This will be my last weekly update for the session, as Speaker Scheer announced that the legislature finished its business earlier than expected and we adjourned sine die on Tuesday, May 23rd, the 86th day of the session. It is not uncommon to adjourn a few days early. Officially, the only job of the legislature is to pass a budget. Now we will wait a few months and watch the tax receipts to see if the budget projections are correct. If they are not, there could be a possibility of returning this fall for a special session to deal with any budget shortfalls that could occur.
I want to thank everyone that called, emailed, wrote, or visited my office this year. I can never stress enough how valuable it is to me to listen to the views and opinions of those I represent. We may not agree on every issue, but hearing from you is valuable insight on what issues effect you the most. Having open and constructive conversations with those you disagree is something that I think helps make me best represent those I serve.
I had a productive session and am pleased with what the legislature accomplished, but I always feel like we could have done more. We faced many challenges this year, especially with the budget shortfall due to the ailing agricultural industry.
I would like to have seen a comprehensive tax reform package passed, or at the very least, property tax reduction. It is my hope that the governor can work with the revenue committee to find a solution to relieve some of the tax burden for hard working Nebraska families.
For my personal bills, the legislature passed nine bills that I introduced, including LB323, a bill that is very personal to me since it helps advocate for the use of palliative care, which is a service that is important to people such as my wife who is battling a terminal illness. I am also pleased that we passed LB18, a dental hygienist bill that has been in the works for close to ten years, and LB92, my personal priority bill, a bill that extends insurance coverage for the use of telehealth in the state. During the interim, the Health and Human Service Committee will be taking a closer look and examining the use of telehealth in the state through a legislative resolution that I introduced, LR178.
The legislature passed ten of my retirement bills this year. Eight of those ten bills were included in LB415, a bill which I have commented in this column extensively about for the past couple weeks. I introduced a few interim resolutions that will deal with retirement issues, including retired substitute teachers.
Besides interim studies, there is plenty to do this summer and fall before we reconvene next January. Now that session is over, I look forward to having more time to spend in the community and seeing you all at county fairs, church, town halls, BBQs, and the Seward Fourth of July!
Even though we are not in session, my staff is available to 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.