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The week of February 26th is a turning point for the Nebraska Legislature. We turn from the first half of the legislative session to focusing on the last half of the session with fewer than 27 days remaining. We turn from morning debate and committee hearings in the afternoon, to full day debate for the remainder of the session. We turn from the potential of discussing any bills advanced to General File to debating only those bills with a priority designation. We will eventually turn from even those priority bill discussions to debating the state budget bills because, constitutionally, the legislature is required to pass a balanced budget.
I was fortunate to have my priority bill, LB 710, relating to civil law suits regarding debt collection, receive an early hearing date which then allowed it to be placed on General File early in the session. I selected this bill early in the session before other senators began designating their bills which also helped push this bill to the head of the pack. LB 710, was read on Final Reading on February 23rd and now awaits the Governor’s signature.
I look forward to full day debates and taking up the myriad of priority bills selected for this year. Senators each select one, the Speaker selects 25, committees select two bills each, for a combined total of 107 priority bills up for potential debate in the remaining 27 legislative days. Priority bills run the gambit of topics.
Senator Quick chose LB 1132 which would set aside convictions of victims of sex trafficking and expunge their records. LB 931 is Senator Howard’s priority bill and it would create a seven day duration cap on a prescription for an opiate issued to a person under the age of 19 years of age. Senator Murante designated LB 1115 as his priority and it would provide population requirements for establishing district boundary lines for legislative districts, Supreme Court districts and certain political subdivisions for re-districting purposes. Senator Pansing-Brooks’ priority bill, LB 158, would provide for the appointment of counsel for juveniles and counsel would remain with the juvenile through post-dispositional proceedings.
Then there are those priority bills that are broad and far reaching. One such bill introduced and prioritized by Senator Briese is LB 1084. This bill would adopt the Property Tax Request Limitation Act and remove a number of tax exemptions adopted over the decades. On the flip side, Senator Erdman introduced LB 829 to provide $1.1 billion in property tax relief; unfortunately, he does not provide a mechanism in how to pay for this or prescribe how the state would reconcile the budget.
Other bills are less grand but nonetheless important to those impacted. LB 1098 by Senator Hilgers would change the dollar threshold for certain purchasing requirements under the County Purchasing Act. LB 865 by Senator Crawford would change provisions relating to passage of ordinances by cities and villages. Senator Lindstrom’s LB 741 would change provisions relating to real property appraisers to comply with Title XI.
I would encourage you to go to the legislative website to read more about the bills being debated. www.nebraskalegislature.gov To contact me directly with your comments about these issues, call me at 402-471-2620 or use my email, email@example.com.