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Being the victim of a freshman legislator prank

This past week was very busy. I want everyone to know how much I appreciate your calls, letters and emails. They do make a difference. I apologize if I don’t get back with you on every correspondence. It is impossible! I have a half time aide who does a wonderful job, but is only human, too. I do read all of my mail and emails, and your opinion is very important.

Senator Roberts and I will be having a town hall meeting on Feb. 26, so stay tuned.

I shepherded my first bill through the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee where it was approved, but not without some concern on my part. It is a very simple change in law that makes the term for the State Conservation Board four years rather than three, so that it matches the terms on the local District Conservation Boards. It was suggested to me by the Association of Conservation Districts. A very simple and common sense bill, right? Wrong! A motion was made to postpone the bill indefinitely. It was seconded and the bill failed! I was sitting there in shock! Well, it seems it is customary to have a little fun with freshmen legislators. After some laughs at my expense, a motion was made to reconsider, and HB 11-1040 was sent on to the Committee of the Whole where it was approved unanimously on second reading and will be heard on third reading some time this week.

This week I have another bill before the Agriculture Committee, HB 11-1081, which will add propane to a list of alternative fuels and gives propane users the same tax benefits as the other fuels like natural gas. A bill passed in 2009 did not include propane, and we are simply trying to remedy that mistake. There are many benefits to using propane. It is a derivative of natural gas and is a much cleaner burning fuel than gasoline and diesel. Converting to propane is simple and affordable. You can use both propane and gasoline in the same vehicle, and switch back and forth. The cost of installing a natural gas filling station is estimated to be $750,000, but you can get propane just about anywhere. We encourage more propane use which can reduce the demand for gasoline and diesel, and could help to bring the price of those fuels down. I believe that HB 1081 is a common sense way to use the market to reduce fuel prices and help the environment. I have received numerous emails supporting this bill. If you agree, let members of the Agriculture, Finance and Appropriations committees know.

There will be many bills this week before Committees of which I am a member and bills that will come to the floor on second and third readings. I have to study each of these bills thoroughly to see if they are in line with my basic principles. Wish me luck!