NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Matt Hansen

Sen. Matt Hansen

District 26

Welcome!

January 3rd, 2017

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

News for the 26th

June 30th, 2017

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


2017 Legislative Session Recap

The first session of the 105th Legislature adjourned early, on May 23rd. The session was scheduled to adjourn on June 2nd, but due in large part to having heard all of the priority bills and finalizing the budget, Speaker Scheer announced we would adjourn early. The interim has now begun, and we are keeping busy attending meetings, traveling, and preparing for interim studies. In this newsletter, I’ve recapped the bills my office passed this session and the interim studies we introduced and will be working on. This session, the following bills that I introduced were passed: LB113, LB259, and LB519. The contents of my bill LB145 were amended into LB259, bringing the grand total up to four bills passed during the first session of the 105th Legislature.

LB259

My priority bill, LB259, was advanced to the Governor’s Desk on May 8th, and approved by the Governor on May 12th. LB259 aims to eliminate unnecessary financial burdens on our counties by allowing individuals who are sitting in jail in order to pay off debts the opportunity to pay via an installment plan or perform community service. Often, people who commit a crime that carries no jail time are sentenced to pay a fine and court costs. When they are unable to pay this fine, they “sit out” the fine in jail, and are credited $90 a day. This creates a burden on the jail and the county, as they end up losing money. I introduced LB259 in order to rectify this expensive public policy, and I am grateful to my colleagues for their support on this issue. Portions of my bill, LB145, were amended into LB259.

LB113

LB113 was designed to change population threshold provisions relating to municipalities and eliminate obsolete provisions. The bill updated statutes that reference city population thresholds and adds clarifying language. LB113 was the result of the findings of LR526, an interim study conducted by the Urban Affairs Committee during the 2016 interim, and was supported by the League of Municipalities and the City of Lincoln. It was signed by the Governor on March 29th.

LB519

My bill, LB519, was placed on the consent calendar this year. Consent calendar is a term for a portion of our legislative agenda that is set by the Speaker, and includes non-controversial legislation. The idea behind the consent calendar is to pass consensus bills which do not need much debate more efficiently. I introduced LB519 in order to treat government employers the same way as private employers in regards to paying the unemployment benefits of a newly hired employee. I am very glad this legislation was included on the consent calendar agenda, and appreciate my fellow senators’ votes on LB519. LB519 was approved by the Governor on May 22nd.

Interim Studies

My staff and I have selected a few issues to study more in depth over the interim in order to inform our legislative proposals for the upcoming session. To that end, I have introduced LR219, LR220, and LR221. LR219 is an interim study to examine the effectiveness of the Nebraska state statute that relates to the imposition of bail, and the relevant statutes which relate to the imposition of fines, fees, and court costs. Our hope is that an interim study will help us propose legislation to enhance the effectiveness of these programs. LR220 is an interim study to investigate the purpose and benefits of creating conviction integrity units in Nebraska. Conviction integrity units, or CIUs, are divisions which work to prevent, identify, and correct false convictions. Finally, LR221 is an interim study to examine possible reforms to Nebraska’s sentencing laws to accommodate an option of deferred judgment probation.

American Civil Liberties Union Visit

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the ACLU of Nebraska and chat with Executive Director Danielle Conrad and lobbyist Spike Eickholt. We talked about the legislative session, namely, good legislation that was passed, legislation that was stopped, and our goals, separately and collectively, for the next legislative session. The entire Facebook live conversation can be viewed on their Facebook page, ACLU of Nebraska, here. I’m appreciative of the opportunity to discuss important policy with the ACLU, and thank them for their invitation.

Thanks to everyone who has called, sent letters, e-mailed, or stopped by our office to share your views! We hope you’ll continue to let us know what is important to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (402) 471-2610 or email us at mhansen@leg.ne.gov. We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.

News for the 26th

May 31st, 2017

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


Early Adjournment & Budget Bills

The first session of the 105th Legislature was scheduled to adjourn sine die on June 2nd. To adjourn ‘sine die’ means to adjourn without setting a future date for reconvening, finishing the legislative session for the year. However, Speaker Scheer announced that we would adjourn early, on May 23rd. During this long session year, we are constitutionally required to accomplish our session in no more than 90 days, but it is up to the discretion of the speaker to schedule our agenda within those 90 days. Speaker Scheer announced that we would adjourn sine die early, in large part due to having heard all of the priority bills and finalizing the budget.

