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Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 9th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.
You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.
Sen. John Cavanaugh
The 107th Nebraska Legislature, Second Session adjourned last week. We said farewell to 13 senators who will not be returning next year, and looked back on an eventful and busy session.
I am disappointed in the failure of the Legislature to pass Sen. Steve Lathrop’s LB920, which was an important step in criminal justice reform and addressing the serious overcrowding issues in our state correctional facilities. I will continue to look for ways to address sentencing reform in future sessions.
The Legislature passed LB921, my priority bill, by a 46-0 vote and the Governor signed it into law. LB921 contains two bills: LB952, which I introduced, that requires Medicaid enrollment assistance for inmates prior to their release date. And LB1223, from Sen. Matt Hansen, which provides for reimbursement to counties for defendants awaiting a determination of competency. Both bills are small but important changes to improve outcomes in our criminal justice system.
The Legislature also passed, as part of the election bill LB843, my bill LB733 which prohibits foreign nationals from making a contribution to a ballot question committee. This change in state law was necessary because of a Federal Election Commission ruling which stated that foreign nationals could spend on ballot measure campaigns without violating federal law.
We dealt with a lot of big issues this session, from funding for ARPA, which thanks to the efforts of Sen. Wayne and Sen. McKinney saw a historic investment in North and South Omaha, to a massive tax package which to my disappointment disproportionately directed relief to the wealthy and corporations. We rejected a total ban on abortion, and a permitless concealed carry law.
With at least 13 new senators next year, over a quarter of the body will be replaced when we reconvene in January. Over the interim I will work on issues and legislation in preparation to introduce in 2023, and I look forward to meeting my new colleagues after they are elected in November.
I introduced six interim studies:
LR393, to examine the committee hearing procedures of the Legislature.
LR394, to examine potential changes to Nebraska’s net metering policy.
LR395, to examine Nebraska’s statutory mechanisms for postconviction relief.
LR396, to examine the funding needs of the Commission on Public Advocacy.
LR423, to examine the current practices of court appointment of attorneys.
and LR424, to research the topic of home equity theft.
These and other issues will be my focus during the interim and leading up to next session. As always, you can reach my office by calling (402) 471-2723 or emailing email@example.com.
Bill introductions continued this week, as floor debate began on a number of early Senator priority bills.
I introduced one more bill, LB1026, the Unlawful Restrictive Covenant Modification Act. It allows for the removal of unlawful and discriminatory restrictive covenants from deeds upon request with the county Register of Deeds. The county may charge a fee of no more than $10 to fulfill the request. Sen. Terrell McKinney, Sen. Megan Hunt, and Sen. Justin Wayne joined me as cosponsors.
I also joined Sen. McKinney as a cosponsor of Sen. Wayne’s LB999 which requires the Department of Transportation to seek federal infrastructure funding under the RAISE Act and the Reconnecting Communities pilot program for a new bridge.
The Legislature began floor debate this week on a number of bills. Debate will continue next week in the mornings, while afternoons will be devoted to committee hearings on introduced bills. Six of my bills are scheduled for hearings next week, and three more have been scheduled for the following Monday.
Wednesday, January 19: Judiciary Committee (Room 1113) at 1:30 PM.
LB732: Prohibit the use of deception in questioning juveniles.
LB810: Improve reporting requirements for juvenile room confinement.
LB879: Allow for an answer of “no contest” in juvenile proceedings.
Thursday, January 20: Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee (Room 1507) at 1:30 PM.
LB733: Prohibit foreign nationals from contributing to ballot question committees.
LB734: Cap contributions to candidate committees at $5,000.
Friday, January 21: Judiciary Committee (Room 1113) at 1:30 PM.
LB953: Provide a liability limitation for properly permitted land management burns.
Monday, January 24: Transportation and Telecommunications Committee (Room 1113) at 1:30 PM.
LB731: Provide notice and compliance requirements under the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act
LB934: Make certain license plate and decal violations secondary offenses and change penalties.
The Legislature is in recess today and will be off for Martin Luther King Day on Monday. We will reconvene on Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Monday was Day 4 of the 107th Nebraska Legislature, Second Session. I introduced five bills yesterday.
LB923 would provide for digital on-premises tickets for Keno games. Sen. Carol Blood and Sen. Steve Lathrop joined me as cosponsors on this bill.
LB934 would make driving with expired plates a secondary offense punishable by a fine.
LB951 would increase the state earned income tax credit.
LB952 would provide Medicaid enrollment assistance for inmates prior to release to assist in reentry.
and LB953 would provide for a liability exemption for land management burns conducted with a proper permit. Sen. Dan Hughes and Sen. Tim Gragert joined me as cosponsors.
I also cosponsored two other bills introduced on Monday.
LB925, introduced by Sen. Tim Gragert, adopts the Resilient Soils and Water Quality Act.
LB929, introduced by Sen. Anna Wishart, requires submission of a state plan amendment to extend postpartum coverage under Medicaid. I am one of 23 cosponsors of this bill.
The first week of the new legislative session is behind us. Floor debate begins next week on a number of bills, and bill introduction continues.
Thursday and Friday, I introduced three new bills.
LB810 improves reporting requirements of juvenile room confinement.
LB878 provides for automatic bail review after 14 days for misdemeanor and city or village ordinance violations. Sen. Terrell McKinney joined me as a cosponsor of this bill.
LB879 provides for an answer of no contest in juvenile proceedings.
