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Rather than being at the Capitol this week, I have been able to spend a little more time at the farm with my family. It comes as a welcome break after the 12-14 hour days of the session – even though farming usually means even longer days!
We did adjourn “sine die” on May 31st, which means we will not meet again until next January, barring any need for a special session. But it would be accurate to say our work is not done on many issues.
Those bills that were passed and signed by the Governor into law in this session will take effect on September 1st. The exceptions would be bills which had an “e-clause” meaning they take effect immediately upon being signed, or those with an effective date which stipulates a specific time.
The bills that were waiting to be debated when we adjourned will stay there, waiting for a turn on the agenda next January. When we convene in 2020, we will have ten days for new bill introduction as we did in this session, but since we already have things ‘in the hopper’, floor debate can begin right away.
These months between the long and short sessions are called the interim. While I do not intend to be in the office at the Capitol every day, my staff will be there and I will come in for meetings and conferences as scheduled. We will use this time to study several topics in depth and look at proposals for new legislation. The time is also valuable for meeting with fellow senators and fine tuning the existing bills or writing new ones. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will be attending some budget briefings and workshops as the nine members of the committee continue to look into state spending.
Interim Studies, introduced as legislative resolutions, LRs, have been assigned to committees for work over the summer. Some of these require public hearings and those generally begin about the same time as school starts, although some may be sooner. All hearings will be listed on the Unicameral website at www.nebraskalegislature.gov.
I introduced LR 181, to examine new funding streams for financial stability of the simulation-in-motion Nebraska program which trains local EMTs. We will meet with various stakeholders over the summer to figure out the best way to insure the continued success of this vital service to rural areas. A hearing for this study will be held on September 27th at the Capitol.
The Nebraska Legislature is a member of several national organizations of state representatives. I have been chosen to represent District 30 and Nebraska at a Budget and Tax Academy in Washington DC, and was named to the Agriculture Committee of the Midwestern Conference of CSG, the Council of State Governments. I was also honored to be recommended by my colleagues to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and was selected as a Fellow in BILLD, the Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development.
The summer and fall months will give me additional time to travel through the district. My plan is to attend some town board meetings and drop in at local coffee shops to talk directly with fellow residents in Lancaster and Gage counties. I will also be scheduling some community conversations so be watching for announcements about dates and locations over the next few months.
As I mentioned, my staff works year round, so unless they are attending an event in the district where you can talk with them in person, feel free to contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call in at 402-471-2620. I welcome your comments and concerns and ideas about how to improve our state government. Here’s to a productive summer for everyone in District 30!