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Weekly Legislative Update
Happy belated Mother’s Day and congratulations to our graduates! Spring is finally here, and planting is in full swing around District 16. In Lincoln this week, the Unicameral’s budget debate extended our hours even later than usual—debate continued past 11:00pm one of the nights! Debate on the budget has been lengthier than the recent past because of debate over how the legislature should handle increases in revenues. During debate, I spoke about the importance of remembering that the money in our state’s budget belongs to the people, and that whenever possible that money should be returned to the people when our revenues exceed expenses. During the debate, I supported an amendment to provide additional property tax relief, but unfortunately the amendment failed to pass.
On Monday, a Legislative Recess day, our office completed the final of our three legislative listening days with visits to West Point, Beemer and Wisner in Cuming County. Other recess day listening meetings were previously held in Washington and Burt Counties. It is important for our office to hear your thoughts and feedback on legislation first hand all year, but especially during these remaining fifteen days of session. Thank you to everyone who attended these meetings and to the hosts. A variety of views were expressed on pending legislation from education, property taxes, roads, wind energy and expanded Medicaid funding. It is important for our Unicameral to listen to the people of our state that we serve because they are our second house. If you can not come to the Capitol during our session, then we want to come to you.
This past Tuesday, Day 72 of our first session of the 103rd Legislature, our daily agenda began with general file debate on LB 553e, which provides for a change in the actuarial valuation of retirement systems and school employee retirement provisions. The legislature has seen extended debate over retirement plans for public servants as the Unicameral seeks solutions to pension shortfalls that are both fiscally responsible and fair to employees who have contributed to these plans for decades. The agendas for our subsequent work days on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday saw little change as the budget debate consumed most of our time.
On Wednesday, Bill Orr, Nebraska’s only “First Gentleman,” was laid to rest. The funeral service seemed very similar to our Unicameral where family and friends filled the church with people of differing political parties who sat side-by-side remembering and celebrating this man who has become a part of our state’s unique history. Rest in peace, Bill Orr, and our condolences to his family. Nebraskans will miss and remember him well.
This week, our office welcomed 4th grade students from Tekamah-Herman Elementary. These forty-two students asked great questions and filled the halls with their energy and excitement. It is always a joy to see our District 16 students in Lincoln. As always, please to contact me or my administrative aide, David Slattery, or legislative aide, Taylor Gage, at (402) 471-2728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,
Senator Lydia Brasch