be part of priorities.  And I hope that this is not the first step to just saying whatever will be will be.  The chickens will come home to roost from this legislation both fiscally but, more importantly I believe, in the public's perception of whether we are doing our job and defending our




institutional responsibility.  And when the chickens come home to roost I hope it's not the kids that are hurt and I hope that those who have led us down this path are around to share in what I am very concerned is going to be a great deal of pain.  And I have no doubt that...about what the decision is going to be today, but I really hope that that decision is made with some thought to the precedent that it sets.  Thank you.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: On the motion to override Governor's veto on LB 149, Senator Baker.


SENATOR BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Legislature.  I'm one of those people who voted for 149 as it moved along and I would ...  one week ago I would not have visualized myself standing here saying what I'm about to say.  But, I tell you what, I went home this weekend and when I go home people know it and they...there was a crowd at.  our convenience store and I was met with that crowd and I was also met with headlines on the local paper: valuation increases so on, 1999.  The county assessor caught me Saturday and says our valuations in Hitchcock County are going up 30 percent on Class IV-G ground, which is a lot of pastureland.  Senator Jones and I have a lot of it.  (Class) IV G ground went up 30 percent.  And I suggest to you who say this has nothing to do with what we're doing today, then let's freeze valuations.  I tell you, when...  these taxpayers have it figured out, a little better than I did.  I admit it.  They're asking me what have I done down here with letting a printout control what we're going to do in the Legislature now.  And it's not what I told people.  I campaigned against 413 and I campaigned hard against it saying we can do better than that.  Some of my neighbors said, yeah, if this is better than 413 then we can probably expect, 413, instead of western Nebraskans voting against- 413 next time they'll vote for it.  So it's an issue.  They point out too that we gave $120 ...  $120 million, roughly, of property tax relief.  We got $64 ...  or 64 million back.  Fifty percent of what we invested in property tax relief actually came back to the taxpayers.  I'm going to vary my script a little bit.  A lot of what I wanted to say has already been said, but some of.  the superintendents, I'm trying to quote this as near as possible: 149 gives us a false hope when we should be, unifying, consolidating.  I can point to my home county, Hitchcock County,




with pride in saying, and this is somewhat due to past legislative fiscal policy that we are unifying out there, but Trenton, Stratton and Culbertson are going together.  We're now going to have one superintendent.  And I'm Jumping a little bit here, but I think I can remember Senator Warner saying something like this, that putting more money into the state aid formula does not promote efficiency, and he was always pushing efficiency.  I'm proud of southwest Nebraska.  We have a number of school districts who have merged and so on.  We have not addressed the efficiency issue across the state.  Back to Hitchcock County, we have the Wauneta-Palisade merger that's worked well, the Dundy County, Haigler-Eustis-Farnam, and now Trenton, Stratton, Culbertson unifying.  We're eliminating administrators and so on.  And have I been lobbied by people? Certainly.  I've been lobbied by the Nebraska Council of School Administrators and those people are my friends.  I know every one of them in my district, the superintendents.  I know them well and I'll no doubt have to take some grief from them.  But back to the taxpayers, they're saying the bill will have little effect on my districts out here, and it did.  In fact, one of my districts, in District 44, was hurt by 149, specifically the Cambridge district.  It was hurt badly.  Another superintendent, let's stop the yo-yo effect until the next printout, and that tends to go along with what we've been saying.  I'm new down here but already we're changing the formula.  And I can...  I do have a little memory left and I think that we've changed it time and time again and their reply was let's work with the one we have for over a year and give it a chance.  Another quote: I don't think the state aid formula works well, Just real plain and blunt, and on and on and on.  And goes back that we still hinged around the valuation aspect of it.  There's a tremendous amount of unused levy authority and so on out there and I believe that the local schools still have to be accountable to the taxpayers, and we're getting to the point where the state is going to be covering over 50 percent of the cost of these school districts.  In western Nebraska, local control's a major factor and we take education seriously out there.  We're not just throwing money away, as witnessed by all the school reorganizations and unifications ...






SENATOR BAKER: ...  we have out there.  This whole scenario reminds, I took my grandson, four or nearly four-year-old Trevor, home with me this weekend and reading Chicken Little.  You know, an acorn falls on the chicken's head and immediately sky is falling, the sky is falling.  Baloney, the sky isn't falling, just because we had some unspent money that we thought we had to get back.  And I don't regret the fact.  We can still work, put together something that will salvage that.  Get it back to the schools, change the certification date to February 1st seemed to be the two major factors that people wanted.  They wanted some stability and will be using actual figures that way in the certification date, February 1st.  And, no names, but I do have superintendents in that area that say let's leave this thing alone.  I really do.  I have several of them.  Back to the valuation thing, we've increased our valuations $5.5 billion across the state last year, and a dollar levy, that's $55 million of local authority you could have for each dollar levy, $55 million.  So they do...




