Senator Phil Nicholas has decided to remove himself from sponsoring a funding request for the Laramie Aquifer leaving Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss to oversee that effort. Nicholas was accused of having a conflict of interest in brokering a land deal for his client, former legislator Doug Samuelson. The proposal was to have the state buy Samuelson’s land and turn it into a state park. Laramie citizens then could have access to the property and it would prevent development from occurring above the Laramie aquifer.
However some thought Nicholas was unfairly using his position as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to pay for the sale. Today Nicholas apologized for the distraction on the Senate floor and says the issue will be removed from the budget.
“Frankly I think it was a distraction that didn’t belong in the committee,” said Nicholas. “We’ll be writing another bill to carry that and it will be championed by Senator Rothfuss.”
Nicholas still maintains that he did not have a conflict of interest. Rothfuss plans to attempt introduction of the bill later this week.