January 21, 2011
As I become familiar to procedures and accustomed to working twelve hour legislative days, it is impressed upon me the hard work and dedication of so many of you who also work extended days. I am quickly finding that every bill introduced offers an opportunity to learn about an issue and grant respect to various viewpoints. I look forward to hearing from you about your views on bills before the Legislature. You can watch our Legislature daily online at http://www.netnebraska.org/publicmedia/capitol.html or on television on NET2.
Continuing to expand my knowledge of important policy matters, this week, along with my fellow senators, we studied our funding process for K-12 education. While the state aid formula is based on needs and resources of school districts, there are other components that ultimately determine the state aid dollars received. This is an important issue as we consider budget cuts, and I will continue this learning process to ensure that District 16 schools benefit fairly.
Committee hearings began last week in the Legislature. I experienced my first hearing as a member of the Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, January 18th. We heard testimony in support of Tam Allan’s re-appointment to the State Fair Board, as well as testimony on LB 109 and LB 110, both introduced by Agriculture Committee Chair Senator Carlson. LB 109 eliminates the registration requirement of agricultural liming products to correspond to requirements governing fertilizers and feeds not requiring similar product registration. LB 110 removes the requirement that all soil conditioner products be registered with the Department of Agriculture and requires the manufacturer or product guarantor be included with labeling information provided on or with products distributed commercially. The Ag Committee unanimously recommended Mr. Allan for re-appointment, but did not take any action on LB 109 or 110.
The Government, Military, & Veterans Affairs Committee also met for hearings this week. Among the bills that we heard testimony on were LB 14 and LB 101. Both of these bills have prompted a great deal of e-mail and letter correspondence. County clerks in District 16 expressed support of LB 14, a bill that increases register of deeds fees to provide for modern technology for records documentation. LB 101, introduced by Senator Schilz of Ogallala, eliminates daylight savings time. I have heard a great deal from those in support and opposition to this idea, although there was no testimony in opposition to LB 101 at the public hearing. Both bills remain in committee at this time.
On Thursday, January 20th Chief Justice Heavican of the Nebraska Supreme Court gave his State of the Judiciary address to the Legislature. Chief Justice Heavican focused on the technology advancements in our court system and their efforts to be more efficient, particularly in the face of steep budget challenges. Access to the courts is a right of all citizens. The Chief Justice also highlighted improvements to the state’s guardianship & conservatorship programs, as well as the courts’ work to streamline supervision of juvenile delinquents.
Bill introductions wrapped up on the tenth day of session, January 19th. I will carry five bills this session. This week I introduced LB 368 to prevent political parties from nominating candidates for office if the party did not have a candidate on the primary ballot. This legislation is supported by the Secretary of State. LB 690 is another bill that I brought on behalf of Americans United for Life. This legislation furthers existing parental notification requirements for an abortion by requiring parental consent or consent of a family member or legal guardian. The fifth bill that I introduced this session is LB 691. LB 691 was brought to me by the Soybean Association and will require state agencies to give purchasing preference to biobased products. Biobased products are derived from agriculture products, such as soybeans, corn, and other plants or forestry materials that can build upon our agriculture base in Nebraska.
Please keep in touch with me this session at (402) 471-2728 or email@example.com.
Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,
Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16.