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Legislative Report – Week Seven

Week 7 Legislative Report, 64th Legislature Senator Murphy

Sometimes it is hard to know what to tell you that is not so far inside baseball as to be just plain boring. Here are a few tidbits from the floor of the Senate the last few days. Renters do not pay property tax, so we tried to give them a bit of tax relief by offering a bill on renter’s credit. There are around 205,000 residences in our state that are taxable (single family dwellings, duplexes and triplexes) and about 26,000 farmer homes that are not taxed. Probably a little over 2 person average in each house. So with around 700,000 residents, darn near half of our state rents. Renter’s credit got hammered on the floor along party lines with one Republican voting for it.

Today we voted to not discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation and it passed 26-21. Who knew? You should be aware that when it gets to the House, it is very likely that it will get hammered.

Pre-K did not get out of Appropriations in any form this afternoon is the word I am getting. The benefits will have to be forgone for thousands and thousands of children for more years to come as we hopefully slog towards the goal that somehow 44 other states have been able to reach. It makes me want to cry.

I got into a fight for safety. A big oil company came in wanting to do their own electrical jobs under 50 volts by themselves. We amended it down to 24 volts but of course, volts are not the danger as even 1 volt can cause a spark big enough to ignite vapors in the oil field. Amperage is the issue. Electrical inspectors pleaded with the committee to not allow this to happen as those jobs would never be inspected because they would not know what had been done. I ended my speech by saying that I refused to be responsible for turning a catastrophic accident into something that could further be called a tragedy because it could have been avoided. Eleven Republicans joined my caucus in turning away that effort to allow expediency. This after our head oil and gas regulator and promoter was on the front page of the Forum last Thursday saying the oil industry should not cut corners on safety. The vote was 26-21, so flip 3 votes and the Wild West would have been wilder.

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