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Greetings from the Legislature and Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and blessed holiday season, and is having a great start to the New Year. At the time of this publication, the 107th Nebraska Legislature has convened for the 2021 session. This session is a long, 90 day session and includes eight new senators, three of which have previously served in the Legislature.
The first day of session involved the election of a new speaker and elections for committee chairmanships. As always, the beginning of the session also involves the introduction of bills, as all new bills must be introduced in the first 10 days of session. I have several pieces of legislation I have been working on, and look forward to sharing more information about them in the coming weeks.
This year, the COVID-19 situation will continue to be an important factor in how the legislature handles its proceedings. There are a number of safety precautions put in place last session that will continue into this session. Plexiglass dividers between Senator’s desks will remain in place, and lobbyists and members of the public will not be permitted in the balconies above the legislative chamber. All Senators and staff entering the chamber will also be required to have their temperature checked prior to entry.
As we have seen, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is fast-moving, so these procedures may change as the session progresses, depending on the circumstances. A safe environment for the Legislature to conduct its business remains a top priority.
The State of Nebraska moved from the “yellow” to the “blue” phase of its COVID-19 response plan. There are some new directed health measures (DHM’s) that took effect December 24th: Maximum capacity for indoor gatherings has been increased from 50% to 75%. Groups of eight or more people at bars, restaurants, and other venues can now be seated together, and seating for eight or less is now guidance instead of being mandatory. The requirement for people to remain seated unless ordering food, using the restroom, or playing games at bars or restaurants has also been changed to guidance. Elective surgeries can also continue unrestricted.
More information on the new DHM’s can be found by going to dhhs.ne.gov/coronavirus and clicking on the link for “Directed Health Measures.”
I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or email@example.com.