Lawmakers advance one of three bills to address budget

The state budget is a big topic and lawmakers are hard at it, debating three bills.

On Tuesday, one of the bills advanced past the first round.

It would authorize the state to take another dip into its rainy day fund to help balance the budget.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk, went along with Gov. Ricketts’ recommendation to transfer $108 million out of the cash reserve.  What advanced was an amended version that decreased it to $100 million.

It wasn’t without objections though.

"We have not only goals to protect our priorities, but also goals to protect our cash reserve and to rebuild that cash reserve back up to a level so that we can have comfort into the future to manage the contingencies as they come forward," said Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln.

"One or two more dips into that rainy day fund in the next couple of years and you will truly, truly be at Hell’s door," said Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha.

The bill also had to overcome a motion to indefinitely postpone by Sen. Ernie chambers.

It must now make it through two more rounds of debate before it reaches the governor’s desk.