NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Matt Hansen

Sen. Matt Hansen

District 26

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at mhansen@leg.ne.gov

News for the 26th

November 15th, 2018

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!

October was a whirlwind month for our office. In addition to numerous meetings and continued research being conducted in preparation for the upcoming session, our office also watched for the results of the November 6th elections. As committee meetings wind down and the holidays approach, our office is working diligently to ensure that the upcoming session gives adequate attention to the needs of District 26.

American Council of Young Professional Leaders

I was honored to act as a fellowship host for the 2018 Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Professional Fellows Program on Governance and Society during the month of October (October 6 – November 17). The Fellows Program allows emerging young leaders to spend five weeks in the United States engaging in tailored work placements relevant to their chosen fields. Four promising fellows from Southeast Asia participated in the program and it was my privilege to be able to help introduce them to our local community and discuss the Nebraska legislative process with them. The fellows, who had local placements within the community, were treated to all of the best that Lincoln has to offer and gained valuable insight into American democracy and more specifically, the Nebraska Unicameral.

Planning Committee Meeting

The Planning Committee is a special committee tasked with the responsibility of identifying emerging trends in Nebraska and accessing the impact of various legislative decisions on local communities. At the October Planning Committee Meeting, we heard presentations regarding the variance in childhood cancer in Nebraska and changing demographics of the legislative budget. These presentations provided helpful insight into the issues affecting Nebraskans today.

Holland Honor Roll Awards

On October 18th, I was fortunate enough to attend the 2018 Holland Children’s Movement Honor Roll Awards. The Holland Children’s Movement works to ensure that children and families are well represented in the legislative process and it was an honor to be selected as an award recipient. I hope to continue to be an advocate for those in the community who are often underrepresented.

Election Day — We Did It!

On November 6th, Nebraska experienced record-breaking voter turnout. I am grateful to all of the constituents of District 26 who exercised their right to vote and participate in the political process. I am honored that I have been given the opportunity to represent you for a second term! During this term, our office hopes to continue addressing those issues that matter most to District 26. With the start of the session quickly approaching, we intend to take a open-minded and consistent approach to issues impacting local neighborhoods.

Thank you for your continued support and I look forward to serving you.

News for the 26th

October 4th, 2018

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!

The month of September was full of meetings and research as our office works through the interim in preparation for next year’s session. The committees I serve on have been busy this summer and fall conducting interim study hearings. Interim study resolutions are introduced during the legislative session and authorize a committee to study an issue following adjournment of a legislative session. Some include a public hearing to gather information and data from stakeholders and members of the public. This summer, I had four resolutions discussed across three public hearings in the Urban Affairs and Judiciary committees. This newsletter also welcomes the newest member of our office, Ms. Keenan Roberson. Happy Fall!

Urban Affairs Committee Hearings — Omaha, Grand Island, and Ord, NE

On August 28th, the Urban Affairs Committee met in Omaha at the Lied Life Center to hold a hearing on LR 392, which examines neighborhood issues and potential neighborhood improvement tools. We heard from various city officials and neighborhood associations as they gave input on what they believe can be done to improve the areas in which they live.

Finally, the Urban Affairs Committee traveled to Grand Island and Ord on September 25th to hear LR 433, among other issues. LR 433 examines existing and potential methods for cities to provide more affordable housing in their communities. I thank all of the city officials and advocates who traveled to help us figure out how to address the shortage of affordable housing, especially for those who are renters.

From left to right: Senator Sara Howard, Senator Matt Hansen, Legal Counsel for the Urban Affairs Committee, Trevor Fitzgerald, and Senator Dan Quick hearing testimony on Urban Affairs in Grand Island, NE.

Judiciary Committee Hearing — Lincoln NE

On September 7th, the Judiciary Committee met at the Capitol to hear both LR 370 and LR 415. I introduced LR 370 as a means of examining the long-term and short-term effects of housing inmates with mental health needs in county facilities, where the resources to address their needs are often lacking. LR 415 is meant to assess the effectiveness of section 29-901 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes, as it relates to the imposition of bail and the requiring of money bonds for misdemeanors and city ordinance violations. It looked at whether our cash bond system needs reform, especially for indigent pretrial detainees, and if there are other safe, lower cost alternatives.

