Legislative Update, Week 5, 64th Session Senator Phil Murphy
Things are cooking at full boil out here. This week I introduced my Universal Pre-K bill that would fund any school or person who felt they were ready to roll. They would have to be approved by the Department of Public Instruction, of course, which entails meeting certain criteria which ensures a level of safety and competence for our children much the same as Kindergarten. Seventy-two facilities already offer approved Pre-K, and this bill would fund them next year. Because 88% of our states already publicly fund Pre-K at one level or another, we know that this is the direction our country and state is heading. Our Governor is publicly on board with this eventual goal in mind. This bill, 2254, will not pass because the political will does not exist at sufficient levels. That will change, hopefully in my lifetime.
Trying to get infrastructure in place for natural gas continues over the objections of those entrenched interests who are resisting the future, even though I believe the future will hold more customers for them. The Economic Development Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Commerce Department, along with many legislators from both parties are enthusiastically pursuing this opportunity to allow rural areas to have a chance at growth that will not happen without natural gas. It will happen someday, hopefully in my lifetime.
Today I presented the Industry, Business and Labor committee with an economic development bill that passed out of committee with a 7-0 Do Pass. It is a bill that allows micro-brewers to open more than one taproom as long as they brew their beer at that same location. It keeps the limitation on, which is not to exceed 25,000 barrels per year. (A barrel of beer is not as large as a barrel of oil – 32 gallons versus 42. As a smaller older guy, I am not a big beer consumer, but check them out in Fargo, Bismarck, Mandan, Minot and soon in Grand Forks) – they produce some imaginative beverages with passion for their craft. I helped them because those brewers are helping the renaissance/rebirth of our downtown areas. We are hipper because of them and our state can always use a little more cool. In my lifetime.