Sen. Matt Hansen
District 26

Welcome!

January 7th, 2015

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 26th 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. Matt Hansen

All Day Session Begins

March 30th, 2015

News for the 26th

Greetings Northeast Lincoln! As March brings us the first day of spring, it has brought me many firsts in the Nebraska Legislature. For they first time, one of our bills was signed into law by the Governor. For the first time, one of our bills was prioritized by the Speaker. And for the first time, I was appointed to one of the Legislature’s three special investigative committees. But the most exciting first that March has brought occurred outside of the legislature; my beautiful girlfriend, Jane, and I became engaged!

Matt and Jane

Priority Bills

Upon the completion of afternoon committee hearings in mid-March, the legislature began all-day session. We will now spend mornings and afternoons discussing and advancing bills on the floor. Also in mid-March, the Speaker, Senators and committees designated priority bills. Pursuant to the rules of the Nebraska Legislature, each senator can designate one priority bill, each chairperson two committee priority bills, and the speaker 25 speaker priority bills. This session, my priority bill is LB494. This bill seeks to change the minimum wage for persons compensated by way of gratuities. Currently, the tipped wage is $2.13 per hour. LB494 would increase the tipped wage incrementally, and has a compromise committee amendment attached. I’m very pleased that the Speaker has designated my bill, LB240, as a priority. LB240 continues funding for the Behavioral Health Screening and Referral Pilot Program. All priority bills can be found under “Priority Bill Listing” on the main page of the Nebraska Legislature’s website.

My Bills

LB314, a bill relating to county court jurisdiction, was passed on final reading and has been signed into law by the Governor!

LB304, a bill relating to Homeowners Associations, has advanced from General file to Select file, and has been placed on Final Reading.

LB227, a bill relating to the Educational Bridge Program, has made it out of the Education committee and has been placed on General file.

LB240, a bill relating to the Behavioral Health Pilot Program, has made it out of the Health and Human Services committee and has been placed on General file.

Extended Debate Ensues

Several bills this session have seen extended debate. LB31 is a bill to eliminate motorcycle and moped helmet requirements. After eight hours of debate, the motion for cloture on LB31 failed. The helmet law repeal will be put on hold for another year. A bill to increase the dry bean check off from ten to fifteen cents, was also intensely debated. In addition, LB242 attempted to remove the refund provision for the check off. Because the Dry Bean Commission is a board of appointed members, the bill was filibuster on the basis of taxation without representation. LB242 has been placed on final reading and will likely be passed this session. LB10, a bill to reinstate the winner-take-all system for electing presidential candidates, brought up big questions: which electoral system is closest to what our constitution suggests? and What electoral system will bring Nebraska the most national attention? LB10, two votes short on a cloture motion, was killed for the session.

Special Committees

As previously mentioned, I was appointed to the ACCESS Nebraska Special Investigative Committee. ACCESS Nebraska is a public benefit delivery system established in 2008 and implemented by the Health and Human Services Committee. Since it’s implementation, the system has been plagued with issues like long wait times and high error rates. For this reason, the ACCESS Nebraska Special Investigative Committee was established in 2014. I look forward to the opportunity to work with my colleagues to improve this system.

March Events

This month I had the pleasure of joining the Nebraska Art Teachers Association in honoring young artists. Students k-12 were able to display their own artwork on the first floor of the capitol. I was proud to speak to these students about the importance of art in cultivating creativity and innovation. Also this month, we had our first school visit from 4th graders at Saint John’s Elementary! They were able to tour the capitol and were introduced in the chamber during morning session. Students and both 4th grade teachers are pictured on top of the first page. We look forward to welcoming 4th graders from St Lutheran Elementary later this week! As always, thanks for reading.

Appointments Made to Three Special Committees

March 20th, 2015

Published: Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
Unicameral Update

The Executive Board of the Legislature announced appointments to three special investigative committees March 9.

The Developmental Disabilities Special Investigative Committee has been providing ongoing oversight of the placement and care of the developmentally disabled in Nebraska since 2008.

The committee was reauthorized Feb. 27 with the adoption of LR32. Appointed to the committee are:
• Lincoln Sen. Roy Baker;
• Lincoln Sen. Kate Bolz;
• Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash (chairperson);
• Hyannis Sen. Al Davis;
• Omaha Sen. Burke Harr;
• Omaha Sen. Robert Hilkemann; and
• Wahoo Sen. Jerry Johnson.

The ACCESSNebraska Special Investigative Committee was established in 2014. ACCESSNebraska is an online and call center system developed and implemented by the state Department of Health and Human Services to determine public benefit eligibility and deliver benefits to clients.

The committee originally was established in 2014 to investigate an array of problems including long wait times for callers, high worker turnover and lost paperwork. The adoption of LR33 on Feb. 27 authorized continuation of the committee’s oversight of the ACCESSNebraska system.

Appointed to the committee are:
• Omaha Sen. Joni Craighead;
• Bellevue Sen. Sue Crawford;
• Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen;
• Omaha Sen. Sara Howard (chairperson);
• Omaha Sen. John McCollister;
• Ralston Sen. Merv Riepe; and
• Gering Sen. John Stinner.

The Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee was established in 2014, and was authorized to study the administration of good time laws, policies relating to inmate segregation and the availability of rehabilitative and mental health programs.

LR34, adopted on Feb. 27, reauthorized the committee. Appointed are:
• Lincoln Sen. Kate Bolz;
• Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers;
• Lincoln Sen. Colby Coash;
• Crete Sen. Laura Ebke;
• Omaha Sen. Bob Krist;
• Omaha Sen. Heath Mello;
• Lincoln Sen. Adam Morfeld;
• Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks;
• Columbus Sen. Paul Schumacher;
• Omaha Sen. Les Seiler (chairperson); and
• Gothenburg Sen. Matt Williams.

Bill Would Extend Behavioral Health Pilot Program

March 9th, 2015

Published: Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Unicameral Update

The Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony March 4 on a bill that would extend a behavioral health screening and referral pilot program.

In 2013, the Legislature created the Behavioral Health Screening and Referral Pilot Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) to develop ways to address unmet children’s behavioral health needs that could be replicated statewide.

LB240, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen, would remove the Sept. 6, 2015, termination date for the program and an existing cap on the number of clinic sites.

Hansen said the screening program is included in UNMC’s budget, so LB240 would have no fiscal impact on the state.

“We seem to have great consensus that this is an effective program to make sure that behavioral health care is available in more and more communities throughout our state,” he said.

Joe Evans, director of the psychology department at UNMC, testified in support of the bill. Nebraska currently has a shortage and maldistribution of behavioral health care providers, he said, and having a program that can screen children during primary care provider visits has proven successful.

Evans said 88 of Nebraska’s 93 counties are identified by the federal government as behavioral health provider shortage areas.

UNMC psychology professor Kathryn Menousek also testified in support, saying the program hopes to expand to five or six sites throughout the state.

“This would allow greater access to behavioral health services to many Nebraska families,” she said.

No opposition testimony was offered and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.

Dissolved HOA Bill Advanced

March 3rd, 2015
Published: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
Unicameral Update

Lawmakers gave second-round approval March 3 to a bill that would provide a mechanism for a dissolved Home Owners Association (HOA) to achieve reinstatement.

LB304, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen, would adopt the Municipal Custodianship for Dissolved Homeowners Associations Act. The bill would allow a municipality to be appointed custodian over a dissolved HOA.

Hansen said the bill would allow a municipality to take over maintenance of any common areas that previously had been maintained by the HOA.

“These dissolved HOAs present problems to the municipalities,” he said, adding that there are currently 26 dissolved HOAs in Lincoln.

An Urban Affairs Committee amendment, adopted 26-0, made technical changes to the bill. The amendment also established a $100 fee for an HOA seeking reinstatement after being dissolved for more than five years and limited the bill’s provisions to HOAs located within the city limits of a municipality.

The bill advanced to select file on a 27-0 vote.

 

County Court Jurisdiction Clarified

March 3rd, 2015
Posted: Thursday, February 27th, 2015
Unicameral Update

Jurisdictions of county courts in Nebraska are more clearly defined by a bill passed Feb. 27.

LB314, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen, clarifies several different areas of jurisdiction for county courts that are consistent with the court’s existing jurisdiction regarding probate, guardianship and conservatorship.

The law establishes the county court’s exclusive original jurisdiction in any action involving the power of attorney for certain health care cases and certain cases arising under the Nebraska Uniform Custodial Trust Act and the Nebraska Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.

LB314 also establishes the county court’s concurrent original jurisdiction involving any matter relating to a power of attorney and the inaction of any agent acting under a power of attorney and certain cases arising under the Uniform Principal and Income Act and the Uniform Testamentary Additions to Trusts Act.

The bill passed on a 47-0 vote.

 

Committee Hearings and Bill Designations

March 2nd, 2015

News for the 26th

Greetings Northeast Lincoln! In the last month, the legislature has been busy working to advance bills from committee to the legislative floor. So far, the legislature has passed over two dozen bills, including three Urban Affairs committee bills described below.

The passage of a bill from introduction to law is a complex process. Once a bill is heard in committee, members of the committee vote on whether or not to advance the bill to the legislative floor. If the bill is advanced, it is voted on three times by the legislative body; first on General File, then on Select File, and finally on Final Reading. If passed by the legislative body, the bill must be signed by the Governor to become Nebraska law.

sen hansen testifies

Legislative Update- Sen. Hansen introduces LB451 to the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance committee on Tuesday.

My Bills on the Floor

LB314 on Final Reading-

State matters subject to county court jurisdiction for clarification and to clean-up current Nebraska Statute.

LB304 on General File-

Adopt the Municipal Custodianship for Dissolved Homeowners Association Act. This bill would help the city with maintenance costs for dissolved properties.

My Co-Sponsored Bills

LB149 Passed- Change provisions relating to election procedures for sanitary and improvement districts (SIDs) to allow for more time to prepare for elections.

LB150 Passed- Redefine terms under the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act to clarify that grants and loans may not be made to political subdivisions, agencies, or other governmental entities.

