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Week 13 of the 2nd session of the 105th Legislature consisted of legislative days 49 through 52.
We began week thirteen of the legislative session with a sense of urgency, setting the tone for the week by taking action on twenty-six bills before adjourning for the day on Monday. We debated issues such as public power transparency, depositions of alleged child victims of abuse or neglect, school mental health, and others before moving on to a long list of consent calendar bills. Consent calendar refers to bills considered under rules limiting debate to 15 minutes. To qualify for consent calendar a bill must be non-controversial, not have any significant budget impact, and either not have received any opposition testimony during its public hearing or be amended to remove the opponents’ objections.
A bill I introduced this session, LB 766, was one of the bills advanced on consent calendar last week. LB 766 makes a minor but important change to the fence law clarifying that a landowner must give written notice to neighbors prior to beginning work on a fence. The bill also provides more time for neighbors to reach an agreement on how responsibilities and costs for fence work are shared.
One property tax relief bill made it to the floor for debate on Tuesday. Senator Groene’s priority bill to change the funding of school districts in Nebraska would have placed more of the responsibility of paying for public school education onto the state while limiting the total school district fund revenue resulting from property taxes at 60% of total revenues. The bill did not advance, timing out after three hours of debate.
On Wednesday we advanced a bill to increase speed limits on some highways in Nebraska, a bill relating to human trafficking convictions, and more than 20 other bills before moving to further debate of the state’s budget. We reached an agreement to end a filibuster and allow the budget package to move forward in the form of an amendment regarding how Title X funding could be used. Progress had stalled due to objections to including language in the budget bringing the state into compliance with federal Title X regulations. The amendment allows healthcare providers to only refer clients to abortion providers upon a medical determination that continuing a pregnancy would have serious health implications for the mother. The budget advanced by a vote of 44-4.
Last week I filed a pull motion on my priority bill to bring the bill to the floor for debate. LB1069 modernizes current statute relating to school board committees on Americanism, eliminates a potential misdemeanor charge against school board members, requires a civics test for middle and high school students, and that committees on Americanism receive public testimony. Pull motions are a last resort and require twenty-five votes to be successful. Though the bill was halted in committee we successfully executed the pull motion on Thursday with twenty-seven votes. Many constituents have contacted our office as proponents and opponents of the bill and I believe it deserves to be fully debated by the entire legislature.
In constituent news at the Capitol, your District 16 office had the pleasure of hosting fifty-two fourth graders from Fort Calhoun on Tuesday. Thirty-six students from Tekamah-Herman visited on Thursday in addition to Beverly Melchor-Young from Riverside Baptist Church in Tekamah serving as Chaplain of the Day.
We adjourned for a 4-day Easter weekend just after noon on Thursday with only eight days left in the session. Please contact me; my Administrative Aide, Courtney McClellen; my Legislative Aide, Jacob Campbell; or the Agriculture Committee Research Analyst, Rick Leonard, with questions or concerns at (402) 471-2728, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit my office, Room 1022, in the Capitol. If you would like to follow the Legislature online please visit netnebraska.org and click on the “Live & On Demand” button or simply follow this link http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government