NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Matt Hansen

Sen. Matt Hansen

District 26

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.

lb93hansen1-19-17d

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.

huntington-sign

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.

door-shopped

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.

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

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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