SENATOR BAKER: ...  have access to some other funds.  Thank you.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Further discussion? Senator Chambers.


SENATOR CHAMBERS: Mr. President, members of the Legislature, I know that some of my colleagues, if they were going to speak on this bill, but I guess for those who had that big vote, Senator Bohlke -did give the wise chorus.  A wise person would remain silent, I imagine.  But they would say if this formula does not work, if it looks like handing over our responsibility to some bureaucrats is not the right thing to do, we'll simply amend the statute.  That won't happen.  If we cannot do the right thing now while there is no pressure, you know that the Legislature will not stand up when the real pressure is on and to amend the statute at that time would bring how's and whoops down on the Legislature.  And when Senator Baker goes home, they won't just be standing in that little convenience store to talk to him.  They'll have axes, pitchforks and torches, Senator Redfield, just like they used to go after Frankenstein's monster.  And Senator Baker won't get away.  And if they burn his hide he won't come back in a sequel.  It won't be Baker number two.  it




will be ...  well, he won't be baked, he'll be cooked.  This is one of those situations where I think we ought to do the right thing.  I misspoke when I got ready to sit down and I had said...  I believe I said, if we don't override the veto.  What I meant to say is if we do override the veto it will be an error.  Senator Kristensen offered an amendment that would have alleviated the situation to some extent and his amendment was rejected.  I think what ought to be done, and it won't be done, but I've said these things in the past and it would turn out, as events unfolded, that I was correct, we ought to uphold the veto.  Then we ought to just, with one of these shell bills or with some other bill, with enough votes here it could easily be done, another bill could even be introduced by suspending the rules and you could accelerate its action through the Legislature and add the Kristensen amendment.  Let that be a part of the bill and then go ahead and do it again and do it the right way.  As I've said to my young colleagues, especially Senator John (sic) Bourne, Senator John (sic) Bourne, no matter how far you've gone down the road in the wrong direction it's never too late to stop and turn around and come back in the proper direction.  I know that there is the mood of a stampede now and maybe a few more people will join those three of us who have been voting the correct way, in my opinion, on this bill.  But that few will not be enough.  After the vote is taken, after the veto is overridden, we then will have time to repent at leisure.  And I think more problems are being created than are being solved, and the Legislature certainly will have reduced itself in terms of the integrity of the system and its willingness to do that which we are supposed to do.  I think it is very gratifying to succeed in pushing a bill through like this if that's what you're trying to do, and I would never expect Senator Bohlke to relinquish the ground that she has won.  I would expect her to do all she can to hold onto what she has won.  But the rest of us are in a position where we should exercise some independent judgment.




SENATOR CHAMBERS: Who can be mocked more than I can by voting to uphold the Governor's veto? I've talked about him every opportunity I've had.  I've been rather gentle., but it's clear that the Governor and I don't see eye to eye, and it's not like




the situation with Mr. Breslow where that just couldn't be done unless he stood on an orange crate or I dropped down on my knees.  I'm not talking about that kind of situation.  What is mockery? What is taunting? What is I told you so if, in doing the right thing, that's the reward or the punishment? I think we have to do the correct thing and vote to sustain this veto, although I don't expect that to happen.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Chambers.  Further discussion? Senator Tyson.


SENATOR TYSON: Thank you, Mr. President and members of the body.  For those of you who may ...  I stood hero last Wednesday, I guess it was, and said that I was going to vote to suspend the rules and then I was going to vote for LB 149, and then after our Governor vetoed it I was going to vote for the override, and I'M going to.  But I thought maybe some of you might have a little problem in voting for it so I'll tell you about how to make a two-handed vote.  With a two-handed vote, you take one hand and press the "aye" button and use the other hand to hold your nose, because this requires a two-handed vote.  This is based on a formula that is wrong.  It is based on student population which has nothing to do with cost.  It has nothing to do to accelerate cost containment.  It does not bring efficiency to the schools.  The reason that I'm voting for it is because it does bring $406,000 to four school districts that are in District 19, and it penalizes the largest school which has more than twice the number of students $369,000.  So there's about a $40,000 betterment.  And then you stop and think that, well, this is actually...what we're doing here is we're getting a transfusion with our own blood through a tube that leaks in Lincoln.  The whole basic situation needs to be completely turned over and it needs to be analyzed from the standpoint of how do you efficiently run a school system or any system.  it doesn't have to be a school.  You have to look at it through where are your costs and how do you contain those costs.  Once you've contained -.:he cost, believe me, the state aid situation will take care of itself.  But the formula by which state aid is calculated has to be done on the basis of costs, not on the basis of how many students you have today or may not have tomorrow.  So I'm going to urge you to override the Governor's veto, much as I don't want to see it overridden, and then I urge