If you have any questions or would like more information on any of these interim studies, don’t hesitate to contact my office. I look forward to using the results of these studies and hearings to shape legislation I introduce next session.

Legislative Day in Douglas County

On Thursday, September 27th, I joined other senators on the Judiciary Committee to tour the Douglas County Corrections Center, the Douglas County Health Center, and the Community Mental Health Center. It was helpful to see these facilities up close and visit with staff about their operations and about ideas we could bring to Lancaster County. Thank you to the Douglas County Board of Directors and their staff for hosting us and organizing the day.

Welcome to our New Administrative Assistant Keenan!

I am happy to welcome Keenan Roberson to my office, who will serve as my new Administrative Assistant. My previous AA Sarah has moved on to a Legislative Aide position in another office and we couldn’t be more happy for her. Keenan, a lifelong Lincolnite, just returned after graduating law school at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. Keenan is the daughter of Senator Bolz’s Legislative Aide, Tami Soper. She’s a Creighton University Alum and an avid traveller. Welcome Keenan!

News for the 26th

September 4th, 2018

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


On April 18th, the 105th Legislature-Second Session adjourned “sine die”. Since then, my office has kept busy researching our interim studies, attending meetings, and preparing for committee hearings, which are now in full swing. I hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying the last few days of summer before fall and Husker football season is here.


Urban Affairs Committee Hearing

Last week, the Urban Affairs Committee met in Omaha to hear four resolutions. We heard testimony on LR 398, Senator Justin Wayne’s interim study to examine the impact on sanitary and improvement districts upon annexations by municipalities; my LR 392, an interim study to examine neighborhood issues and potential neighborhood improvement tools; Senator Wayne’s LR 397, an interim study to examine the statutory authority for municipalities to establish port authorities; and his LR 399, which is an interim study to examine issues related to metropolitan transit authorities. I am thankful to all those who came out to share their expertise and experiences with the Committee on each interim study topic, but I am especially grateful to those who took the time to speak on my interim study on neighborhood improvement. I was fortunate that many neighborhood association leaders and neighborhood advocates testified on the existing tools neighborhoods use to solve their diverse problems, and some potential tools and policies which could be of benefit to neighborhoods across the state. Neighborhood improvement has been a priority of mine throughout my time in the Legislature, and I look forward to continuing to work with these neighborhood advocates.

National Conference of State Legislatures Election Cyber Security Meeting

Last month I was also fortunate to attend an Elections Cyber Security Conference here in Lincoln, put on by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). The meeting connects policymakers from several different states to better understand the current election security environment, and to exchange ideas on how to strengthen state policies to protect our elections. We attended forums on foreign and domestic cyber threats, securing elections, and voter registration system protection. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to show off our State Capitol and Lincoln to other policymakers, and learn more about this important topic.

Legislative Pages

Do you know anyone interested in serving as a page for the 2018 legislative session? Pages are college students who assist senators and the Clerk of the Legislature with various tasks, such as running errands for senators during the legislative session, assisting the Presiding Officer, and setting up and staffing committee hearings. The Page Program is open to high school graduates who are currently enrolled in a Nebraska college or trade school, and is an excellent opportunity to learn the basics of state government. It is a paid part-time position, and many students receive college internship credit for their work.

The deadline for applications is Friday September 28th. Those interested in applying should first contact the Clerk of the Legislature’s office at (402) 471-2271 or email Kitty Kearns at kkearns@leg.ne.gov for an application. All applicants are also asked to provide a letter of recommendation from their state senator. You can determine your state senator here. If you live in District 26, I would be happy to hear from you!

News for the 26th

July 31st, 2018

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


On April 18th, the 105th Legislature-Second Session adjourned “sine die”. Since then, my office has kept busy researching our interim studies, attending meetings, and preparing for committee hearings later in the summer. I hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying the summer months.


