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 email@example.com
Legislative Update – January 12, 2018
Senator Roy Baker – District 30
The second session of the 105th Legislature started smoothly. The first three days of session only had bill introduction, which continues for the first ten days. On January 8th, the Speaker scheduled floor debate on bills held over from last year. I have introduced six new bills to date, and will have no more. In this 60-day session, any bill that does not receive a Senator’s or Committee’s priority designation likely will not make it to the floor. The other possibility is if a bill is noncontroversial and unopposed, it may be passed on the consent agenda.
My bills are:
LB709 to change archaic provisions relating to plumbing boards – their terms of office, meetings, penalties, etc. This bill was introduced at the request of the City of Beatrice and supported by other cities and villages.
LB710 is an act relating to civil lawsuits, changing provisions relating to costs, interest, and attorney fees, when the civil claim is $4,000 or less. This was introduced upon request by a District 30 business owner.
LB711 would change requirements for use of occupant protection systems. Currently, proper seat belt use is required only for front seat passengers. LB711 would require each occupant in the motor vehicle to wear occupant protection systems, with the exceptions already in statute including taxi cabs, emergency vehicles, parade vehicles, and rural letter carriers. Child passenger restraint requirements remain as they are. Seat belt use would continue to be a secondary offense which carries a $25 fine.
LB907 clarifies sales tax exemptions for agriculture machinery and equipment, specifically equipment used for the health and welfare of cattle, swine, and poultry. This bill was also introduced at the request of a business in the district.
LB908 would provide a tire disposal exemption for use in a building system. A constituent requested this legislation.
LB 981 is a juvenile justice bill and allows a Juvenile Court to retain jurisdiction of a juvenile until the age of 21 for purposes of enforcing the court order, if the juvenile and their legal counsel consent.
In addition to these bills, I am considering signing on as a co-sponsor to a couple of other issues. I will outline those in future updates.
Key votes to date in this session first occurred on January 8 with the adoption of the permanent rules. Last session we spent over thirty days debating the rules. The timeliness in which the rules were adopted this year is more reminiscent of past Legislatures with the acceptance of legislative rules.
The next key vote occurred on debate of a bill. Senator Bob Krist declared his priority bill early this year, LB 368 which was introduced last year by Senator John Lowe. The bill would have repealed the motorcycle helmet law. After at least six hours of debate, a cloture motion to cease any further debate may be offered. In 2017, a cloture vote on the bill failed by one vote. On January 10, the cloture motion to end debate and go to a vote on the bill failed by three votes. The matter will not come up again this session. I voted against cloture. I have heard passionate pleas from constituents both for and against repeal. It was a matter of considering civil liberties vis a vis safety and people’s lives, and ultimately the latter prevailed. This outcome was a bit of a surprise, as proponents of LB 368 thought they had the 33 votes necessary.
Public hearings for new bills begin on Tuesday, January 16th. Contact my office with any questions or comments you may have. I welcome your communication as we work through the issues. firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-2620.
Standing on the 7th floor outdoor workspace with Hudl CEO David Graff and Gov. Ricketts today after the ribbon cutting.
Mayor Beutler and Governor Ricketts among those at the ribbon cutting for the new Hudl headquarters in downtown Lincoln today.
Annual banquet of NSEA in December. Front row: Ed Ankram, Sen. Baker, Jolene Walker. Back row:
Fran Martin, Gene Martin, Kathryn Glenn, Mary Schlieder.
2017 is winding down, and 2018 will be upon us in a matter of days. The second session of the 105th Nebraska Unicameral Legislature will begin on Wednesday, January 3. This is a 60-day session which will end in mid-April.
The Speaker of the Legislature has notified us that any proposals for changes in rules under which the Legislature operates must be submitted before the session starts. The Rules Committee will consider and vote on any proposals by the second day. During the 2017 session, many days were taken up discussing rules changes. There was no resolution, and finally we continued under temporary rules, those under which we had operated in 2016.
A coalition of Senators who sought to control the Legislature had argued for the extended debate, aka filibuster, rules to change. Current rules require 33 of the 49 votes to end extended debate. The coalition sought to lower the number of votes required to end debate and bring their agenda items to a vote. As I am not part of the “gang of 27”, I am not inclined to vote for changing the rules. Committee chairs and committee assignments remain the same in this second year of the 2017-18 biennium.
Nebraska’s revenue shortfall has been well publicized. Normally the biennial budget adopted in the 2017 session would not need to be revisited in 2018. However, the current 2018 revenue estimate is projected to be around $175 million short, so steps must be taken. We will receive updated revenue forecasts before the sixty day session comes to an end.
Other important areas will continue to be part of the focus for 2018: tax reform/tax relief; public school funding; overcrowded prisons and other correction system issues; physical and mental health care; and school choice, to name a few.
This will be my final year as a Nebraska State Senator. It has been an honor to serve District 30, and I plan to make the most out of my remaining time. Thank you.
To contact Senator Baker: Phone: 402-471-2620 E-mail: email@example.com Webpage: http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist30/
I spoke to the Nebraska Council of School Administrators meeting in Lincoln on December 6th. Sens. Kolterman, Bolz, and Schumacher also addressed the group. Here is “Professor” Schumacher.
Maria Talero, president of the Norris FFA chapter, addressed the Farm City Breakfast of the Kiwanis Club on November 21.
State senators were together at the annual Legislative Council on November 16-17, held this year on UNL East Campus; learning more about issues we will face in the upcoming session.
On November 8th, my staff attended the IANR Fall Summit which focused on building partnerships to find sustainable and creative solutions to critical issues in Nebraska.
LINCOLN SOUTH BELTWAY
The Department of Transportation shared the latest plans for the south beltway at a public hearing on October 3. The beltway will be an eleven-mile freeway, connecting US-77 on the west and Highway 2 on the east, with five interchanges.
Planning began in the 1960s for a beltway loop around Lincoln. The project was ready to go in the early 2000s, but was put on hold due to lack of funding. Now funds from the Build Nebraska Act have been earmarked for the project, supplemented with contributions from the City of Lincoln. At present, the plan is to begin the construction of the south beltway in 2020, with an estimated completion date around 2025 to 2027. Between now and 2020, the Nebraska Department of Transportation will consider further public input, make refinements, and begin acquiring the necessary properties.
The south beltway will enable some of the through traffic to avoid passing through the City of Lincoln as well as facilitating east-west traffic within the City. In the future, it is likely that beltway loop will be completed with the construction of the east beltway, connecting the south beltway eastern terminus with Interstate 80.
The City of Lincoln has continued to grow and expand in all directions. Completion of the south beltway could accelerate Lincoln’s growth to the south. Commercial development may well crop up around the beltway interchanges, including gas stations, restaurants, retail, and other. The beltway, once completed, is likely to have a significant impact on the growth of Hickman and other communities in Legislative District 30.
The south beltway somewhat follows the half mile line between Saltillo and Bennet Roads. In the present plan, interchanges will be developed at Highway 77, near 27th Street, at 68th and 82nd Streets, and approximately west of 120th Street.
As one of the speakers at the Homestead National Monument on Eclipse Day, August 21st, I talked with Bill Nye, the Science Guy.
Official proclamation for the eclipse, visible in much of Nebraska and especially District 30, on Monday, August 21st. Lora Young, director of the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce joined me as Lt. Gov. Foley presented the documents.
The Lincoln, Omaha and Nebraska State Chambers of Commerce sponsored their annual Federal Legislative Summit on August 9th at the SAC Museum. Congressmen Smith and Fortenberry, and Senators Fisher and Sasse addressed the gathering.