Over the last few weeks, the Legislature was busy passing bills and holding a few final committee hearings to approve appointments and pass legislative resolutions. This month, the legislature also voted to advance the budget bills to the Governor’s desk. It has been a long process balancing the budget while experiencing a budget deficit. I am grateful for all of the hard work of my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to bring us a balanced budget, and the work of my fellow senators on the bills once they were on the floor.

LB259

My priority bill, LB259, was advanced to the Governor’s desk on May 8th, and approved by the Governor on May 12th. LB259 aims to eliminate unnecessary financial burdens on our counties by allowing individuals who are sitting in jail in order to pay off debts the opportunity to pay via an installment plan or perform community service. Often, people who commit a crime that carries no jail time are sentenced to pay a fine and court costs. When they are unable to pay this fine, they “sit out” the fine in jail, and are credited $90 a day. This creates a burden on the jail and the county, as they end up losing money. I introduced LB259 in order to rectify this expensive public policy, and I am grateful to my colleagues for their support on this issue.

Speaking on LB259 in April. Photo courtesy of Unicameral Update.

 

LB519

My bill, LB519, was placed on the consent calendar this year. Consent calendar is a term for a portion of our legislative agenda that is set by the Speaker, and includes generally non-controversial legislation. The idea behind the consent calendar is to pass consensus bills which do not need much debate more efficiently. I introduced LB519 in order to treat government employers the same way as private employers in regards to paying the unemployment benefits of a newly hired employee. I am very glad this legislation was included on the consent calendar agenda, and appreciate my fellow senators’ votes on LB519. LB519 was delivered to the Governor’s desk on May 16th.

 

Interim Studies

My staff and I have selected a few issues to study in more depth over the interim, in order to inform our legislative proposals for the next session. To that end, I have introduced three legislative resolutions, LR219, LR220, and LR221. LR219 is an interim study to examine the effectiveness of the Nebraska state statute that relates to the imposition of bail, and the relevant statutes which relate to the imposition of fines, fees, and court costs. Our hope is that an interim study will help us propose legislation to enhance the effectiveness of these programs. LR220 is an interim study to investigate the purpose and benefits of creating conviction integrity units in Nebraska. Conviction integrity units, or CIUs, are divisions which work to prevent, identify, and correct false convictions. Finally, LR221 is an interim study to examine possible reforms to Nebraska’s sentencing laws to accommodate an option of deferred judgment probation.

Student Visits

In May, I had the pleasure of speaking to several groups of students. First, I visited with the Dawes Middle School Student Council while they were at the Capitol as part of their Capitol Experience Day. They had several impressive questions for me, and I was happy to have a dialogue with them about important issues facing our state. I also had a chance to visit with fourth and fifth grade students at Faith Lutheran Elementary School on one of our recess days.

Finally, this month I also had the opportunity to visit a Culler Middle School classroom. I am appreciative of these schools for inviting me to speak with their classrooms, and I enjoyed visiting with these students.

Speaking with students from Dawes Middle School at the Capitol.

 

Thanks to everyone who has called, sent letters, e-mailed, or stopped by our office to share your views! We hope you’ll continue to let us know what is important to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (402) 471-2610 or email us at mhansen@leg.ne.gov. We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.

News for the 26th

May 1st, 2017

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


This legislative session, I have introduced 20 bills. All 20 received a public hearing over the last three months, and nine bills have been advanced out of committee. My priority bill, LB259, has advanced to the second round of debate, and LB113 has been approved by the Governor.