Interim Studies
Each interim, Senators can introduce interim studies, and we have been working on a variety of issues that will have hearings in the fall. My office has been working on several related to neighborhood issues, including LR392 which looks at different tools we can use to empower neighborhoods, and LR433, which looks at affordable housing and rental housing. Look for updates following our hearings in August and September.

Autonomous Shuttles
Last session, the Legislature passed LB989, a bill by Senator Wishart which I was excited to cosponsor, which authorized automated vehicles in Nebraska. Lincoln has since been testing an autonomous shuttle. I was fortunate to get to ride the test shuttle last month, and you can learn more about it in this article from the Lincoln Journal Star. As part of the Mayor’s Challenge, Lincoln is competing with other cities to win funding for the Autonomous Shuttle project. One part of the competition is research on what citizens want to see in a potential Autonomous Shuttle service. If you’re interested in providing your feedback, you can take a short survey here.

Legislature’s Planning Committee

I am honored to serve on the Legislature’s Planning Committee, which is chaired by Senator Schumacher. The Planning Committee meets in the interim to identify emerging trends, assets, and challenges of the state and the long-term implications of the decisions made by the Nebraska Legislature. To do this, we collect and analyze data about a broad range of topics within Nebraska, including (but not limited to) demographics, workforce, education, wages, wealth, tax structure, revenue, and natural resources.

This month, we were able to learn more about the redistricting following the census. It was enlightening to learn about how population has shifted across Nebraska over the last 20-30 years, and what that meant for our legislative and congressional districts. We also learned about the various state statutes and Supreme Court cases governing redistricting. With the upcoming 2020 census, redistricting will be the responsibility of the state legislature soon.

University Place Pop Up Farmer’s Market

The University Place Pop Up Farmer’s Market will take place on August 8th from 3-6pm, at the corner of 48th and Madison.  Hosted by the University Place Community Organization, Civic Nebraska, and Community Crops, the pop up farmer’s market will have produce and art vendors along with activities and discussions about how to bring a farmer’s market back to the neighborhood, and future plans for the 48th and Madison location.

Capitol Construction
If you venture into the Capitol over the next few months, you will likely see construction and closed off hallways. The 10-year, five-phase Capitol HVAC Project will be in full swing soon. Many senators’ offices will be moving up into the tower of the Capitol as a result. My office, located on the first floor in room 1017, is in the northwest quadrant and is not slated to move any time soon.

 

News for the 26th

June 28th, 2018

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


On April 18th, the 105th Legislature-Second Session adjourned “sine die”. Since then, my office has kept busy researching our interim studies, attending meetings, and preparing for committee hearings later in the summer. I hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying the summer months.


Legislature’s Planning Committee

I am honored to serve on the Legislature’s Planning Committee, which is chaired by Senator Schumacher. The Planning Committee meets in the interim to identify emerging trends, assets, and challenges of the state and the long-term implications of the decisions made by the Nebraska Legislature. To do this, we collect and analyze data about a broad range of topics within Nebraska, including (but not limited to) demographics, workforce, education, wages, tax structure, revenue, and natural resources.
This month, the committee was fortunate to hear from the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Public Affairs and Community Service, which provided us with helpful data and graphs depicting population change predictions over the next 50 years, and how Nebraska’s population will shift among legislative districts and counties. I enjoy serving on the Planning Committee, and having the opportunity to study data during the interim which will impact the choices we make next session and into the future.

Capitol Construction
If you venture into the Capitol over the next few months, you will likely see construction and closed off hallways. While it has not officially begun, the 10-year, five-phase Capitol HVAC Project will be underway soon. Many senators’ offices will be moving up into the tower of the Capitol as a result. My office, located on the first floor in room 1017, is in the northwest quadrant and is not slated to move any time soon.


