NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Sen. Suzanne Geist

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at sgeist@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 8th, 2020

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 25th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Suzanne Geist

The 2nd session of the 106th Legislature came to an end yesterday. It was not an easy session, but I am happy to inform you that my priority bill, LB814, passed on final reading yesterday. 33 senators agreed that the barbaric practice of tearing a live baby apart limb by limb needed to end. Thank you to all of the senators that helped me pass this bill.

We also debated and passed LB1107 which contained a compromise of many different bills that includes: property tax relief, retaining jobs in Nebraska, providing job training and included parts of the ImagiNE Nebraska Act. Although it’s not all of what any of us wanted, it is a step forward. Many of my constituents and Nebraskans have contacted me about this bill asking us to provide property tax relief and to ensure that we keep Nebraska competitive while attracting businesses to our State.

Lastly, my bill, LB975, was amended into LB1148 and was signed by the Governor into law on August 6th. LB975 brought the state of Nebraska into compliance with federal regulations regarding Child Protective Services/Adult Protective Services. Nebraska risked losing over $500,000 in Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act funding each fiscal year until we amended our statutes. I brought this bill on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Thank you for staying caught up with me during this most unusual session. I wish you all Godspeed and all the best as we enter the Fall season.

The Legislature has debated many important issues this past week.

On Wednesday morning, the Legislature debated the last three hours of my priority bill, LB814, which would end the barbaric practice of ripping a live baby apart limb by limb. During the first part of the debate, other senators had stood up for a point of personal privilege and asked to suspend the rules to try to debate the property tax relief bill instead of my priority bill. It was a little chaotic because senators were not sure how to get their name on the list to speak about my bill and not suspending the rules. Due to all of the chaos, we were not able to get to a compromise amendment that I had worked so hard on with a couple other senators. Thankfully, we were able to vote on cloture which would bring my bill to a vote shortly after the noon hour. I needed 33 votes for cloture and 34 senators voted for the cloture motion. My priority bill will be debated next week on select file.

We debated the property tax relief bill on Wednesday after noon and after many hours of debate the bill passed the first round of debate. We will be debating the bill on the second round of debate next week.

Yesterday, the Governor signed the budget bill without any line item vetos. I’m excited to say my bill, LB1017, to create a pilot program specialty court for mental health courts was included in the budget bill and was signed into law.

The Legislature was officially called back into session on Monday after the Speaker paused the Legislature on March 25th.

On Tuesday evening, we debated my motion to pull my priority bill out of the Judiciary Committee so that the whole Legislature could debate the bill. I would like to share with you a little about my priority bill and why I filed a pull motion.

LB814 is a bill that would ban the practice of pulling apart a living human being in the womb (weeks 12-24 of pregnancy) limb by limb, until it bleeds to death and is removed from the womb piece by piece. This is often referred to as a dismemberment abortion. At the stage of development when this procedure is performed, a preborn baby has a beating heart, fully developed arms and legs, and can swallow, yawn, hiccup, and smile.

Though not very common in Nebraska, this is the most common method of second trimester abortion in the country. However, in Nebraska in 2019, there were 6 dismemberment abortions performed in Nebraska out of 181 second trimester abortions.

Unfortunately, despite compelling testimony and broad support from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the Judiciary committee was at an impasse. There were not enough votes to send the bill to the floor or enough votes to kill the bill. After discussion with the committee chairman, Senator Steve Lathrop, I decided to file a Pull Motion. A Pull Motion requires 25 votes, and if successfully passed would allow the bill to be debated on the floor of the Legislature. Out of respect to the chairman and the committee process, I informed Senator Lathrop of my motion. Pull Motions are not very common, and should not be common. But this was the perfect instance for me to use a pull motion.

The debate on the pull motion went on for over 2 hours and at the end of the debate, my pull motion passed with 30 votes in favor of debating my bill on the floor. Hopefully, we will be able to debate my bill on the floor early next week.

On a less positive note, some of my colleagues have not been very collegial this week. There were many accusations and insinuations that were not true and very disrespectful. We have been debating some contentious issues, but we all must continue to treat each other with respect. Speaker Scheer adjourned early today so that we could all go home and take time with our families. Hopefully, we can come back next week rested and ready to treat each other with the respect that each one of us deserves.

We continued to debate Senator, Committee and Speaker priority bills this week.

I would like to share an update with you on my priority bill, LB814 which would ban the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortions during the second trimester. On Wednesday, I filed a motion to pull my bill out of the Judiciary Committee so that we could discuss it on the floor. A pull motion is a way for a Senator to request that the Legislature decide a bill that is stuck at an impasse in Committee will be debated by the Legislature.

I respect the Judiciary Committee and did not want to have to file a pull motion. After talking with the committee chair, I learned that the committee was at an impasse and they did not have the votes needed to pass my bill out of committee and they did not have the votes to kill my bill in committee. LB814 is my priority bill and I would like to see the Legislature discuss it on the floor. I also believe the citizens of Nebraska deserve to hear the details of my bill. I will need 25 votes to pass the pull motion and I will continue to keep you updated on the progress of LB814.