LB259

This session, I have designated LB259 as my personal priority bill. This bill will serve as an update of our criminal court procedures. I have been working with stakeholders such as prosecutors, defense attorneys, and court administrators to make efficient and fair use of our court system. LB 259 was generated as a way to potentially solve a problem that Lancaster County shared with me and my fellow Lancaster County senators in a presentation last fall. At that presentation our county jail administrator shared with us his concerns about the ever increasing costs of the county jail. Much of this cost was coming from people who did not necessarily need to be in jail: people awaiting trial for minor offenses who are sitting in jail in lieu of paying fines. LB 259 is my attempt to fix that, and I am glad to have the support of Lancaster County on this issue. This is an opportunity for us to eliminate unnecessary financial burdens on our Counties.
LB 259 is also part of a continued effort to remedy the fact that people are currently sitting in our county jails based on a lack of income. Currently in Nebraska, you can be sentenced to jail to “sit out” a fine if you are unable or unwilling to pay the fines and court costs. The current rate that someone is credited per day to “sit out” their fine is $90. What we are seeing is people having to sit out their fines in jail for a crime that carries no jail time, due to their lack of income. This is both bad and expensive public policy. Based on our research, over 2,800 people spent a total 55,961 nights in jail in fiscal year 2014-15, for a grand total of $5.6 million dollars. This expense to our counties is in addition to the loss of revenue of the unpaid court fines and fees. LB259 provides judges options for sentencing indigent defendants that avoid this problem: payment via an installment plan, reducing or eliminating costs, or sentencing them to perform community service. LB 259 ensures defendants are still fulfilling their obligation to society, while not sitting needlessly in jail based on their income. LB 259 is supported by the Omaha City Attorney, the Douglas County Public Defender, and the Nebraska Bar Association, and was advanced to the second round of debate on April 19th.

District Events

Last month, I had a great opportunity to talk with students and families at the Dawes Middle School CLC Community Night with State Senator Adam Morfeld.
We had some tough questions posed to us, like “How do we decide to fund our schools?” and “Are you ready to be replaced by robots yet?” Thank you to all who attended and to Dawes for inviting us.

I was also invited to a meeting of the Kiwanis Club at the Cotner Community Center. We had a great conversation about the Legislature and I was happy to attend.

My staff and I attended the Strengthening Democracy Awards presented by Nebraskans for Civic Reform. Last year, I was awarded the Defender of Democracy award at this event.

Thanks to everyone who has called, sent letters, e-mailed, or stopped by our office to share your views! We hope you’ll continue to let us know what is important to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (402) 471-2610 or email us at mhansen@leg.ne.gov. We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.

News for the 26th

April 3rd, 2017

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!

The One Hundred Fifth Legislature officially began on January 4th, 2017.


This legislative session, I have introduced 20 bills, all of which have had public hearings. Seven of these bills have been advanced out of their respective committees. LB93LB146LB211LB258LB363 and LB519 have been advanced to General File, and LB113 was approved by the Governor on March 29th.

Sesquicentennial Celebrations
On March 1st, Nebraska marked 150 years of statehood with celebrations around the state and here at the Capitol. I joined my fellow Senators and members of the Executive and Judicial branches of state government in the celebration. Governor Ricketts signed a proclamation declaring March 1 as Statehood Day here in Nebraska, and Hannah Huston, a Grand Island native and former finalist on “The Voice” sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful”. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the many things that make Nebraska unique and a wonderful place to live.

My wife Jane and I at the Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Priority Bills
At this point in the legislative session, senators and committees have designated their priority bills. Each senator gets to select one bill and their personal priority bill, ensuring it will be debated on the floor during the session. Each committee can designate two priority bills, and the Speaker of the Legislature can designate 25 priority bills. Senators are not limited to prioritizing their own bill, and some senators choose to prioritize bills introduced by other senators. With over 600 bills introduced in this session alone, this process serves to ensure important topics are discussed during the legislative session. You can find all of the bills prioritized this session on the Nebraska Legislature website.
I have designated LB259 as my personal priority bill. This bill will serve as an update of our criminal court procedures. I have been working with stakeholders such as prosecutors, defense attorneys, and court administrators to make efficient and fair use of our court system.

Introducing LB145 in front of the Judiciary Committee. Image courtesy of Unicameral Update.

Unicameral Youth Legislature

Sen. Hansen invites students to youth legislature

High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth Legislature June 11-14. At the State Capitol, student senators will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral. The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students who have an interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate or public speaking. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators and staff. Registrants are encouraged to apply for a Greg Adams Civic Scholarship award, which covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other $100 scholarships are also available. The Office of the Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature coordinates the Unicameral Youth Legislature. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office coordinates housing and recreational activities as part of the Big Red Summer Camps program.
To learn more about the program, go to www.NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl or call (402) 471-2788. The deadline for registration is May 15.