University Place Pop Up Farmer’s Market
The University Place Pop Up Farmer’s Market will take place on July 11th and August 8th this year, from 3pm-6pm both days, at the corner of 48th and Madison. Hosted by the University Place Community Organization, Civic Nebraska, and Community Crops, the pop up farmer’s market will have produce and art vendors along with activities and discussions about how to bring a farmer’s market back to the neighborhood, and future plans for the 48th and Madison location. 

News for the 26th

April 30th, 2018

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.

In the spirit of sine die and its “last day of school” feel, my staff and I celebrated with a photo in the Legislative chambers. While we will not be in session over the interim, my staff will be available as always. From left to right, Courtney Lyons, my legislative aide; myself; and Sarah Wagelie, my administrative assistant.

News for the 26th

March 29th, 2018

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


The Nebraska Legislature has been in full swing as the session winds down. With eight days left in the 105th Legislature, Second Session, before we adjourn sine die on April 18th, there is still much to be done and many bills still left to be debated. We have been working “late nights” lately, an opportunity to work into the evening and accomplish more in our short time left.

Prairie Wolves Championship Resolution

To congratulate Nebraska Wesleyan University men’s basketball team on winning the 2018 NCAA Division III Championship, I introduced LR 367. Senator Bolz, Senator Hilkemann, and Senator Howard co-signed LR367. Congratulations to the Prairie Wolves!

 

Interim Study Resolution Introduction

As the interim approaches, senators have introduced interim study resolutions stating their intent and authorizing committees to perform an interim study on a particular topic or question. Interim studies allow us to dive deeply into topics during the interim, and determine effective policy solutions to potentially introduce as bills during the next legislative session. This year, I have introduced six interim study resolutions.
LR370 is an interim study to conduct a review of issues arising from the lack of mental health treatment for those in the criminal justice system. LR391 is an interim study to examine the effects on elections should Nebraska switch to an all vote-by-mail system. LR392 is an interim study to examine neighborhood issues and potential neighborhood improvement tools. LR415 is an interim study to examine the effectiveness of current law  as it relates to the imposition of bail and the requiring of money bonds for misdemeanors and city ordinance violations. LR432 is an interim study to examine issues faced by renters in Nebraska including rental deposits and fees, recourse for renters when rights are violated, and other issues. LR433 is an interim study to evaluate the availability of affordable housing in Nebraska municipalities with an emphasis on rental housing.

 

 

News for the 26th

February 28th, 2018

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


February was a busy month, consisting of morning debate and afternoon committee hearings. Committee hearings ended yesterday, on February 27th, and starting today we will have debate on the floor in the morning and the afternoon until we adjourn in mid-April. Priority bills have been selected, as well. Each senator gets to prioritize one bill, each committee two bills, and the Speaker can prioritize 25 bills. Bills without a priority designation are unlikely to be heard on the floor of the Legislature this year.

Bills Passed On Final Reading

This month, the Legislature passed LB 146 and LB 93 on final reading. The Governor signed both bills into law on February 14th. LB146 will allow anyone guilty of an infraction to petition the court to set aside the conviction after paying the requisite fine or completing the assigned probation. Prior to LB 146, this was only allowed for misdemeanors and felonies. I appreciate the work of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law Civil Clinic students and faculty who identified the problem and worked with us on the bill. The Legislature also passed LB 93 this month. LB 93 will adopt the Automatic License Plate Reader Privacy Act. You can read more about LB 93 in the Unicameral Update article, here. I appreciate the help of my fellow state senators in passing these important pieces of legislation this session.

Priority Bill
This year, I have selected LB 986 as my personal priority bill. I introduced LB 986, which would authorize Neighborhood Improvement Districts (NIDs) in Nebraska. Based on successful Business Improvement Districts, NIDs would provide another tool for neighborhood improvement in Lincoln. You can read more about LB 986 in the Unicameral Update article, here. I am excited about all of the possibilities NIDs provide, and hope to advance LB 986 this session.

February Hearings
This month, we held hearings on our remaining bills: LB 1056, LB 986, LB 1083, LB 930, LB 1029 and LB 1010. For more information on LB 930, see the Unicameral Update article here; and an article on LB 1056 here. Thank you to all who came out to testify on these bills.

