SENATOR COREY BROWN: Bill on 911 centers goes to full Senate

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It was a full week in the Senate as committees attempted to debate the remaining Senate bills in preparation for cross-over day. February 14 is the deadline for bills to leave their house of origin.

The Joint Committee on Appropriations will finish hearing the various budgets of the agencies this week. Once that is complete the committee will tackle a few of the remaining pieces of the budget. One of the keys to a balanced budget is not only the expenditures, but also trying to accurately project revenues. In the coming weeks the committee will weigh several projections, and will also be watching the remaining bills closely as a number of them require additional dollars to be spent.

This past week, I was happy to see SB 174 pass out of committee and the full Senate unanimously. The bill is an attempt to address a number of problems that currently exist with our 911 response system. Over the past three years I have seen numerous attempts to fix parts of that system and all have been met with substantial opposition and resistance. Several months ago, I called together dozens of groups and associations that have a stake in that system. The hope was to find a compromise bill that many could support, but ultimately a bill that would improve the quality and response during emergencies. A key piece to that compromise is a transition from our current decentralized analog systemto a modern singular system that can take advantage of improved technology (Next Generation 911). The process at arriving at this compromise is a great example of how government should operate. During the committee hearing, there were 28 proponents and 0 opponents to the bill, given the dynamics and tension of the past few years I would have thought a result like that would be impossible to achieve.

One of the several smaller bills that I sponsored was passed out of the Senate. SB 81 allows for special license plates to be created that designate our active duty military members. Currently, veterans are eligible for special plates, but this bill would extend these plates to active duty service men and women as well. It passed unanimously out of the Senate.

One of the other major issues that is still to be debated by the legislature is the Governor’s proposed education reforms in HB 1234. Throughout the session, both the House of Representatives and the Senate have been working closely with the administration to find common ground on some of the parts of the proposal that have caused the most controversy with the education community. This past week that bill was heard in the House Education committee. A major amendment was attached that I believe goes a long ways towards addressing many of those concerns.

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