News for the 26th

February 28th, 2017

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!

The One Hundred Fifth Legislature officially began on January 4th, 2017.


This legislative session, I have introduced 20 bills. Of these 20 bills, 10 have had a public hearing, and 10 more are scheduled through March. Four of my bills have been voted out of committee. LB93, LB146, and LB519 are on the first round of debate, General File. LB113 was recently advanced to Select File.


LB93

LB93 would adopt the Automatic License Plate Reader Privacy Act. It is intended to create policies for law enforcement agencies who are using automatic license plate reader technology by spelling out who can use the reader and how the data can be retained and used. Seeing the limited use currently in Nebraska, it would be prudent for the Legislature to take a proactive approach before the technology expands further, so all law enforcement agencies and citizens can share an understanding of how the technology can be used. The bill is the result of a year’s worth of discussions with the Nebraska State Patrol, the City of Lincoln, and other stakeholders.

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Introducing LB93 in front of the Judiciary Committee. Image courtesy of Unicameral Update.

LB146

LB146 would allow for infractions to be set aside under the same manner that is currently available for misdemeanors and felonies. This gives our lowest level offenders an opportunity to clean up their record and helps them become and remain productive members of our community.

LB113

LB113 is designed to change population threshold provisions relating to municipalities and eliminate obsolete provisions. The bill would update statutes that reference city population thresholds and add clarifying language. LB113 is the result of the findings of LR526, an interim study conducted by the Urban Affairs Committee during the 2016 interim, and was supported by the League of Municipalities and the City of Lincoln. LB113 was advanced to Select File on February 16th, on a vote of 41-0.

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LPS Elementary Students from Huntington, Brownell, Riley, and Pershing stopped by the Capitol this month. It was wonderful to meet them and answer their questions!

 

Thanks to everyone who has called, sent letters, e-mailed, or stopped by our office to share your views! We hope you’ll continue to let us know what is important to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (402) 471-2610 or email us at mhansen@leg.ne.gov. We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.

News for the 26th

January 31st, 2017

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!

Happy New Year! The One Hundred Fifth Legislature officially began on January 4th, 2017.


all-senators

The First Session of the 105th Legislature officially began on Wednesday, January 4th, as ordered in the state constitution, “commencing at 10 a.m. on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January of each year.” The 17 new members of the Legislature were sworn in, along with the eight re-elected members, and committee chairs were elected. The next 10 days of session were filled with introducing legislation and the start of committee hearings. I was appointed to serve on the Business and Labor Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Urban Affairs Committee. During the last session, I served on the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, the General Affairs Committee, and the Urban Affairs Committee, so I am looking forward to learning about the new issues and challenges facing our state. I am also honored to announce that I was elected to be vice-chairperson of the Urban Affairs Committee, as well as appointed to the Planning Committee.

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We’ve moved!

Our office moved into a new space at the beginning of session. We are now located in room 1017, in the northwest corner of the Capitol.

How the Legislature Works: A Brief Look

unicam-process

During the first ten days of the legislative session, senators can introduce bills, and these bills are referred to various committees. Once a bill is in committee, it has a hearing, and is voted on by the senators on the committee after the hearing. If a bill makes it out of the committee, it is placed onto general file. During the general file stage, senators consider amendments proposed both by committees and individual senators. A majority vote of the Legislature, or 25 votes, is needed to move a bill from general file to the next stage of debate, called select file. Select file is the second debating and voting stage where additional amendments can be added and voted upon. Once a bill is approved on select file, it moves to final reading, where it cannot be amended further, and is constitutionally required to be read aloud in its entirety by the Clerk of the Legislature. A proposed constitutional amendment requires a three-fifths vote of the elected members (30) to place it on the general election ballot and a four-fifths vote (40) to place it on a primary or special election ballot. A bill with an emergency clause requires a vote of two-thirds (33 members) of the Legislature. All other bills without an emergency clause require a simple majority vote before going to the governor. After the Legislature passes a bill on final reading, it goes to the governor for consideration. The governor has five days, not including Sundays, to decide what to do with a bill. If the governor signs a bill or declines to act on it, the bill becomes a state law. The governor may veto a bill, and he has the authority to strike specific budget appropriations (line-item veto). The Legislature may override any gubernatorial veto, although it takes a vote of 30 senators to do so.

