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This column covers legislative days 12 through 16.
Another busy week in the Unicameral Legislature ended along with the month of January this past Friday. After a full week of hearings in the Agriculture, Business and Labor, and Health and Human Services Committees, extensive floor debate and many lunch or evening events, I capped off the week by speaking at the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. Senators receive a tremendous amount of information from a wide range of resources hoping to educate us about important issues. We hear from constituents like you reading this column and other individuals from around the state. We also are invited to events nearly every day of the week facilitated by organizations looking to spread the message of the work they do throughout the state.
This week I or my staff attended informational sessions sponsored by the National Guard Association, Habitat for Humanity, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, Voices for Children, the Nebraska Bankers, Nebraska Cattleman, American Bikers Aiming Towards Education, and the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce. These informational sessions are important functions of our roles as State Senators as we seek to be as informed as possible about how our decisions will affect all of Nebraska. Though I’ve developed specialties in the committees I’m a part of (listed above) I do appreciate learning more about other areas of policy. I especially appreciate hearing directly from constituents in Legislative District 16 when they come to Lincoln on their own, as a part of some of these organizations, or by contacting our office through phone or email.
Two of my bills, LB 312 and LB 381 came up for debate last week. Both bills were carried over after being introduced in the last session. LB 312 would expand opportunities for licensed dental hygienists, specifically in rural areas. We have a shortage of hygienists in rural Nebraska and my hope is this bill will expand access to care throughout the state. The bill was placed on Select File where we will discuss it once more before moving it on to Final Reading.
LB 381 would allow the state to move to a per-diem reimbursement process for state employees. It’s estimated this bill would save the state substantial amounts of time and money by streamlining efficiencies in process and allowing state employees to spend time on more impactful work duties. This bill was placed on Final Reading where it will be voted on one more time before being sent to the Governor for his signature.
We continue to move through bills in committee as efficiently as possible. I encourage you to come testify at a public hearing for any bill you think is of particular interest or importance to you. This 60-day session is going fast and senators have been encouraged to make decisions on choosing a priority bill for the session. I’ve narrowed down my potential choices and hope to make a decision soon.
As always you can contact me at email@example.com or contact the office to speak with my Administrative Assistant, Ellie Stangl, or my Legislative Aide, Jacob Campbell. To read all introduced legislation please visit nebraskalegislature.gov. You may watch the live stream of the session when available at netnebraska.org.