LB151 Passed- Provide for a person designated to accept city or village notices in cases of mortgaged property or trust deed default to improve accountability.

Committee Standings

General Affairs has wrapped up after hearing 14 bills referred to the committee. So far, the only bill from this committee to be passed is LB118, which exempts cigar shops from smoking restrictions in the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act. To the Lincoln community, this means that downtown Jakes Cigar Bar patrons will be able to enjoy cigars indoors once again. Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs will likely continue with committee hearings through the end of this week. Bills that have been heard so far include LB10 which would change the election of presidential electors, LB514 which would allow persons to register to vote and request an early voting ballot at the same time, and LR26CA which is a constitutional amendment to lower the age to run for public office from 21 to 18. In Urban Affairs, legislation has primarily involved municipalities, political subdivisions and local associations. The Urban Affairs committee has sponsored several good government bills with the focus of improving accountability and efficiency.

Committee Descriptions

The General Affairs committee has concluded it’s hearings for the 2015 Session. This committee is responsible for processing legislation involving theState Electrical Act, liquor, gambling, cemeteries, libraries, rates for legal notices, and the Nebraska Arts Council.

The Urban Affairs committee deals with natural gas regulation, cities and villages, SIDs, Metropolitan Utilities District, housing authorities, community antenna television service, and tax increment financing.

The Government, Military, and Veteran Affairs committee is responsible for bills related to state government department and agencies, county governments or political subdivisions, elections, political campaigns and finance, emergency response, public meetings and public building standards, administrative rules and regulations, public records, and of course military and veterans affairs.

sen hansen speaks

Legislative Update- Sen. Hansen speaks on the floor.

Working with the Community

In committee and on the floor, I strive to provide a strong voice for my district, my community, and the State of Nebraska. The bills that I have introduced this session are meant to strengthen education, encourage better health, and increase government efficiency. My office has kept busy talking with community leaders to provide common sense solutions for our state. In the past months, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with Governor Ricketts, Congressman Fortenberry, Supreme Court Justice Heavican, LPS Superintendent Dr Steve Joel, UNL President Dr. James  Linder, and I intend to hear from  many more!

As always, thanks  for reading.

  Matt Hansen sig

The First Month

February 2nd, 2015

NEWS FOR THE 26TH

Greetings Northeast Lincoln! The 2015 Legislative Session has begun, and we are already 17 days out. In three short days, we elected a speaker, committee chairs, received committee assignments, and found an office to call home. I am honored to be one of the legislature’s 17 new members.

After ten days of bill introductions, I have introduced my own ten bills.They have each been assigned to a committee, and most are awaiting hearing dates. All bills receive a committee hearing that is are open for public comment. Last week, I presented LB314 before the judiciary committee. This is a clean-up bill that more clearly defines the jurisdiction of County Courts.

I was assigned to three committees this year: General Affairs; Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs; and Urban Affairs. As the youngest member of the 104th Legislature, I am also the Chairperson of Enrollment & Review.

1_OpeningDay2015

Senators and their families filled the George W. Norris Legislative Chamber on the first day of the 2015 session. Photo courtesy of Unicameral Information Office.

 Upcoming Bills

LB304 The purpose of this bill is to adopt the Municipal Custodianship for Dissolved Homeowners Act. This bill would help the city with maintenance costs for dissolved properties. Hearing Date: February 3rd

LB470 This bill would provide an income tax credit for caregivers to help offset associated medical costs. Hearing Date: March 4th

Legislative Update- Senator Hansen talks with Senator Bolz.

Senator Matt Hansen talks with Senator Kate Bolz of Lincoln. Photo courtesy of Unicameral Information Office.

Committee Times

General Affairs: Mondays @ 1:30

Urban Affairs: Tuesdays @ 1:30

Government, Military, & Veterans Affairs: Wednesday, Thursday & Friday @ 1:30

 In Case You Missed it

LGBT Press Conference

A news conference on January 21st for proposed LGBT Equality Legislation turned out hundreds of supporters. Sens. Adam Morfeld, Jeremy Nordquist and Sara Howard announced their bills in collaboration with fellow Sens. Patty Pansing Brooks and Matt Hansen.

Legislative Resources

The Legislature’s website and the Unicameral Update provide a wealth of information about what goes on in the unicameral. You might find these tools useful when looking for information about this year’s session.

Using the Find Bills feature on the front page allows you to access the most recent summary of actions taken on the bill, in addition to the bill, its amendments, and hearing transcripts. You can also search for bills by the introducer, committee, or a keyword.

On the Legislative Calendar page, everything you need to know about the day’s activity is available to you. You’ll find the agenda, committee hearing schedule, journal, and transcripts.

The Unicameral Update offers daily news coverage of legislative activity during session, including floor action and committee hearings. It’s free to subscribe! Just call (402) 471-2788.

 Meet My Staff

Joey Adler Legislative Aid Jadler@leg.ne.gov

Joey Adler
Legislative Aid
Jadler@leg.ne.gov

Amanda Johnson Administrative Assistant Acjohnson@leg.ne.gov

Amanda Johnson
Administrative Assistant
Acjohnson@leg.ne.gov

 

Thanks for reading,

Matt