The Unicameral’s 104th Legislature, First Session, is officially over. We adjourned Sine Die (which is Latin for ‘without a day’) on Friday, May 29, Day 89, one day earlier than anticipated during a “long session”. The remaining bills left to debate would have required more time than that single day allowed. Also, early adjournment saves the State over $10,000.
Overall, despite many controversies encountered this session, many bills passed. 664 total bills were introduced. Of those, 272 passed into law. Of the bills introduced, 107 were designated as priority bills which means they are generally considered ahead of other bills in debate. 80 priority bills were passed into law. The Speaker promised to carryover 5 priority bills to next year as they did not receive debate this session. The remaining 22 priority bills either received a veto, were unsuccessful through the debate process, or were not advanced out of their respective committees.
Two other points are worth noting. First, on Wednesday, the death penalty was debated on a motion to override the Governor’s veto. The debate was nothing short of historic.
Again, I stood in staunch support of the death penalty. I opposed Senator Chambers’ bill to repeal the death penalty throughout the legislative process. In addition, I stood in strong support of the Governor’s veto. Ultimately, the death penalty was repealed by the minimum amount of votes necessary to override a Governor’s veto, 30 votes in favor and 19 votes opposed, and Senator Chambers witnessed the fruit of 40 years of legislative effort to repeal the death penalty.
While the Legislature repealed the death penalty, despite an overwhelming majority of support in our district and state to maintain the death penalty, there is much conversation to begin petition drives and referendums to put this issue to the vote of the people in the next election. I strongly encourage you to engage in the political process and have your voice heard.
Additionally, the Governor’s veto on LB623 received a legislative override. LB623 offers drivers licenses to DACA youth. DACA youth are young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children by their parents. While I certainly have compassion for these young people who are illegal immigrants, as they are in the difficult predicament of being brought to the United States illegally by their parents, I was committed throughout debate to not undermine or overlook our legal process of immigration. Ultimately, the bill was passed into law, which took effect immediately, with 34 in favor, 10 against, 2 present not voting, and 3 excused not voting.
Thank you all for reading this weekly update throughout session to remain informed on the business of the Legislature. Over the next two weeks I will discuss some of the legislation I worked to pass, summarize other key legislation discussed throughout session, and highlight some of my major upcoming legislative activities.
As always, please contact me, administrative aide, Katie Wattermann, or legislative aide, Tom Venzor, with questions or thoughts at (402) 471-2728 or e-mail at email@example.com. At this point in time the majority of my work is in our district, where I typically travel to Lincoln once a week. Katie and Tom remain in Lincoln full time and continue working hard to address constituent services as needed, while preparing research and legislation for next year’s session beginning January 2016.
Keeping the Good Life Growing in Nebraska,
Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16