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The 107th Legislature, first session is under way. The first day of the session involved mostly administrative matters and the election of leadership positions for the biennium. Our first business item was to elect a new Speaker and Senator Mike Hilgers from District 21 in Lincoln was unanimously elected as Speaker. The remainder of the morning consisted of elections to fill a number of positions and the administering of oaths for new and re-elected Senators and Legislative Officers by Nebraska’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Heavican.
The election of committee chairs also took place during this time. I was elected Chair of the Natural Resources Committee where I have served as vice-chair for the past four years. The Natural Resources Committee is responsible for processing legislation concerning areas such as irrigation, flood control, public power and natural resources districts, the environment, energy, and recreation.
I will remain on the Transportation and Telecommunication Committee. The committee is responsible for processing legislation concerning highways, motor vehicles, railroads, common carriers, and aeronautics. I am pleased to serve on both of these committees as they deal with subject matters that are very important to me and to the constituents of District 23. I look forward to hearing and working on legislation in these areas that benefits the people of Nebraska.
The second day of session involved starting the introduction of new bills, and there are a couple bills I wish to highlight. I introduced LB 86 which requires active drug prescribers and dispensers to register for a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). This is an electronic database that tracks the prescription of controlled substances, such as opioids in Nebraska. When a controlled substance is dispensed, that prescription is entered into the state PDMP. This data can be utilized to monitor prescription trends, and prevent individuals from receiving the same prescription from different pharmacies.
I also a cosponsor of Senator Tom Briese’s LB 4, a bill that would increase the tuition credit for members of the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves at public colleges and universities in Nebraska from 50% to 75%. All of our service members are very important to our state and I am glad to see Senator Briese bring this bill to support our Reservists.
If you are interested in following the legislative process, or want an in-depth look on what is happening in the Legislature, the Unicameral Update Newsletter provides sections and information for every bill heard on the floor of the legislature each day as well as information on each bill heard in committee. This newsletter is a useful tool to gain additional knowledge about the introducer, sponsors, intent and language of the bills proposed and debated. Should you wish to receive a print edition of the newsletter call 402-471-2788 or email email@example.com. The Unicameral Update is also published online at update.legislature.ne.gov.
I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.