Information from the Nebraska Legislature webpage, www.nebraskalegislature.gov.

Bills Introduced

The following legislative bills are those I have introduced this session. You can find more information about the bills I and other senators have introduced on the Nebraska legislature website, www.nebraskalegislature.gov or by clicking on the bill title. Feel free to reach out to our office if you’re having trouble navigating the website.

I will provide more in-depth coverage as session goes on.

  • LB64-Adopt the Adrenal Insufficiency Diagnosis Information and Support Act
  • LB65-Provide income tax credits for caregivers
  • LB66-Change provisions relating to stacking of coverage under the Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage Act
  • LB93-Adopt the Automatic License Plate Reader Privacy Act
  • LB111-Provide for nonpartisan election of county officers
  • LB112-Permit registered voters moving within Nebraska without re-registering to vote provisionally
  • LB113-Change population threshold provisions relating to municipalities and eliminate obsolete provisions
  • LB145-Provide for a hearing to determine financial ability to pay fines and costs and traffic citations and provide for community service
  • LB146-Provide for set-asides of convictions for infractions
  • LB147-Change workers’ compensation provisions relating to waiting time, termination of compensation, and attorney’s fees
  • LB211Change the minimum wage for persons compensated by way of gratuities
  • LB212-Adopt the In the Line of Duty Compensation Act
  • LB213-Add an unfair claims settlement practice under the Unfair Insurance Claims Settlement Practices Act
  • LB258-Provide opportunity for inmates to obtain state identification card or driver’s license before discharge
  • LB259Provide for competency determinations in cases pending before county courts
  • LB260-Provide for a state food insecurity nutrition incentive grant program and state intent regarding appropriations
  • LB261Adopt the Nebraska Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act
  • LB363-Change the Conveyance Safety Act
  • LB519-Change Employment Security Law provisions relating to employers’ experience and reimbursement accounts
  • LB520-Require notification when persons prohibited by state or federal law obtain a handgun or concealed carry permit
matt-fam

My wife and parents joined me for the first day of session.

Meet My Staff

Joey Adler Legislative Aide jadler@leg.ne.gov

Joey Adler
Legislative Aide
jadler@leg.ne.gov

Sarah Wagelie Administrative Assistant swagelie@leg.ne.gov

Sarah Wagelie
Administrative Assistant
swagelie@leg.ne.gov

 

Thanks to everyone who has called, sent letters, e-mailed, or stopped by our office to share your views! We hope you’ll continue to let us know what is important to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (402) 471-2610 or email us at mhansen@leg.ne.gov. We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.

News for the 26th

December 30th, 2016

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!

The One Hundred Fifth Legislature officially begins on January 4th, and I am excited to hit the ground running. Jane, my staff, and I offer our best wishes for the holidays!


Wreaths Across America

Last month I had the honor of receiving the Wreaths Across America wreath on behalf of Nebraska and our State Capitol. Brigadier General Wendy K. Johnson was the guest speaker, and the ceremony included music performed by the McPhee Elementary School Chorus. Students from McPhee Elementary and St. Mary’s Catholic School were in attendance, as well as some of my fellow state senators. The theme of this year’s event was “Say Their Names”. The Capitol wreath was presented by Ralph Bierman, Chair of the Wreaths Across America-Lincoln Planning Committee, and U.S. Army, 1969-1970. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this event for the second year in a row and to support Wreaths Across America in honoring our veterans.

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I accepted the wreath on behalf of the State Capitol.

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From left: Brigadier General Wendy K. Johnson, Diane Bartels, the coordinator of the event, myself, and Ralph Bierman, who presented the wreath.

The wreath that will be on display in the Capitol building throughout the holidays. This large wreath was sent by Wreaths Across America.

The wreath that will be on display in the Capitol building throughout the holidays. This large wreath was sent by Wreaths Across America.