I also joined as a cosponsor on three bills, introduced by Sen. McKinney:
LB880 prohibits a jail or correctional facility commissary from selling goods at a markup of more than ten percent.
LB882 requires preservation of certain disciplinary records of law enforcement and the maintenance of Brady and Giglio lists.
LB883 requires confidentiality of minors tried as adults and informs juveniles of their rights in an interrogation.
The Legislature will return on Monday for Day 4.
The 107th Nebraska Legislature, 2nd Session convened yesterday. I introduced four bills yesterday:
LB731 allows political subdivisions to require reasonable notice to adjacent property owners or residents prior to installation of a small wireless facility, and requires certification that the installation or modification of a utility pole complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Sen. Megan Hunt joined me as a cosponsor of this bill.
LB732 prohibits deception in questioning of juveniles by police. Sen. Terrell McKinney joined me as a cosponsor of this bill.
LB733 prohibits contributions to ballot question campaigns by foreign nationals. A recent FEC ruling stated that such contributions are not prohibited by federal law.
LB734 caps contributions to candidate committees at $5,000 annually. Currently, there is no maximum allowable contribution to a candidate for state or local office in Nebraska.
I also joined as a cosponsor on three other bills introduced yesterday.
LB745, introduced by Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, provides for gender neutral marriage licenses.
LB766, introduced by Sen. Mark Kolterman, provides for funding of pancreatic cancer research.
LB782, introduced by Sen. Tony Vargas, increases funding to the Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative.
Bill introduction continues today through the first 10 legislative days of this session. The 10th day is currently scheduled for January 20.
The 107th Nebraska Legislature, 2nd Session convenes tomorrow, January 5. I am looking forward to getting back to work for District 9 and the people of Nebraska, and seeing my colleagues again on the floor of the Legislature. We will undoubtedly have a lot to discuss in this short 60-day session. Bill introductions will begin tomorrow and run through the first ten legislative days. My staff and I have been hard at work preparing bills for introduction in the coming days. Stay tuned to this space for more information when bills are introduced.
Today the Nebraska Legislature officially finished redistricting.
I appreciate all of the engagement from Nebraskans on these maps. I know many people feel their voices were not heard because we are not happy with the final result. I want you to know that your voice did make a difference. Without the engagement of all of you who spoke up, the maps as originally introduced may have been the final maps. Your voice prevented Omaha from being split between two Congressional districts, and got us a fair legislative map for Douglas and Sarpy County. Like you, I am not satisfied with the outcome but I recognize that it could have been much worse.
That said, I did vote against many of the maps and I want to explain my reasons. I voted for the Board of Regents Maps and the Judiciary Maps, but against the Public Service Commission, Board of Education, Legislative, and Congressional maps.
I voted yes on both Board of Regents and Judiciary because they met the standard of fair and impartial and the population deviations are within a reasonable range.
I voted no on the Public Service Commission (PSC) map because the population deviation in the eastern Douglas County district as well as the district including all of Lancaster County was unnecessarily high. I articulated my opposition on the floor when this map was first brought to the floor. I believe it was possible to draw a PSC map that had less deviation and therefore should have been done.
I voted no on the State Board of Education Map because for the first time it is not the same map as the Board of regents map, which has the same number of districts. I believe this change is clearly a political response to the State Board of Education considering comprehensive sexual education standards this year.
I voted no on the Legislative maps because I had agreed to a map in principle on Friday September 24th with the promise that there would be only minor technical changes going forward. This clearly did not happen when an amendment which made significant changes to the Lancaster County map, was proposed for second round debate. The amendment, which my fellow senators and I received with little notice prior to debate on Tuesday, was not the map that I had agreed to and voted for the preceding Friday. While I consider these final maps better than the original maps proposed in LB3, the final map was not as fair nor as clean as the map passed on the first round on Friday.
I voted no on the congressional map because the 2nd congressional district was drawn purely for partisan purposes to protect the incumbent’s chances of reelection by reaching out of the historic territory of the 2nd congressional district to add more republicans to the district. A logical nonpartisan map would have decreased the size of the district by subtraction. This partisan method of subtracting more than needed so they could add back more republicans is unacceptably partisan and should not be used. This is one of the major reasons I support a nonpartisan redistricting commission.
As I said on the floor today, those who have power should not mistake that power for strength or courage. Just because you can impose your will on others does not mean that it is right or just to do so. I am encouraged by all of those individuals who spoke out and continue to speak out to contribute to the cause of fairness and justice. That takes real strength and courage. Whether it is fighting for fair representation or a more transparent process, demanding a better criminal justice system, or standing up for maternal health in the workplace and in the halls of power, keep using your voice to stand against the powerful.
On Friday, the Legislature advanced new boundaries for Congressional and Legislative Districts, along with boundaries for State Board of Education and Board of Regents.
Under the compromise in AM37 to LB3, District 9 remains a Midtown Omaha district. LD9 loses the Elmwood neighborhood west of UNO to District 6, but Field Club, Gifford Park, and Joslyn Castle remain in District 9. Creighton University west of 24th Street rejoins LD9, as does all of UNMC. You can view a map of the proposed LD9 boundaries here.
Select File debate on the redistricting plans is expected for Tuesday.
LB320, my priority bill which was signed into law in May, took effect on Saturday, August 28.
This law contains many small but important changes to protect renters and clarify rights in the landlord-tenant relationship.
Thank you to all who advocated for the passage of LB320, my cosponsors and my colleagues who supported the bill.