The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 15, 1998, Page 6, Image 6

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    Legislative session comes to successful, productive close, Nelson says
irom page 1
The Legislature also voted 44-2 to
give its f mal approval to LB 1104, a bill
that will decrease the state sales tax by
0.5 percent.
Nelson signed both bills into law
following the close of Tuesday’s ses
sion.Before the Legislature even
moved to the tax cut bills, however, it
spent more than three hours debating
how to deal with an amendment to
LB1175, a state-aid-for-schools bill.
Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers pro
posed extending this year’s session to
make time to remove an amendment
added to the bill in select file Friday.
Nelson had said Monday that he
was opposed to the amendment even
though the main parts of the bill are
considered necessary to clean up some
provisions related to schools.
Nelson said the amendment would
not pressure schools to become more
efficient because it would give them a
“blank check.”
The Legislature voted 25-0 last
Friday to adopt an amendment pro
posed by Sen. Bob Wickersham of
Harrison that would change the
method of determining how much
state aid schools receive for special
education and other programs.
Critics pointed out that the amend
ment would obligate the Legislature to
fund up to $70 million of school
spending in thtj first year of the bill.
Wickersham said that figure is a
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projection suoject to cnanges in spend
ing needs and fluctuations in property
tax evaluations.
He said the amendment would
change language in a bill passed last
year (LB806) which stated the
Legislature intends to provide schools
with enough aid so that they do not
have to increase tax levies beyond the
limits set by the state.
Wickersham said the state is
responsible for making sure schools
have the resources to function after
imposing limits on their spending.
Sen Ardryce Bohlke of Hastings,
chairwoman of the Education
Committee, said the spending formula
would be needed in the new school
year to avoid confusion and chaos
among admimstratois.
But Omaha Sen. Kermit Brashear
said the amendment might be uncon
stitutional because it dictates the action
of the Legislature year after year.
Sen. Pam Brown of Omaha said
ir • /v*
The Legislature gets high marks when it
comes to tax cutting. But their marks aren Y
as high on the spending side.”
Gov. Ben Nelson
the amendment had not been fully con
sidered by the Legislature before its
adoption and that there is already
ample state aid to schools facing bud
get crunches.
Lincoln Sen. Don Wesely also said
he opposed the amendment because it
would give business leaders who have
accused the Legislature of overspend
ing one more issue to exploit in push
ing a constitutional amendment to
limit state spending.
Chambers' motion to extend the
session fell 23 votes short of the
required 40.
Despite the objections from
Nelson and others, the Legislature
passed the bill 34-8.
Also on the final day of the ses
■ Senators passed LB309 by a
vote of 47-2. The bill will place
tougher penalties on drivers with
repeat DWI offenses.
■ LB 1266 was approved 40-2. The
bill will make it illegal to execute a
mentally retarded person who is con
victed of murder.
Indiana hrm wants out ot napalm deal
says it remains committed to destroying
or recycling 3.3 million gallons of
napalm, although a company that
agreed to do the job pulled out of its
contract as the first shipment traveled by
rail across the country Tuesday.
The Pentagon seemed taken aback
by the last-minute cancellation of the
deal as two 6,000-gallon drums of the
Vietnam-era jellied gasoline rode a rail
car from California toward its Indiana
destination, crossing New Mexico on
“Good question." Defense
Department spokesman Ken Bacon told
reporters when asked what the military'
would do now that its napalm destruc
tion plans are stalled.
Hopmg to ease any public safety
concerns. Bacon said there is no danger
in shipping the product, which had been
stored for two dozen years at a facility
north of San Diego, because it is more
stable and less volatile than gasoline.
“It’s not explosive. It’s very safe to
transport,” Bacon said.
Navy officials said they would like
ly seek another method of destroying
the napalm or find another company to
do the original job that was subcontract
ed out by a larger firm.
“We're committed to this project
because it is a safe and responsible pro
ject,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jon Smith.
“We are examining all of our options.”
The military hasn’t yet decided
what to do about the current shipment,
Smith said.
The one-railcar load on a train of 60
to SO cars will cross into Texas.
Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri before
arriv ing in Illinois this weekend, the
company said. From there, a smaller
railroad was to transport the shipment
from Illinois to Indiana.
Pollution Control Industries in Last
Chicago, Ind., had agreed in a $24 mil
lion contract to turn the 3.3 million gal
lons of napalm from the Fallbrook
Naval Weapons Facility north of San
Diego into fuel for cement kilns over
two years.
But Monday, the company said it
w anted out of the deal because some
members of Congress outside of
California complained about the project.
In a letter to the Navy and Battelle
Memorial Institute, the project’s primary
contractor, PCI attorney Steven Jay Katz
said: “PCI hereby advises Battelle to
cease making any further shipments and
to recall all shipments already made.”
Battelle was sticking with the pro
ject, according to the Navy.
Rep. Ron Packard, R-Caiif., wanted
the napalm removed because state offi
cials said it v/as leaking from aluminum
canisters stored in an open field and
contaminating soil in Fallbrook, an avo
cado- and citrus-farming community.
Indiana and Illinois lawmakers
opposed accepting the waste for recy