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February flew by here at the Nebraska State Legislature. Our office has been busy preparing and conducting hearings on behalf of the Business and Labor Committee as well as attending hearings pertaining to the bills Senator Hansen introduced this session. In total, our office has been involved with over 60 bills. Between hearings, meetings with community leaders and advocates, and legislative events, there is no shortage of work to be done. We are grateful for the constituents of District 26 and their willingness to be involved in the process and provide meaningful insight into the issues being addressed daily on the legislative floor.
University of Nebraska Student Leadership Conference
On February 2nd, I had the honor of speaking at the Student Leadership Conference hosted by the University of Nebraska Student Regents from UNK, UNL, UNMC, and UNO. The conference brought together student leaders from all four campuses to discuss the legislature, policies affecting students, and student advocacy. It was a pleasure to be able to share legislative insights and actively engage with the students about topics affecting college campuses. I am always excited to find opportunities to encourage civic engagement from young people.
NeighborWorks Neighborhood Forum
On February 9th, NeighborWorks held its 3rd Annual neighborhood forum. I was able to participate on a panel with a few of my colleagues where we discussed the bills introduced this session pertaining to neighborhood and housing issues. It was great to be able to sit down with constituents and provide them with insight into the issues affecting their homes and community. It also created an outlet for constituents to voice their concerns and provide important feedback regarding the impact of various legislative decisions. NeighborWorks is an organization that does a lot for homeowners by providing educational resources and creating opportunities to collaborate with community leaders and city officials to address the needs of residents.
Happy Birthday, Senator Hansen!
Our office was pleased to celebrate Senator Hansen’s birthday on February 11th. Our office received many warm birthday wishes which made celebrating that much more special. Thank you to all of those who sent cards and emails.
As always, thank you for your continued support and feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns!
January brought lots of changes and plenty of work for our office. This month saw the commencement of the 106th Legislative Session. Senator Hansen introduced 31 pieces of legislation in addition to co-sponsoring several others. In addition to the meetings, additional research, and various processes that have accompanied this legislation, Senator Hansen was also elected the Chair of the Business and Labor Committee. With this election came an office change and a wonderful addition to our office staff, Legal Counsel, Tom Green!
Public hearings began on January 22nd which means that there are plenty of opportunities for you as constituents to get involved in the process. As always, please feel free to reach out to our office at 402.471.2610, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.
106th Legislative Session
On January 9th, the 106th Legislative Session commenced. As with the start of every legislative session, the process began with the election of committee chairs for the the 14 Standing Committees, the Executive Committee, and the two Special Committees: the Rules Committee and the Enrollment and Review Committee. It was a great opportunity for the freshman senators and continuing members to interact and begin setting the tone for this legislative session.
Business and Labor Committee
As the new Chair of the Business and Labor Committee, Senator Hansen is tasked with the responsibility of presiding over the executive sessions and public hearings concerning bills assigned to the Business and Labor Committee. Such bills include those concerning wages, workers’ compensation, labor and employment relations, and other similar pieces of legislation. As the committee hears testimony for bills, its members make the determination about whether or not a given bill will be sent to the floor for debate or postponed until a determination can be made about the bill’s disposition. Senator Hansen’s election brought with it the opportunity to bring valuable insight to other members of the Business and Labor Committee and the public, and the ability to interact more frequently with community stakeholders and constituents.
The workload in our office has changed significantly and we have been facing every challenge with District 26 in mind. To learn about the Business and Labor Committee, please visit its webpage: http://news.legislature.ne.gov/bui/
Welcome Tom Green, Legal Counsel to the Business and Labor Committee!
Tom Green has over ten years experience in the legislature having previously worked as the Legislative Aide for Senators Ken Haar and Rick Kolowski. Tom graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2008 and also has his undergraduate degree from UNL. Tom is married to his wife Jennifer and they have two kids Abbie (10) and Warren (8) who attend Pyrtle Elementary School. Tom was recently elected to a four-year term on the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District serving subdistrict 8. Tom’s position as legal counsel will make him an asset to the Business and Labor Committee. In this position, he will work to understand the legislative intent and history of every bill presented before the committee and convey vital and necessary information to committee members.
Thank you for your continued support.
December was a busy month. Between making time for holiday festivities and preparing for the session, our office elves are working tirelessly. The bill drafting office has experienced a heavy influx of requests as senators make their final revisions and submissions of legislative proposals for 2019. This month brought lots of meetings with community leaders, a trip to Capitol Hill, and plenty of delicious baked goods. We are very excited to represent District 26 on the legislative floor this upcoming session and look forward to highlighting key issues on behalf of the constituents!
Time in Washington D.C.
At the beginning of December, I had the fortune of travelling to Washington, D.C. to take part in the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Capitol Forum on December 5-7. This event helped create a dialogue amongst various officials in order to provide perspective and insight into how to best address state and federal concerns.
The NCSL Capitol Forum allowed legislators to share insights and network with senators and staff across the country. It also provided attendees with the opportunity to advocate for states, especially those critical issues facing state legislatures.
Preparing for the Upcoming Session
Our office has been putting in lots of hard work in order to ensure an exciting and productive legislative session. Amongst the plethora of meetings and events that were attended this month, some of the most crucial were those involving community stakeholders and other political officials including: a meeting with the City of Lincoln and Mayor Chris Beutler, discussions with behavioral healthcare providers, Lincoln Public Schools, the Uniform Law Commission, various labor groups and unions, and my newly elected colleagues. A lot of meaningful time and effort as gone into communicating with these individuals and trying to find that best solutions for District 26 and the City of Lincoln.
The progress we’ve made in preparation for this session demonstrates the impact of a good team. I am grateful to my staff for their hard work. We are excited about what is to come and look forward to showing District 26 the fruits of our labor in the upcoming weeks!
The Nebraska Legislative Process — Bill Drafting and Introduction
Last month, we looked at the research and other processes conducted during the interim to prepare for the session. The interim studies period paves the way for potential legislation. After the necessary research is completed, the Senator will take his or her ideas to a bill drafter. The bill drafter helps the Senator format the proposed research into a legally acceptable bill format. That bill is then introduced by the Senator on the legislative floor during the first 10 days of session.
Senators introduce bills by filing them with the Clerk of the Legislature, who then gives them a number and makes sure that the bills are read into the record. Fiscal Notes are prepared for each bill that is introduced; they estimate the monetary effect that each bill will have if they become laws. Most bills will receive public hearings (with a few exceptions) before a legislative committee (a committee of senators specially charged with considering that piece of legislation). There are 14 standing committees in the Nebraska State Legislature. To learn more about these committees and the types of bills that might get introduced to them, check out the committees link: https://nebraskalegislature.gov/committees/committees.php.
Next month, we will wind things down with a discussion of how bills become laws (or don’t).
Here’s wishing you all a wonderful New Year!
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