My colleague, Senator Dan Quick from Grand Island, and I happened to accidentally coordinate our outfits.

Due to the record number of bills heard in the Judiciary Committee this year, we scheduled a rare recess day hearing and heard nine bills. My colleague from Lincoln, Senator Patty Pansing Brooks, brought us cookies to celebrate.


News for the 26th

January 31st, 2018

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


The Second Session of the 105th Legislature officially began on January 4th. My office hit the ground running, working on bills from last session that were held over, and introducing 12 new bills in the first 10 days of session. Four of the bills I introduced this session have already had hearings, with the rest scheduled for February. In this newsletter, I’ve updated the status of bills carried over from the 2017 session, briefly explained the 12 bills I introduced this year, and introduced the newest member of our office.

First Day of Session

The first day of session always has a bit of a “back to school” feel to it, so in that spirit, my staff and I took a first day photo in the library here at the State Capitol. My staff is always available to assist you, and all three of us are excited to be back serving the citizens of District 26. From left to right, Sarah Wagelie, my administrative assistant; myself; and Courtney Lyons, my legislative aide.

Committees

Just like last session, I serve on the Business & Labor Committee, the Urban Affairs Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. New this year, if you plan to submit written testimony for a hearing on a legislative bill, committees require it by 5pm the day before the hearing (or 5pm on Friday for Monday hearings). My staff would be happy to assist you with testifying on a bill or submitting written testimony. The Judiciary Committee has a record number of bills to hear this session at 102.

Status of Bills Carried Over From 2017
Legislative bills that are not passed or indefinitely postponed in long session years are still available to be debated in a short session, but any bills not acted upon at the end of this session are considered dead.

  • LB93, which would adopt the Automatic License Plate Reader Privacy Act, advanced to the third round of debate this month. Each bill gets three rounds of debate, so I’m very excited that LB93 has advanced to Final Reading, the third round. LB93 would protect citizens privacy by implementing best practices on ALPR databases. You can find more information on the bill in the Unicameral Update, here.
  • LB146, which would provide for set-asides of convictions for infractions, passed the first and second rounds of debate this month, and is now on to Final Reading, the third round.
  • LB211, a bill which would raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, is on General File, the first round of debate. It is on the agenda, and hopefully will be debated this week.
  • LB258 passed the first round of debate this month, and is now on Select File (the second round of debate). It would give people being released from Corrections access to state IDs earlier and quicker. LB258 builds upon a Department of Corrections pilot program started here in Lincoln after the bill was introduced last session. I appreciate all of the hard work from the Department of Corrections and the DMV on the pilot program, and for working with me on LB258.

2018 Legislative Bills

 

  • LB748 updates several statutes related to city population. It is a follow-up to LB113, which passed last year, and is intended as cleanup work before the 2020 census. LB748 was first heard in the Urban Affairs Committee on January 16th.
  • LB858 adjusts Workers Compensation disability payments for inflation.
  • LB859 provides information to families of public employees who are killed on the job. This is intended to be much like the information families of private employees receive from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. LB859 was heard by the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on January 18th. It was a great hearing with lots of powerful testimony from families who had lost a loved one and would be helped by the bill.
  • LB880 would ask cities to include early childhood education in their comprehensive plans. Those plans already include things such as schools, housing, and employment. This is important planning to help support our families and children. The Unicameral Update posted an article about LB880, and the Holland Children’s Movement has more information, as well as a fact sheet, available here. LB880 was heard by the Urban Affairs Committee on January 23rd.
  • LB916 would prohibit retaliation under the Nebraska Wage Payment Collection Act and the Wage and Hour Act. This means employers wouldn’t be able to punish employees for acts such as filing a complaint that they are not being paid minimum wage, providing regular paychecks, or paying owed wages after you leave employment.
  • LB930 clarifies parents’ and their children’s rights when a child is questioned by law enforcement. It requires that a parent or guardian be present and that the child and parent/guardian waive their right to an attorney before being interrogated.
  • LB954 would give a tax credit to renters, as we often overlook people who rent their homes and apartments in our tax debates.
  • LB986 would create Neighborhood Improvement Districts. This would provide a set of tools for neighborhoods to come together to solve issues together. LB986 is modeled on the successful Business Improvement DIstricts we allow for commercial property. I had the opportunity to talk with Fox42 News about LB986, and you can find the story here.
  • LB1010 is an attempt to speed up and improve access to mental health care in the county jail. It would allow some who have been found incompetent to stand trial to get treatment at an outpatient provider rather than having to wait for treatment behind bars.
  • LB1029 is a cleanup of our Uniform Power of Attorney Act, which was suggested by the Nebraska State Bar Association.
  • LB1056 would provide for collection of data from schools on student disciplinary actions, including the number of suspensions, expulsions, and arrests in order to better examine the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • LB1083 would provide for discovery of telephone numbers and email addresses of witnesses in criminal cases.

