Week 10 Legislative Recap – Senator Murphy, District 20 – 63rd session
All of this week I have been hearing fears from locked out workers that their unemployment compensation may be taken away. Those funds were freed up due to the Supreme Court ruling and people are worried that the amendment which I will argue against today could be retroactive. Please understand that the legislature makes the law and the courts interpret the law on a case by case basis. This amendment to 1112 would make locked out workers un-compensable, but it would be going forward and not be able to claw back benefits attributed to this recent ruling. I understand why the workers whose suspicions I have tried to assuage these past two weeks are nervous, but all I have spoken to have sworn to me that this new law is only for the future.
We have wrangled in Natural Resources this past week with the Heritage Fund Resolution 4027. It called for much of what the voters thought they were going to vote on last fall, but it was kept off the ballot when petition signatures were found to be invalid. Calling for $100 million each year to be put to various conservation uses, it was deemed by the Senate to be too rich and too threatening. It allowed for land to be purchased for conservation and our farm groups came in against it on the grounds that it could have made it too difficult for young farmers to attain land in the future. I agree with that, but voted on the floor to move it forward because it would have gone to the people to vote on anyway as it was a constitutional measure. We could have tweaked or amended it to take those protestations away.
Now, we have 1278 as a pared back conservation version. Originally in the Governor’s budget, this oil tax funded measure would be up to $15 million a year and under the supervision of the Industrial Commission (Governor, Agricultural Commissioner and Attorney General). It was cobbled together by various farm and conservation groups as well as energy interests. It may well pass the Senate, which would sap some enthusiasm from any proposed ballot measure for more money concerning an outdoor heritage fund.