Weekly Legislative Update
The Unicameral took up an array of issues this week during floor debate and public hearings. Senators debated LB125 from Senator Scott Lautenbuagh of Omaha. This legislation reduces the number of seats on in the Omaha Public Schools Board from its current size of twelve down to nine seats.
Most notably, the Unicameral advanced LB21, a bill that renews the ability of first responders to receive worker’s compensation benefits for mental injuries. Michael Dwyer of Arlington, a member of our volunteer fire department for 29 years, was able to testify in support of this legislation last week. In his testimony he said, “So many of our calls are with and for friends and family and that makes the recovery from a critical incident so much more difficult. Given the dangerous shortage of volunteer responders in Nebraska – it makes that recovery that much more important.” I am proud to support this important legislation to protect those first responders that put their lives and health at risk for our communities.
This week in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, we had the honor of holding hearings for Governor Heineman’s appointments to the Motor Vehicle Licensing Board, including the appointment of Jeff Scherer of Beemer from our district. Our committee also took up LB207 from Senator Beau McCoy of Omaha that allows the Department of Motor vehicles to take over the issuance of vehicle registration renewal notices from county treasurers. The committee advanced the legislation 8-0 because it would help avoid increasing costs to the DMV and counties.
For the first time, I had the privilege of chairing the Natural Resources Committee this week while our chair, Senator Carlson, represented our committee to the Appropriations Committee. Typically, when a committee chair visits another committee to introduce a bill, the vice chair serves as a temporary chairman. Our committee heard several bills this week, including a committee bill to protect our public power system. LB388 gives public power entities in Nebraska the right of first refusal to construct, own, and maintain an approved transmission line. Nebraska’s not-for-profit public power system is the only one of its kind in the nation, and serves the people of our state well by keeping electric rates low.
This week, the Revenue Committee will hear LB405 and LB406, Governor Heineman’s tax reform proposals. I have heard from many constituents over the last couple weeks who would be impacted by this legislation. Additionally, two of my own bills, LB499 and LB325 will be heard in the next 10 days. I would encourage you to continue to provide me with your feedback, and as always, you are invited to testify at the public hearings on this legislation. Please contact my office if you need additional information.
I have two upcoming hearings: I continue to receive e-mails and phone calls from you on other bills before the Legislature, and I do appreciate having your perspective and views. I can be reached at email@example.com or(402) 471-2728.
Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,
Senator Lydia Brasch