Committee Hearings

December was a busy month as several committees hold interim hearings before session begins. First, the Urban Affairs Committee met to discuss my legislative resolution LR526, an interim study to examine municipal classifications, along with Senator Crawford’s LR490, an interim study to examine the enforcement of state and local building codes. Later in the month, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee discussed Senator Murante’s LR597, which examines financing  mechanisms available to various political subdivisions to issue bonds or assume future payment obligations without a direct vote of the taxpayers, and other issues within the jurisdiction of the committee. That day the Election Technology Committee I serve on also met to discuss the longevity of the technology used by election commissioners and county clerks to conduct elections, and the feasibility of updating or replacing the technology. While Nebraska’s election technology should function well through the 2018 elections, we will need to fund technology updates or adaptations to our election system. I’m happy that the committee is seriously considering options to ensure the longevity of our election systems. Finally, the General Affairs Committee met to discuss the economic benefits of keno. I am grateful to my colleagues and those who came to testify for the opportunity to hear testimony on all of these important issues.

Speaking to Lincoln Northeast Students about Voter ID

I was fortunate to be a part of an event with Nebraskan’s for Civic Reform last month. As a part of their Capitol Experience Day, I was able to engage in a discussion about voter identification bills with students from Lincoln Northeast High School. They provided lots of great discussion questions, and I appreciated the opportunity to speak with them!

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Photo via Nebraskans for Civic Reform on Twitter @NebraskaReform.

capitol-holiday-tree

The State Capitol’s Christmas tree arrived in December. It was donated by Tim Steiner and is decorated with ornaments from all 93 of Nebraska’s counties. Photo via Unicameral Update.


Now that legislative session is starting up again, my staff will continue to be available to you during normal business hours. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (402) 471-2610 or email us at mhansen@leg.ne.gov.

We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.

News for the 26th

November 30th, 2016

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!

With just a few weeks left until the One Hundred Fifth Legislature begins, my office is continuing to work on our legislation for the upcoming session. I’ve stayed busy attending meetings, interim study hearings, and of course, Nebraska football games. Jane, my staff, and I offer our best wishes for the upcoming holidays!


Wedding Bells

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Wyn Wiley Photography

Last month, my beautiful fiance, Jane, and I were married in a ceremony at the Capitol.

Election Day Results

Election Day was November 8th, and with it brought 17 new faces to the Nebraska Legislature. Three State Senators from our Lincoln-area delegation are term-limited out this year: Senator Ken Haar, Senator Kathy Campbell, and Senator Colby Coash. Senator-Elect Mike Hilgers will take Senator Haar’s place representing District 21; Senator-Elect Suzanne Geist will take Senator Campbell’s place representing District 25; and Senator-Elect Anna Wishart will take Senator Coash’s place representing District 27. I am excited to welcome these newly elected Senators into our Lincoln delegation, and to welcome all of the new State Senators to the Capitol in January for the One Hundred Fifth Legislature.

I was fortunate enough to attend the Legislative Council Meeting this month, an event with all of the current and newly elected Senators. It was a wonderful opportunity to welcome our new Senator-Elects and to talk about our goals for the upcoming legislative session. Our nonpartisan unicameral legislature will now be made up of 13 women and 36 men. I want to extend my thanks to all of the Senators leaving the Legislature this year, as all have put significant time, work, and effort into their service of the people of Nebraska, and it was an honor to serve with them.

University of Nebraska Medical Center Tour

I was privileged to tour the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha this month. I had lunch with a delegation of campus leadership, where I learned more about UNMC’s priorities and current programs. I also toured the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit and met with faculty members working to improve safety conditions for Nebraska farmers.

“It’s always important to get a firsthand look at our state and university institutions in order to get a sense of how they work. I’ve been really impressed with all of the staff and faculty that I’ve met today.”-Senator Hansen

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UNMC’s Dr. Sisson showing me around the research facilities of Durham Research Center II.

