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Greetings! I hope you and your family enjoyed the holiday season and I pray you have stayed healthy during this deadly pandemic.
The 107th Legislative Session kicked off on Wednesday, January 6. This year we will conduct a 90-day session, also known as the long session, with the expected adjournment date in early June. There are notable changes to the makeup of the legislative body. We welcome back Senator Ray Aguilar, Senator Mike Flood and Senator Rich Pahls, who previously served in this body, and welcome five new freshmen senators to the body.
This year, Senator Mike Hilgers of Lincoln was elected by unanimous consent as Speaker of the Legislature. Senator Dan Hughes of Venango replaces Senator Hilgers as Chair of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council. The first contested leadership race was that of Vice Chair of the Executive Board.
In a close vote, Senator Tony Vargas of Omaha defeated Senator Julie Slama of Peru on a vote of 26 to 23 to retain the position. Senator Ben Hansen of Blair defeated Senator Matt Hansen of Lincoln to become the next Chair of the Business and Labor Committee on a vote of 26-23. Senator Lynne Walz of Fremont defeated Senator Mike Groene of North Platte to be the next Chair of the Education Committee in the closest contested race of the day. On the first round of votes, Senator Walz and Senator Groene were tied with 24 votes each. On the second round of votes, Senator Walz triumphed with 25 votes to 23 votes. The last contested race was that of the Natural Resources Chair, which Senator Bruce Bostelman of Brainard defeated Senator Tim Gragert of Creighton on a vote of 33-14.
I was unanimously re-elected as chairman of the Retirement Committee. During this upcoming session, I intend for the Retirement Committee to continue its work in protecting our state retirement plans assets, responsibly managing taxpayer dollars via the State’s contribution to the plans to provide economic security to our retirees.
In addition to serving as Chair of the Retirement Systems Committee, I have been selected by my colleagues to serve on the Appropriations committee. I will also serve on the Committee on Committees which is a committee that assigns senators to committees.
As you may know, the first ten days of session is the only time Senators are allowed to introduce legislation. Given that each Senator has their own priorities, bills are introduced on a multitude of issues, but based upon bills that have already been introduced, I believe the major issues facing this legislative session relate to the COVID pandemic, corrections reform, additional measures for property tax reform, school spending, and law enforcement reform.
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. Tyler 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.