One of the unique components of the Nebraska Legislature is that each and every bill introduced by a senator receives a public hearing. During the long session, which is this year, committee hearings typically last until the middle or end of March. During the period when we hear committee hearings, the legislature only debates bills on General File in the morning, and the committee hearings are conducted in the afternoon. Committee hearings for all bills ended on March 23rd, and on March 28th, the legislature began full day debate on bills.
Some bills are pretty cut and dry and can advance in only a matter of minutes. Bills that are filibustered can be debated for up to six hours on General File before a cloture motion vote is taken. We have a lot of work left to do and we will soon begin our late night schedule which means that a legislative day can last until 11:59pm, though a typical let night ends around 8 or 9pm.
To date, five of my bills passed the legislature and were signed into law by the Governor. Three bills are on Final Reading, one bill is on Select File, and nine bills are on General File. Only a handful are still in committee while we discuss what needs to be improved in order to advance them to General File. Some of these improvements may not happen this year, and we will work with stakeholders over the interim to find what needs to be changed so that the best bill is brought forward that everyone compromises on. I think it is imperative to discuss bills openly with everyone involved to find agreement, and not jam legislation down the throats of those opposed to a bill.
Monday, April 10, marks the 62 day of the 90 day session, and we are a little over two thirds of the way finished with the long session. We still have to discuss the budget and budget gap, property taxes and tax reform, internet sales tax, and many other senator and committee priority bills. I am always interested to hear your opinions on issues that concern you. We may not agree on all bills, but I welcome your feedback so that I can do my best to serve the people that elected me to office.
As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. David and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.