Among the new bills introduced in the legislature this week is a cap on the motor fuel tax (HB399). The flat tax rate on a gallon of gas is 17.5 cents. The variable wholesale rate is 3.5 cents per gallon or 7 percent of the average whosesale price, which slides upward with that price. The new measure would cap that variable price at 15 cents per gallon. The primary sponsors are Republican Representatives Pat McElraft, Ric Killian, Mike Hager and Mike Stone.
Democratic Representative Michael Wray and Republican Mark Hilton introduced HB390 which would eliminate the need for a permit to buy a pistol, just as you don’t need a permit to buy a rifle. Because a crossbow has a trigger you also need a permit to buy one. This bill would also eliminate the need for that.
If you go crossbow hunting on your motorcycle you may soon be able to leave one piece of equipment home, your helmet. A helmet is mandatory for everyone on a motorcycle or moped, but HB392 would drop that requirement for anyone 18 and older. So then it would just be required for those under 18. The primary sponsors are Republicans Kelly Hastings, Tim Moore and Darrell McCormick.
There would be more money available for school construction under SB362. Republican Senators Jerry Tillman and Tommy Tucker want to increase the amount of lottery proceeds that could used for building schools. The bill would take funds from reducing class size to increase the amount for capital needs. Currently five percent of net lottery revenue is put in a reserve fund, 50 percent is earmarked for class size reduction and 40 percent is used for construction. The proposal would increase the construction funds to 90 percent.
Republican Representative Pat Hurley introduced HB394, which would allow state employees to volunteer for shorter hours to save money. It says state agencies could authorize flexible work schedules for employees. The departments could okay30 hour work weeks or even fewer hours. Of course, that employee’s pay would be reduced accordingly.
Then there is HB396 offered by Republican Representatives Harold Brubaker, Julia Howard, Danny McComas and Pat Hurley. It would require those applying for a drivers license to be able to speak and write English. The tile of the bill indicates then the state wouldn’t have to print more tests or handbooks, thereby saving money.