you to think about who is driving the team here.  There was a bill last week, I didn't vote on the bill itself, I voted against the A bill.  It was $2.773 million left over from the mitigation bill of last year, which I voted against, but they don't want that money to go anywhere so we're going to establish a fund, totally unneeded, to handle little shortfalls here, little mistakes there, gloss things over, and then they got I think three years to pay it back.  That is not the way that you promote efficiency.  That is not the way you contain costs.  The first thing you do to contain a cost is you learn how to say, well, this is a secret word but I'll tell you, no.  Just learn how to say no.  It's very, very simple.  In business you do it a lot.  Evidently, if you're an educationalist instead of someone who's in business, you don't ever have to say it.  Please vote to override the veto, but stop and think.  We've got to change the formula and I don't think that we've got an awful lot of time to do it.  I think Senator Baker's right.  And I think Senator Chambers is right, for once.  No.




SENATOR TYSON: He was right, I forget the year, but he was right once before.  But we are going to have a reaction from the people that sent us down here.  Enough people voted on 413 just A few months ago to indicate that maybe not is all peaches and cream out there in voter land.  Please vote for the override but think we're going to have to do something about how this thing ...  how these numbers are generated or we're going to have more problems than we really want to handle.  Thank you.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Tyson.  Senator Redfield.


SENATOR REDFIELD: Thank you, Mr. Lieutenant Governor, members of the body.  I want to thank Senator Crosby for her reminder of a history lesson today because those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat it.  And I think there are a lot of historical events that have occurred that we need to be reminded of, and one is the fact that this is not a new issue, it is not a partisan issue.  Governor Ben Nelson, last spring, vetoed a measure that was very similar to this, and this body came into a special session just because of an issue like this.




We had a ballot issue that created quality education a paramount, paramount importance in this state, and the people of Nebraska said, while education is very important to us and our children are very important to us, education is not the only and paramount responsibility of this state.  What they were telling us is that there are other things that are important: food, shelter, health, farms, economy.  All people in Nebraska are important, not just children.  And I certainly stand here as a mother who has six children and knows what sacrifice is like for children, but I can tell you that we have a responsibility to all of Nebraska and we need to remember that the people, as Senator Schellpeper told us so carefully this morning, the people have spoken on the ballot and they said no.  And so I would urge you to think carefully as we vote this issue, recognizing the fact that there are important things in this bill that we can, as a body, carefully, carefully look at and deal with this session and correct, but we need to be very careful that we are not creating a monster that we will regret.  Thank you.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Redfield.  Further discussion on the override motion.  Senator Baker.


SENATOR BAKER: Thank you and I won't take my five minutes, but I may have a hard time when I get back to that "C-store" defending myself that I'm agreeing with Senator Chambers, 'cause that's not often the case that they think in western Nebraska, but in this case I certainly do agree with him a hundred percent.  We are letting control of the appropriation, the budget process, get away from, us.  Arid it was also brought up out at our store that would I go ahead and sign a contract with our employees to say, yeah, we'll give you $8 an hour July 1st and we're going to build on and we're going to do this, knowing full well that in our area out there, the economy, our accounts receivable are going up? It's a sure sign of things happening that are not good.  I can demonstrate that with printouts.  The banks out in our area I know for a fact are increasing their loan loss reserves and so on.  This isn't going to be the end of this 149.  I agree with Senator Chambers.  We're going upstream in a leaky boat with no paddles here to try and sustain the veto, but I need to be on record of saying, folks, this isn't going to work long term.  We're going to be back here in more




