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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!