There’s tension between some Nebraska lawmakers and Gov. Dave Heineman, who says state senators shouldn't be getting an increase in pay.
From day one, Governor Heineman has been very clear on his opposition of Legislative Bill 599. "I support prenatal care for mothers, they need it, but when it’s an illegal mother it ought to be done through private organizations, private charity and private churches. That's the way to do it."
Heineman says the bill takes away money from education, jobs and other programs that need the funding. "Because of what occurred last year on LB 599, we're going to give illegal individuals taxpayer-funded benefits."
The governor's stance on that bill isn't what sparked the latest feud inside the Nebraska Legislature. "They passed it, I vetoed it, they overrode me, so it’s just a matter of financial principle. I said hey, until they repeal it they shouldn't get a pay raise. That money ought to be going to legal Nebraska kids, legal Nebraska families."
While the governor is very vocal about his opinion on the state senators' salary increase, it's really up to the voters to decide. He strongly opposes the salary increase. In his eyes, he sees linking the two as being "appropriate."
"I respect that everyone is going to make a determination differently, how do you decide whether they need a pay raise or not? This was so important and so fundamental to the future of our state, how we spend money and I've always said the priorities ought to be education and jobs."
LB 599 is sure to be the first controversial topic entering into the 2013 legislative session that starts in January. "I really do hope they'll reconsider, repeal it and use that money for education, that's what we ought to use it for."
The raise proposal, also known as Amendment 4, will appear on the November ballot. If approved, the measure would raise annual salaries for state lawmakers from $12,000 to $32,000.