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After bills are introduced, the committees schedule public hearings on each bill. The schedule is required to be published seven days before the hearing. I introduced my first bill last week in front of the Judiciary Committee. I have testified on behalf of other bills as a private citizen and podiatrist, but it was exciting to be the introducer of a bill. LB 209, to mandate mediation between public subdivisions before resorting to litigation, was brought on behalf of the City of Omaha. The bill remains in committee.
The budget process is governed and guided by provisions of the Nebraska Constitution, state statutes, and legislative rules. A full biennial (two year) budget is required to be enacted during regular legislative sessions held in odd-numbered years, which is the long, 90-day session.
The Appropriation Committee, which I serve on, spends January and February learning about the financial needs of each state agency. This is done with the help of the Legislative Fiscal Office. Fourteen veteran staff analysts and support staff have been briefing us on the state agencies, boards, and commissions in preparation for their budget requests. Some of the individual agency documents are over 200 pages. The analysts must isolate the key issues in the requests, analyze alternatives, and summarize the material.
Next week I will continue to tell you about the state budget process.