trouble than enough shortly.  There's no way in the world that even the good operators out there, agricultural producers, can price commodities at a profit right now.  A year ago, yes, the good operators had their corn and their wheat priced, before it was even planted in the case of the corn.  You can't do that this year, folks.  It is not going to continue on, unbridled optimism here, especially in the ag economy.  We had a question about valuations and how those affected the situation.  When we give them 100 million dollars of property tax relief and only 50 million of it shown up, that obviously that other 50 million was spent someplace else or possibly valuations.  There are a lot of districts out in our area that aren't at the $1.10 levy cap, be honest with you.  There's several of them.  We're talking about one this morning that has a tremendous valuation and really doesn't get much state aid out there in Senator Pederson's district.  I want to stress one other point, and I tried to follow the Legislature as best I could before elected, but one of them that's Senator Warner's quote.  It's not a quote, but he was always for pushing efficiency and I tell you, putting more money into the state aid fund does not address the efficiency issue out there.  We've been through it with the local schools.  I served 12 years on a school board and, Senator Tyson's exactly right, there comes a time when you say enough, no more.  The local taxpayers have to take the major share of the responsibility of these schools and I would assume this is going to get us over 50 percent of the state aid now as an average across the state going to support the schools.  We are still able to take that responsibility out west.  We take it very seriously and we're addressing it on a personal level out there.  Sure it's going to be hard for kids to rid a few more miles on a bus and so on, but we're going to get it done.  With that, I'll turn the rest of my time back to the Chair.  Thank you.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Baker.  Further discussion? Senator Chambers.


SENATOR CHAMBERS: Mr. President, members of the Legislature, again, I must refer to my student back here, "Baron Tyson".  Didn't he say that you should do a two-handed vote, which is to hold your nose with your right hand and punch the "yes" button with your left hand, voting to override, after giving all of the




reasons why you should not? He said this bill does not do this, it does not do that.  He ticked off about four things, and lie was correct.  But to show how his mind is disordered, after giving all the reasons not to do something he says he's going to do it.  The reason I'm doubly disappointed, brothers and sisters and "Baron Tyson", didn't we listen to him lecture us this morning about I right...  1 wrong does not make a right, 50 wrongs do not make a right? And he tells you, after giving you four wrongs, that somehow those four will make a right.  He doesn't even remember what he says.  (Laugh) I think when he begins to speak his mental processes shut down.  He's like this little boat, little tugboat that was out in a harbor.  It had a boiler five feet around and seven feet tall and when the whistle blew the boat stopped.  (Laugh) Now I have to get to something that I had a point.  (Laugh) This morning we were talking about LB 142 and it was to implement a part of Amendment 2 that the public voted in last year.  Some of my colleagues said the public may not have realized what they were doing.  The public may not have known the consequences of that "yes" vote.  And I would tend to agree that argument can be made.  We don't have that out on this bill.  We know.  We understand.  We are the Legislature.  We make the laws.  The laws are what we say that they are and nobody can say that they don't understand what this Legislature is giving over by putting 149 into law in its present condition.  That should not be done.  And most of us, if taken into the closet where we might say, Senator Hilgert and Senator John (9ic) Bourne, forgive me, Father, for I have sinned, and then you can tell the truth, more or less.  Most would acknowledge- that they shouldn't.  vote to override this veto.  Most would acknowledge they should not have voted to pass this bill in the first place, and most will acknowledge that if they understood Senator Kristensen's amendment they would have voted for that.  That would have mitigated the damage.  This bill, if it becomes law, is going to put the Legislature in a greater bind than it finds itself in now.  This is not a corrective measure that we're looking at.  It's one of those put it off till another day and maybe we'll have more steel in our spine a year from vow or 18 months from now or whenever, as Senator Brown said the chickens come home to roost.  We ought to call this the Colonel Sanders bill, probably.  But Senator Dierks, you are too wise a man.  I'm.  not going to comment by naming people ...






SENATOR CHAMBERS: ...  individually.  But I know the people on this floor who know better, and I don't even have to call your name because you know we don't have to do this.  We have time in this session to do what we ought to do.  Experience means nothing if all it Consists of is repeating the same error over and over and over again.  Some learning should occur.  We should be wiser.  Mr. President, in case I forget, when we do got around to a vote, I'm not going to speak again 'cause this is my third time, I want a roll call vote when that vote time comes.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Chambers.  Further discussion on the motion to override Governor's veto on LB 149? Senator Raikes.


