Greetings from the State Capitol!
Things are running smoothly as we head into our first Judiciary Committee hearings this week and as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I am happy to report that the ship is steering the right course. I have introduced a few bills of my own this session, two of which will be introduced in the Judiciary Committee next week.
I stand firm on my policy of being a neutral and fair facilitator and guide as new members on the committee settle in. As a result, my legislation list will be short this session so that I can manage and effectively lead in committee and during possibly late night debates in the Chamber.
The four bills I have introduced are as follows:
LB 194 is legislation that relates to the Supreme Court Attorney Services Cash Fund. The fund is currently set out in the rules and implemented through the Department of Administrative Services and it is necessary for continuing education requirements for attorneys. It simply sets the fund in statute. It has no fiscal impact in Nebraska.
LB 297 is legislation that provides a raise for Nebraska Supreme Court Judges. The other courts will receive the same percentage. The purpose of this legislation is to attract high quality judges to the bench, and to support the high standard to which we hold them. The current salary is increased by 4.5% in this legislation for July 1, 2015 and July 1, 2016.
LB 195 is a bill that requires a financial institution that operates more than one office or branch where deposits are received to designate a main chartered office for the service of garnishment or service of summons, and that this designation be posted on the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance website.
LB 654 is legislation that appropriates General Funds in the amount of $43,661,270 to projects laid out in a recent report required by LB 999 that evaluates the opportunity to use facilities at the Hastings Regional Center for mental health treatment.
LB 462 creates the definition of campaign under laws that delve into a violation of the rules of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Act. This legislation simply seeks to provide some clarification and draw an appropriate line between agencies that educate the public on issues related within its service areas versus the potential misuse of public resources that may either benefit or hinder a candidate’s campaign.
I have cosigned legislation this year that intends to allow the city’s damage to be compensated by the owner’s insurance when the real estate has been damaged and has been abandoned by the owner. This legislation has been submitted to the Banking, Insurance and Commerce Committee, and the primary introducer is Senator Schumacher from Columbus. I support this bill and I believe that it will appropriately resolve the financial burden that has been placed on cities in Nebraska with regard to damaged abandoned property.
On the third Thursday of this session, Governor Ricketts gave his State of the State address to the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature. His address incorporated positive messages on goals that slow reduction in spending, property tax relief, easing regulations on businesses and expanding educational opportunities in Nebraska. The Governor has expressed his interest in working with the Legislature on prison reform with regard to sentencing, good time, facilities, and mental health. I look forward to working with the members of the Legislature and our Governor in the days to come in order to resolve these challenges ahead of us.
I encourage you to engage in your right to civic participation and stay tuned to the debates during session. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions. If you have questions related to legislation, you may speak with my Legislative Aide, Tyanne. If you would like to schedule an appointment with me, you may speak with my Administrative Assistant, Linda. Either I or my legislative staff can be reached at the Legislative Office number in Lincoln at (402) 471-2712.