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The first session of the 105th legislature has come to an end after many long and heated hours of deliberation in which competing ideas and values eventually coalesced into a single vision.
Many battles were won and many were lost to decide what that vision would be, and in the end no one left with everything they wanted.
Though many important reforms remain unaccomplished, our most important obligation was achieved. The Legislature faithfully executed its duty to forward a balanced budget to Governor Ricketts, and did so without raising taxes.
But while forwarding a budget was absolutely essential, there were many important areas where the legislature failed this session.
I fought hard to end taxation of our senior’s Social Security benefits (LB453), change the burden of proof in dealing with the Tax and Equalization Review Commission in property tax appeals (LB385), and to push through reforms to protect our state’s children when a parent leaves them vulnerable to sexual predators (LB60), but these bills did not get passed. During the interim, my office and I will continue to work to make these bills the best they can be for all involved and revisit them in January.
My office did score some major successes though. With the help of the Banking Commerce and Insurance Committee clerk and legal counsel, Janice Foster and William Marineau, our office successfully completed the herculean labor of modernizing the Nebraska Banking Act (LB140) and Securities Act (LB148) for the first time since the 1960’s.
This is just an abbreviated version of the work I’ve done for District 18 this session, but I wanted to make sure that I keep people informed. As meetings and appointments throughout the interim start happening, I will provide updates of the work we are doing.
Whatever victories and defeats I face in my determination to lower taxes, fight for limited government and faithfully represent the concerns of Districts 18, my commitment to service and the honor I humbly feel in doing so remains unchanged.
Thank you for reaching out to my office this session with your thoughts and concerns. Please continue to contact my office with ideas and suggestions for ways to move Nebraska forward during the interim.
From abolishing the social security tax and protecting children, to protecting our veteran’s benefits and tackling a $900 million budget shortfall there has been plenty to keep the legislature on its toes this week in committees but we’re still just getting started.
Tuesday evening, my fellow Senators on the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee and I were here past 8 pm to conduct a hearing regarding retirement for our police and firemen. The next night, my colleagues and I on the Revenue Committee were here just as late to hear bills presented on tax reform for the state, and I know other committees are here past dark on a daily basis. I can tell you that we are listening to you and are committed to putting in long hours to best serve you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if you need information or have a concern.
January is coming to a close and with it comes the close of the first month of the 105th legislative session. While the body has not been without controversy during this time the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee has been working hard and to advance eight bills to general file.
Bills advanced to general file:
Four of the bills I introduced have gone through the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee and have advanced to General File as listed above (138, 184, 185 and 186.) We’ve also begun work on passing LB 388 to update Nebraska’s notary law and make us national leaders in this area.
This bill would allow remote notarization in which a document can be notarized online while connected to a notary via face-time technology. Virginia and Montana are currently the only states which use remote notary and we will continue to work for Nebraska to join this group on the cutting edge of notary technology.
As always serving the citizens of Nebraska, and especially those of District 18, remains the sole focus of my days spent here in the Capitol. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.
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