Senator Laura Ebke, Letter to the District
This is the first of my 2017 letters to the district. As I write this, we are 24 hours into a new presidency, and 12 days into the new legislative session here in Nebraska. What follows are some brief comments about both.
The Trump Presidency. This past election cycle was a most interesting one, and out of it came a somewhat unlikely president. Whether we agreed or disagreed with candidate Trump, I think it’s time for us to give him a chance. No one should want the person holding the presidency to fail.
Our system of government—a democratic republic—is not about one person, nor about any group of people. It’s a system based on the stewardship of offices by people elected by the citizens. The offices don’t belong to the people who sit there—they belong to the people, who are free to replace their representatives in the next election. The representatives are bound to uphold and defend the constitution to the best of their abilities—they are not bound to take a poll on every issue and do what the majority says (albeit, it is politically prudent to be cognizant of what the majority seems to want).
The 105th Legislature. The 105th Legislature was gaveled into session on Wednesday, January 4. As part of our opening day activities, we elect leadership for the next two years—including the Speaker and Committee Chairs. I was honored to have been elected to chair the Judiciary Committee. I believe that I am the first woman to chair that committee, and the first non-lawyer to chair the committee in 20-25 years. I’ve served on the committee for 2 years. The Judiciary Committee deals with a vast array of issues—criminal and civil proceedings, items touching on constitutional rights, and so on. Aside from the Appropriations Committee, the Judiciary Committee is traditionally the busiest of all standing committees of the legislature. We’ve had 667 bills introduced this session; 120 were referenced to Judiciary. To put that in numerical perspective: there are 14 standing committee which receive referencing of bills for hearing. Almost 1 in 5 were referenced to Judiciary; 1 in 14 would be 47 bills. My point? The Judiciary Committee will be busier than most of the committees this year—as is usually the case. Judiciary meets Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
I’ve also been assigned to the Education Committee, which will be front and center in some of the discussions about property tax relief this year. Although I served on the Crete School Board for 12 years, this will be my first term on the Education Committee, so I’ve spent a little bit of time trying to reacquaint myself with some of the language and processes in that arena. Education meets on Mondays and Tuesdays.
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