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The legislature has less than 15 days remaining of this short 60-day session, and we continue debating bills late into the evening most days of the week. The focus for the remainder of session will continue to be priority legislation and passage of the budget bills, including federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
Most of last week was spent debating the mid-biennium budget proposals. Three budget bills, LB’s 1011, 1012, and 1013 passed the first round of debate. The budget includes a number of different items, including money for the Nebraska Capital Construction fund, and money to the Military Base Development fund, money which had previously been set aside for the construction of the U.S. Space Command Headquarters had Nebraska been chosen as the location for the headquarters.
One of my bills, LB1074 was also included in the budget. This bill creates the surface water irrigation cash fund to be administered by the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources. Over the interim, we surveyed Nebraska’s irrigation districts to determine the condition, cost, and status of surface water projects and infrastructure in the state. The findings from this survey showed that many irrigation districts in central and western Nebraska have aging and deterioration problems with some of their critical infrastructure. This fund ensures our state’s farmers have continued access to essential water.
Speaker Hilgers scheduled debate on Senator Briese’s bill, LB283, first thing on the agenda last Monday morning after we set our clocks forward and resumed daylight savings time. LB283 would implement year-round daylight savings time in Nebraska, provided two conditions are met: First, at least three neighboring states must pass similar legislation, and second, federal law must change to allow states the ability to enact this change. LB283 passed the first round of debate and was advanced to Select File.
Soon after, the United States Senate passed legislation that would make daylight savings time permanent beginning in 2023. Proponents of permanent daylight savings time argue having sunlight later into the evening can boost the economy and can reduce seasonal depression. In the coming days and weeks, we will see what happens with this proposal.
I would like to thank the 4th grade class from St. Wenceslaus Elementary School in Wahoo that I had the pleasure of meeting with and talking to last week. These students asked some great questions, and had an opportunity to tour the Capitol, listened to floor debate from the balcony, and learn about the three branches of government and the history of the Nebraska Legislature.
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.
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