Photos from the University of Nebraska Medical Center Department of Public Relations

Looking Ahead

December looks to be a busy month as several committees hold interim hearings before session begins. First, the Urban Affairs Committee will meet to discuss my legislative resolution LR526, an interim study to examine municipal classifications, along with Senator Crawford’s LR490, an interim study to examine the enforcement of state and local building codes. Later in the month, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will discuss Senator Murante’s LR597, which examines financing mechanisms available to various political subdivisions to issue bonds or assume future payment obligations without a direct vote of the taxpayers, and other issues within the jurisdiction of the committee. That day the Election Technology Committee I serve on will also meet to discuss the longevity of the technology used by election commissioners and county clerks to conduct elections, and the feasibility of updating or replacing the technology. Finally, the General Affairs Committee will meet to discuss the economic benefits of keno. I look forward to learning more about all of these issues and how they affect Nebraskans.


Now that we have reached the interim, my office will keep you up-to-date with regular but less frequent newsletters. My staff will continue to be available to you during normal business hours. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (402) 471-2610 or email us at mhansen@leg.ne.gov.

We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.

News for the 26th

October 31st, 2016

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!

With the interim well underway, my office is continuing to work on our legislative resolution studies. I’ve also stayed busy attending meetings, interim study hearings, and of course, Nebraska football games.


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Development in the District

As you have probably noticed, construction and development is all over District 26. One of the biggest projects is the 48th and Holdrege street area. The plaza containing the old Tastee Inn and Murphy’s Q.P. Hardware store fell into disrepair after the businesses closed. The 48th and Holdrege Redevelopment Project came to light after the area was officially declared blighted and substandard in May. The Lincoln City Council approved the five story, mixed-use project in May, and demolition and preparation of the space began this summer. The new space will include nearly 22,000 square feet of first floor retail and restaurant space and 98 residential units on the upper four floors. The project faces 48th street with parking behind and garages and landscaping along 49th street to buffer the development from the existing residential area to the east. Completion of the project is expected in August of next year. The area around 48th and Leighton is also getting a face lift. The site of the former HyVee Mainstreet store will, pending City Council approval, contain a mixed-use project with two new four- and five-story buildings, with about 28,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and 180 apartments on the upper floors. Proposed changes also include ways to improve traffic flow and make the area pedestrian friendly. If the City Council votes to approve this project, construction could begin early next year.

Information from the City of Lincoln Urban Development Department Newsletter.

General Affairs Hearing
On October 11th, the General Affairs committee held a hearing on Legislative Resolution 567, introduced by State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks. The interim study was designed to examine and review the sale of alcohol in Whiteclay and the need for additional funding for law enforcement. Whiteclay is an unincorporated town which has four liquor stores that sell three and a half million cans of beer a year. Beer sales are primarily to residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, where alcohol is banned. Senator Pansing Brooks introduced the resolution to the committee, and testifiers included representatives from the Liquor Control Commission, the Nebraska State Patrol, and the University of Nebraska-Medical Center. One testifier, a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder advocate, spoke on the importance of treatment and job centers in Whiteclay which could help to reduce the rate of infants born with fetal alcohol syndrome. One in four infants born on the Pine Ridge reservation are born with fetal alcohol syndrome, a rate far higher than the national average. As a result of the interim study and a recent trip several senators took to Whiteclay, Senator Pansing Brooks recommends the condemnation and removal of abandoned buildings, creation of a drug and alcohol treatment center in combination with a job training center, expansion of economic development in the area, and a state patrol substation located in Whiteclay with increased trooper presence to enforce the laws. I want to express my thanks to all who testified in an effort to find solutions, and to Senator Pansing Brooks for ensuring this issue is at the forefront of the Legislature’s attention.

Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Hearing

On October 13th, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee met to discuss two interim hearings: LR 530, introduced by State Senator Sara Howard, and LR 504, introduced by State Senator John Murante. Senator Howard’s legislative resolution was introduced to examine the ongoing implementation of the federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 and related state law and policy. Senator Murante’s legislative resolution was introduced to examine the numerous deadlines involved in the election process.


Now that we have reached the interim, my office will keep you up-to-date with regular but less frequent newsletters. My staff will continue to be available to you during normal business hours. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at (402) 471-2610 or email us at mhansen@leg.ne.gov.

We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.

Sen. Matt Hansen

District 26
Room #1017
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2610
Email: mhansen@leg.ne.gov
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