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Greetings from your State Capitol!
Let me first begin by thanking everyone who came out to my first “Coffee with the Senator” last Saturday at Kitty’s Roadhouse in Hastings. The place was packed! I was elated with the turn out and spirited discussion on issues that concern the people of the 33rd District. Although we might not see eye to on eye on every issue, the direct and free exchange of issues and ideas makes these meetings a powerful tool for me to feel the heartbeat of district.
I want to thank the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and the Adams County Farm Bureau Federation for sponsoring the “Coffee with the Senator” series. I am looking forward to more of these coffees as well as other upcoming town hall meetings throughout our district.
On Wednesday I had the pleasure of hosting a very community driven group, Leadership Hastings. Leadership Hastings was started in 1987 and their goal is to enhance the skills of its members so they can go out and be leaders and serve as a resource to their communities. I enjoyed the opportunity to chat with several members over a luncheon.
I also was able to co-host, with several of my fellow Senators, a group of young, aspiring leaders on Thursday. Leadership Tomorrow, which is primarily from the Grand Island area, spent time learning the fundamentals of how ‘their’ legislature works. It is always rewarding to meet with groups that are looking to better the lives of people in Nebraska.
As for the work of your legislature, the various “standing committees” are doing their work. Hundreds of bills have had their hearings and we have hundreds more that are scheduled to be heard in the coming weeks. So far, there are 87 bills that have been passed through to General File. Dismally few bills have been addressed on the floor. The session has ground to a halt over a lengthy filibuster on a “rules change”. Oddly enough, the filibuster is being conducted on a rule change proposed to require proponents and opponents of a filibuster to be on record with their vote on cloture of debate.
I feel we owe the people of Nebraska transparency in how we voted on motions of cloture to end debate and to vote on the bills advancement. My sincerest hope is that we end this filibuster, vote on the adoption of the Permanent Rules for 2017 session and get on with the business of addressing the legislative bills that have been brought to floor for us to discuss.