The 104th legislative session comes to a close, eleven senators say goodbye.
As the session comes to an end, Senators must say goodbye to eleven colleagues, including Speaker Galen Hadley, all of whom are pictured on the next page.
During this short session, the legislature passed 216 bills, including prison reform legislation, funding for roads, and property tax relief. Nearly all priority bills were debated, and 76 were passed into law. This includes my priority bill, LB947, the details of which are also on the next page, including a quote from my first floor speech on the bill.
Early this month, my bill, LB741 was amended into Senator John Murante’s LB874. LB874 will make several changes to Nebraska’s election laws. The original bill makes the process for filling vacancies on school boards consistent statewide with the stipulation that an appointee will fill a vacancy for the remainder of the unexpired term.
As passed, LB874 includes provisions of four additional bills, including my bill. LB741 removes from the list of banned electioneering practices the display of yard signs on private property within 200 feet of a polling place. However, this does not include properties that are under common ownership with the polling place.
Other additions include provisions from Senator Adam Morfeld allowing for ballot selfies, and Senator Joni Craighead changing the deadline to request a vote-by-mail ballot.
LB874 was passed by the legislature with a 45-0 vote.
On the final day of session, the legislature debated LB947: a bill to provide for the issuance of professional or commercial licenses for DACA recipients. After having passed LB947 on Final Reading with 33 affirmative votes, the bill was returned to the legislature on day 60 without approval from the governor.
To qualify for the federal DACA program, residents must have: lived in the US since June, 2007; been no older than 31 as of June, 2012; entered the country before turning sixteen; attended school, earned a diploma, or have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces; and not been convicted of a felony or significant misdemeanor.
On day 60, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Heath Mello, offered a motion to override the governor’s veto. To override a veto, the affirmative. After two hours of debate, the body voted 31-13 to override the veto of LB947.
“Time and time again we’ve heard about the importance of workforce development, and its critical connection to the future growth of our state… With LB947, we have an opportunity to ensure that young Nebraskans have the full opportunity to obtain a professional license to join their ideal profession.”
I chose LB947 as my personal priority bill to address the inability of so many Nebraskans to become professionals. Throughout session, my office received dozens of emails and phone calls in support of this legislation. I’m happy we were successful in passing LB947, because I believe our state supports DACA recipients making a life in Nebraska, supporting their families, and supporting their community.
The 105th Legislative Session will begin January 4th, 2017 for a 90 day session.
As always, thanks for reading!
Greetings Northeast Lincoln! The Legislature has just finished a week of priority bill designations. Each senator has the opportunity to choose one bill, each committee two bills, and the Speaker up to 25 bills to prioritize in a single session.
This year, my priority bill is LB947, which declares all work-authorized persons eligible to obtain a professional or commercial operating license. Those affected by LB947 are the same population granted eligibility to obtain a drivers license through LB623, a bill passed last session.
Last month, I wrote about LB808, relating to the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act, and LB831, relating to automatic license plate readers. Both bills have advanced from the Urban Affairs committee and Judiciary committee, respectively, and have been placed on General File.
LR403 would create an Election Technology Committee as a special committee of the Legislature to address Nebraska’s aging election technology and equipment. The special committee would study the longevity of technology used by election commissioners and county clerks to conduct elections, and the feasibility of updating or replacing this technology.
LB1089 would incrementally increase the minimum wage for persons compensated by way of gratuity from the current $2.13 per hour to $4.50 per hour by January, 2017, or 50 percent of the standard minimum wage.
While the state minimum wage was increased last year through a ballot initiative, the tipped minimum wage has not changed since 1991. In 1991, it was uncoupled from the standard minimum wage which was set at $4.25.
31 states have a higher tipped minimum wage than Nebraska. Increasing Nebraska’s tipped minimum wage would set us in line with Iowa ($4.35 per hour), Colorado ($4.98 per hour), and other neighboring states.
LB1090’s hearing is scheduled for March 3rd, before the Judiciary committee. This bill would require notification of law enforcement by the Nebraska State Patrol of denials of certificates to purchase, lease, rent, or receive transfer of handgyns.
LB1090 would also require an annual written report to the Nebraska State Patrol from state or local law enforcement agencies that have received notifications. The report would include information on certificate denials, the status of any open investigations, and explanations of denials that did not lead to investigations.
This bill is intended to provide law enforcement with the information they need to help prevent the next crime from happening, and to keep our families and communities safe.
Two LPS high school students interested in a career in politics shadowed me for a day. They were able to sit in on the morning floor debate and an afternoon committee hearing.
This month, I introduced LB945 before the Agriculture committee. LB945 is the Healthy Food Financing Initiative Act, aimed at alleviating the prevalence of food deserts.
If we haven’t heard from you yet, we hope this newsletter will serve as a reminder to contact us with any questions, concerns, or support regarding state legislation.
As always, thanks for reading!