My bill, LB1017 which appropriates funds to the Supreme Court to create a pilot program for a mental health court was added to this year’s budget. We debated the budget yesterday for many hours and I am happy to say that the budget passed the first round of debate with my bill included in it.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

We continued to debate Senator, Committee and Speaker priority bills this week. There were quite a few filibusters again this week, but we passed a few bills that I strongly support.

Yesterday, my bill LB944 which makes changes to the provisions relating to motor vehicles was passed on Select File. The Transportation and Telecommunications committee had chosen my bill as the committee priority bill. Now that it was passed on select file, it will move to final reading before it is sent to the Governor for his approval.

On Thursday, we discussed Senator Albrecht’s priority bill. LB1186 requires salary to be paid to injured school employees as prescribed. The bill will allow schools to provide injury leave to employees if they are physically injured and have to miss school. Currently, a teacher or employee is required to use vacation time to see a doctor if they are assaulted during the school day. The injury leave will cover the gap between when an employee was assaulted and when worker’s compensation benefits starts.

We debated Senator Bostelman’s bill, LB832 on Wednesday. LB832 will provide immunity from civil liability for entering a vehicle to remove a child. This bill was a Speaker priority bill.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

This week is officially the half way point of session and it was the last week of Committee hearings. This is the point in session when we start debating Senator, Committee and Speaker priority bills. We start all day debate on Tuesday.

The week was filled with many filibusters. We debated LB963 introduced by Senator Brewer to change provisions relating to workers’ compensation for injuries to first responders and frontline state employees. Senator McDonnell prioritized this bill and we debated it on February 26th. First responders have a very hard and difficult job. I am grateful for each and every first responder and I was happy to vote in support of LB963 to help provide an option for first responders who are needing and asking for mental health treatment.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

Legislative Update: February 22
February 22nd, 2020

This week, Senators and Committees had to declare their priority bills to the Speaker of the Legislature by noon on Friday.

We debated LB974 which would change taxation and school funding provisions. I listened to the debate on this bill and it was debated for the three hour time limit before we moved on to debating the next bill. Negotiations are continuing on this bill and I am hoping we can arrive at a compromise that provides our Ag, residential and business communities property tax relief, while providing new State aid to public schools.

The hearing for my priority bill, LB814 to ban the brutal and barbaric method of dismemberment abortions during the second trimester of pregnancy was Thursday in the Judiciary Committee. I would like to thank everyone who came in to support my bill, testified in favor of it or wrote a letter of support. I do believe it’s possible to find some agreement in this controversial issue that no living human being should be torn apart limb by limb

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.Legislative Update: February 21, 2020

This week we continued to debate bills that are Senator Priority bills, Committee Priority bills and non-prioritized bills on General File that we did not debate last session.

More Senators are declaring their priority bills for this session. I decided to prioritize my bill, LB814 which would ban the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortions during the second trimester.

The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee chose my bill, LB944 to be one of the two committee priority bills. We debated LB944 that changes provisions relating to motor vehicles this week. The committee added an amendment which added a couple other bills from the transportation committee into the bill. I am happy to say that LB944 was passed on General File with 42 yes votes and will move to the second round of debate soon.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

This week we have been debating bills that are Senator Priority bills, Committee Priority bills and non-prioritized bills on General File that we did not debate last session.

The hearing for my bill, LB1017 which will provide funding to the Supreme Court to fund a pilot program for mental health courts was Wednesday afternoon in the Appropriations Committee. I am happy to say that there were no opponents to my bill. I brought this bill because throughout my time serving as a state senator, I have learned about drug courts and how they have changed the lives of so many people. My interest in drug and specialty courts in Nebraska led me to learn about mental health courts. The purpose of mental health courts is to provide an alternative for people who have mental health issues and have committed a crime that stemmed from their mental illness. Rather than incarcerating this individual they can be redirected to Mental Health Courts. This court will give the judge the ability to give this person a second chance by allowing them to go through strict programming that would help get them the medication, education, programming and services they need. This will not be easy option and the program will last for two years. If the person does not comply with the rules and regulations of the program they would end up being sent to jail to serve their sentence. The Supreme Court has meticulously worked on standards that are to be followed by judges and the mental health courts. This is a small, but important tool that helps address the needs of those who suffer from severe mental illness in our communities.

There were many filibusters during floor debate in the mornings this week and we did not pass many bills. We were able to pass a few bills on final reading before we adjourned for the week on Thursday.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

This week we continued to debate non-prioritized bills that were on General File. There were quite a few filibusters.

The hearing for my bill, LB944 that will change provisions relating to motor vehicles was in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on Monday afternoon. I introduced the bill on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles. I want to highlight a couple of things that the bill does. The bill will add natural disaster as a reason for issuing a refund of unused registration fees and taxes when loss of possession of a vehicle occurs. This will be important if a person loses a car due to flooding in their area. It also allows for the potential in the future to have the ability to use an electronic driver’s license and providing for the chance to have remote knowledge testing under certain circumstances for a driver’s license.

The hearing for my bill, LB975 that will bring the state of Nebraska into compliance with federal regulations regarding Child Protective Services/Adult Protective Services and provides immunity for people who provide information or assistance (such as medical evaluations or consultations) in cases of alleged abuse and neglect on Friday. Nebraska will risk losing over $500,000 in Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act funding each fiscal year until we amend our statutes. I brought this bill on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25
Room #2000
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2731
Email: sgeist@leg.ne.gov
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