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The weeks continue to be busy in the Nebraska Legislature. We entered into our second to last week of session on Monday. The week was filled with several late nights and a lot of floor discussion.
This week we passed my bill, LB561 to adopt updated audit standards under the Legislative Performance Audit Act, on final reading. It’s a simple cleanup bill for the Performance Audit Committee. The vote was 45 to 0. Final reading is the third and final stage at which a bill is considered by the full Legislature. The clerk reads the entire bill aloud, unless the final reading is waived, and the senators vote without debate on whether to submit the bill to the governor. I am very pleased that LB561 is headed to Governor Rickett’s desk.
The Nebraska State Budget was also passed during final reading. Overall, I was pleased with the budget and commend the diligence of the Appropriations Committee. There were some concerns expressed during the debate, of further trimming our spending. I agree with that concern. However, I am very supportive of the funding we provided the University of Nebraska and State Colleges. I was also pleased that this year’s budget provided the funding for four additional specialty courts across the State of Nebraska. I believe they are a great addition to our justice system because they will provide Nebraskans with an option for diverting people from incarceration.
One of the most intensely debated bills from this week was LB720. LB720 introduced by Senator Kolterman is the ImagiNE Nebraska Act. It provides business incentives that are targeted toward economic development for the entire state of Nebraska. I was fully supportive of the bill. I believe that business incentives are extremely important for Nebraska to be competitive in the Midwest Region. Every surrounding state has a business incentive package. LB720 is written narrowly and it requires rigid standards of job growth. It also limits the amount of credits that are awarded to businesses each year. In addition, LB720 creates a review board that meets annually in order to gain transparency and accountability. The bill was filibustered on select file and failed to get 33 votes to break the filibuster. We will probably see this bill coming back in some form next session.
As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.