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Greetings Northeast Lincoln!
This month, the 105th Legislature-Second Session, adjourned “sine die” on April 18th. To adjourn “sine die” means to adjourn without setting a future date for reconvening, effectively ending the session for the year. This also concludes the 105th Legislature. Next January, we will reconvene with the 106th Legislature. Bills that were not passed prior to adjournment are considered “indefinitely postponed”, and are no longer active. Next year, the 106th Legislature will start fresh, with no bills held over.
Upon adjourning sine die, we also said goodbye to eight of our colleagues. Senator Lydia Brasch, Senator Burke Harr, Senator Bob Krist, Senator Tyson Larson, Senator Paul Schumacher, and Senator Jim Smith are all term-limited, and cannot run for re-election. Senator John Kuehn and Senator Roy Baker decided not to run for re-election this year and will be leaving office. I am thankful to all eight senators for their public service to the State, and appreciate the opportunities I had to work with them.
Second Session Bills Passed
During this short session, we were able to pass four bills: LB93, LB146, LB258, and LB859. LB93 was introduced last session and adopts the Automatic License Plate Reader Privacy Act. This is designed to protect citizen privacy from data breaches, by limiting access to sensitive databases. LB146 allows for minor infractions to be “set aside” in the court system. This bill would primarily help students clear their record of small infractions, and become eligible for federal student aide. LB258 will provide the opportunity for inmates to obtain a state identification card or renew a driver’s license before being discharged. I am grateful to the Department of Corrections for working with me on this issue, and starting a successful pilot program. I am optimistic that the program will be implemented effectively, and can be one part of the effort to successfully reintegrate individuals back into society. This year we were also able to pass LB859. LB859 will allow family members access to records relating to the investigation surrounding the death of a family member who died on the job. I am appreciative of all the stakeholders who helped me pass this bill, as I believe it will help to ease burdens on these families who are already going through unspeakable tragedies.
105th Legislature Recap
The 105th Legislature was my second full two-year legislative session, and my office was able to pass many important pieces of legislation. In addition to the bills I elaborated on above, we passed LB113, a bill to change population threshold provisions relating to municipalities and clean up other statutes; LB259, which incorporates another bill I introduced, LB145, and 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; and finally LB519, which clarifies sections of Nebraska’s unemployment compensation law to treat “reimbursable” employers the same way as “contributing” employers. I am appreciative of all of my colleagues who helped to collaborate on these issues, and voted to pass the above bills.
Unfortunately, another bill that my office worked heavily on did not get enacted into law. LB 873, introduced by the Urban Affairs Committee, where I serve as the Vice-Chair, was a package of bills designed to help cities and neighborhoods. Included in that bill were my LB 748 and LB 880, which would have updated a variety of city statutes and helped cities plan for childhood education. The Governor vetoed the package after we adjourned sine die, preventing us from attempting to overcome the veto, and ending this important legislation for the year.