Staff Update

Last December, I hired a new Legislative Aide. Courtney Lyons started just before session at the end of last year. Courtney comes to us from Nebraska Appleseed, and prior to that was the Urban Affairs Committee Clerk. Courtney’s experience in the building and nonprofit experience makes her an excellent addition to our office, and we’re excited to have her on board. Her job tasks her primarily with working upon the legislation introduced by my office. Courtney lives in Lincoln with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

News for the 26th

December 25th, 2017

Greetings Northeast Lincoln!


As the interim, and the year 2017, draws to a close, my staff and I have been looking forward to the new year and a new session. Over the interim, I’ve been busy with meetings on a variety of topics, including bills I’ve been working on and plan to introduce next session. I’ve also attended interim hearings for two of the committees I work on, as well as Planning Committee meetings. Additionally, I’ve had a chance to meet with constituents and attend events in the District. I hope this newsletter finds you well, and offer my best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year.

2018 Legislative Session Priorities

 

2018 will bring a new session of the 105th Legislature, and with it, new opportunities and challenges. Next session, I plan to introduce and continue to support legislation which will reduce overcrowding in our prison system while keeping our communities safe. I will continue to support legislation that empowers our students of all backgrounds and abilities to reach their full potential, and advocate for better wages for our working families. I also plan to introduce legislation that will empower our local neighborhoods and communities. Finally, I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to balance our state budget while preserving resources for our most vulnerable citizens. I will continue to update you on these topics throughout session via my monthly e-newsletter and my Facebook page, and I hope you will keep in touch.

This year’s official state Christmas tree, a twenty year old 24-foot spruce, was donated by Vickie and Roger Lansman of Lincoln.

Second Session of the 105th Legislature: What To Expect

As the second session of the 105th Legislature is fast approaching, I wanted to provide context on what to expect. Each biennium (or two year cycle), the Legislature holds two sessions. The current biennium began in January 2017. The first session of the biennium is a “long” session, or a 90-day session. It usually lasts from the beginning of January through early June, though we recessed early in May this year. The second session is a “short”, or 60-day session. It is scheduled to begin on January 3rd, 2018, and conclude on April 18th. In both sessions, the first ten days are reserved for introducing bills. Bills can only be introduced during the first ten days of session, and then will be referenced to the committee which holds jurisdiction over the topic the bill covers. Once a bill is in committee, it has a public hearing, and is voted on by the senators on the committee after the hearing. Each bill introduced has a public hearing in a committee, where anyone can come to share their thoughts. This is unique to Nebraska, and truly allows the citizens of our state to act as the “second house” of the Legislature. During this time, the Legislature will convene in the morning to debate bills, and hold hearings in the afternoon. After all bills have received a public hearing, the Legislature will meet all day to debate and pass legislation until the end of the session. 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. If you have any questions about a bill’s status, the Nebraska Legislature’s website, http://nebraskalegislature.gov, is a great resource. If you need assistance navigating the website, my office would be happy to help. I’m excited to hit the ground running in January!

 

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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