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The One-Hundredth and Fourth Legislature by the numbers.
Sixty days does not seem like a long time for the legislature to meet. Yet there were days where debates dragged on for hours on seemingly inconsequential issues and then days where the pace of voting was swift and sure. This year there were 24 filibusters compared to only 14 last year.
In this short session, 446 bills were introduced; and 664 bills were introduced in 2015, for a total of 1110 bills. Of these, 210 bills were passed into law this year along with 243 bills from last year. With all the filibusters, only those bills with priority designations were heard in the last three or four weeks of the session. 107 bills were designated as priorities and eventually 78 of those priority bills were passed by the Unicameral.
Eleven senators are term-limited out of office this year. Senators Bloomfield, Campbell, Coash, Cook, Gloor, Haar, Hadley, McCoy, Mello, Schilz and Sullivan have served their two term limit. Five of these senators are chairpersons of a committee and one is the Speaker. They leave with a great deal of knowledge on issues and a passion to work hard for the citizens of this state. They will be missed.
April 20th was the sixtieth and final day of this session. Vetoes made by the governor were taken up that day. Three appropriation bills had line item vetoes (the bills passed but only after the Governor made selective cuts in these spending bills). The Governor vetoed several bills, but LB 947, allowing immigrants with lawful presence in the United States to apply for professional licenses, received two hours of debate before senators overrode the gubernatorial veto with 31 ayes, 13 nays, and 5 present and not voting.
The Governor made closing statements to the Legislature. Senators indefinitely postponed (killed) all bills not enacted this session according to the rules, so those issues will need to be introduced again in the future to be acted upon. Other motions were made regarding directives to the Clerk of the Legislature for the final postings of the Legislative Journal – and with that a final motion was made to adjourn sine die which formally ended the session.
The lights in the chamber were turned off, desks cleared, and senators headed home. The interim months of 2016 begin the work of researching potential legislation, working on interim studies and constituent issues.
I would like to make the constituents of District 30 aware of opportunities available to youth and adults alike. The Unicameral Youth Legislature is an opportunity for high school students to attend a four-day camp, June 5-8. Held at the State Capitol, student senators will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral. Senators’ staff take an active role in the camp and work as advisors to the student senators. More information can be found at: www.NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl or call (402) 471-2788.
For the adults in the district, the Governor is always looking for good people to fill vacancies on various boards and commission. To see positions available, follow this link:
www.governor.nebraska.gov/board-comm-req. Applications can be filled out on-line.
Please continue to contact me at any time throughout the interim with any issues that concern you. firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-2620.