SENATOR RAIKES: Thank you, Mr. President, members of the Legislature.  I wanted to just go over a couple of things to make sure that we do understand what we're doing here.  I am standing in support of the override, and I mention two things.  One, Senator Redfield mentioned that we are revisiting, in effect, the same concept that we addressed in last year's special session.  That is, we're fixing the local effort rate.  Now I would remind you that that is a two-edged sword.  It seems to be the presumption that that automatically means that we are going to be putting more money into state aid.  I would argue that that is not the case.  Again, I remind you that we are using the basic formula, needs minus resources equals aid, and if resources increase faster than needs, aid will in fact go down.  And with this feature of 149, the opportunity to adjust the local effort rate is greatly reduced or eliminated, so we, in fact, have a situation now where state aid could go either direction, and you might argue that it is likely in the near future that it may in fact go down.  The second thing I would like to address is the notion of autopilot in that we're giving up the policy alternatives.  I would remind you that a part of the Budget Limitation Act is that a base limitation rate is established each year by the Legislature.  The base limitation rate is the founding number that determines the growth rate in needs.  We ...  there is a procedure in law right now that requires that we address and adjust that each year, so certainly that is




a powerful tool to adjust needs and, therefore, keep in control what we're doing regarding state aid.  With that, thank you.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Raikes.  Senator Kristensen.  The question has been called.  Do I see five hands? I see five hands.  The question before us is, should debate cease? Those in favor vote aye, those opposed nay.  Please record.


CLERK: 34 ayes, 3 nays to cease debate, Mr. President.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Debate is ended.  Senator Bohlke, you're recognized to close.


SENATOR BOHLKE:  Yes, Mr. President, members, following what I said before, I will be brief.  However, Senator Tyson, I should point out to you that President Truman said, oh, these two-handed politicians drive me crazy; on the one hand they say this and on the other hand they say that; please just give me a one-armed politician.  But listening very closely to the statements made by people and realizing that I can't explain to you every issue that was raised from 1114, 299, (LB) 142, 881, and the whole issue of valuation.  However, I do need to point out to you, and especially you, Senator Baker, that with this bill if the valuations go up they'll get less.  Without this bill, if the valuations go up they'll get less.  That is how state aid works and so it's important for you to realize that.  That argument has nothing to do with this bill.  The other thing certainly goes to what Senator Raikes was getting at, that this does not necessarily mean that aid will always go up.  If you remember, December 1 the amount certified was almost $3 million more than the amount certified under LB 149.  And so it does not mean that aid will always go up.  The issue of this ...  that this may set a precedent, I hope it does.  I hope it continues to set the precedent that we in the Legislature have always done, and that's our support of K-12 education.  I think what this does is what I've said in the beginning.  It keeps us focused on what's important for funding our K-12 schools and it also adds the predictability and stability that in the very beginning of this debate everyone says was one of the primary reasons for 149.  There was very little disagreement.  And so if we do not override this veto then we are back to December 1, we are using




the estimates, we do not have the predictability, we do not have any of those issues with the money coming in off of automobile taxes, and I want to tell you next December 1 we will have not, not done anything to correct the errors and we will have a very, very unfortunate situation and probably back in a special session.  And so I do think it is very necessary.  It's not anything any of us enjoy and this is only one issue.  This is not the whole session.  This is one issue where we, in the Legislature, happen to have a different opinion than the Governor.  It's nothing more than that.  And for many of us, it started in 1997 and today may very possibly be our seventh vote in support of this policy.  For the others of you who are here, today will be your fourth vote on this policy.  And so I think that you have said in the past what you think is important and I hope very much that you will continue and to reaffirm those votes.  Thank you.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: Thank you, Senator Bohlke.  Question before us is the motion to override the Governor's veto on LB 149.  Mr. Clerk, please read the roll.  Request has been made by Senator Suttle for reverse order.


CLERK: (Roll call vote taken.  See page 1125 of the Legislative Journal.) 39 ayes, 7 nays on the motion that LB 149 become law notwithstanding the objections of the Governor.


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD: The motion is successful.  Mr. Clerk, items for the record.  I


CLERK: Mr. President, your Committee on Enrollment and Review reports LB 72 as correctly engrossed.  New resolution, LR 54 by Senator Raikes.  (Read brief description.) And I have amendments from Senator Bromm to be printed.  (Re LB 427.  See pages 1126-1127 of the Legislative Journal.)


PRESIDENT MAURSTAD- Members, while we're in session and capable of transacting business, I will sign a certificate indicating LB 149, having been returned by the Governor with his objections hereto and, after reconsideration, having passed the Legislature by a constitutional majority, has become law this twenty-second day of March 1999.  Mr. Clerk.