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“Friend Report”

January 23, 2011

01/24/10 State Representative Bill Friend offered his weekly “Friend Report” this week and said, “Hopefully, we, as a General Assembly, can enact meaningful legislation that benefits our entire state.  This leads into the 603 bills filed in the House this session.”

Each House legislator (100 legislators total) was limited to filing a maximum of ten bills. Of course, the total House maximum would be 1,000 bills.  He was pleased at the restraint shown by House legislators as they only filed 603 bills.  This number still presents a formidable workload when you consider that a two-year budget is our primary concern and requirement.

Bill Friend gave some information on the bills he filled.  “I have filed several bills that have come from constituent requests.  House Bill 1198 would allow a local governmental unit to apply for lake and river enhancement funds to remove logjams in natural streams.  This bill comes from a local resident who is concerned about flooding caused by logjams in a local natural stream.  I hope this bill receives a fair hearing in the Natural Resources committee.

Another bill is House Bill 1199, dealing with automated traffic control systems.  The bill would allow speed controls and cameras in construction and school zones.  My purpose is to protect school children and construction workers in their transportation and work zones.  I am not seeking to enhance local revenues by ticketing in normal traffic.  My goal is to protect kids on the street and workers on their various projects.  If this technology can enhance the safety of children and highway workers, I believe they are entitled to it.

I have also filed House Bill 1243, a registration fee for electric vehicles.  With the new focus on electric cars and delivery vehicles, it is important that they (the owners) have the opportunity to contribute to the Motor Vehicle Highway (MVH) fund that maintains our highway system.  It simply is not fair for motorists who purchase gasoline/diesel fuel to fund maintenance on our roads while the electric vehicles do not pay a tax on their fuel to contribute to our highway system.  The registration fee will be dedicated to the MVH fund so it will be added to the gas tax being paid.  I recognize that this is early in the process for electric vehicles, but we need to start somewhere just as an issue of fairness.”