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On Wednesday we reached day 30 of the legislative session. Although we have been deadlocked on the adoption of Permanent Rules we did adopt a motion to extend the temporary rules until day 60 of the session. As a reminder, temporary rules are rules that the legislative body operated under during last session. By extending the temporary rules this should allow us to start debating the 110 bills that have made it out of the various Standing Committees.
Along with my fellow Senators I have been reading, researching, and actively listening to testimony on bills brought before the committees. As a result, we should be well versed and ready to debate and vote. It is my sincerest hope that in coming weeks I will be sharing with you the substantive legislative issues that impact the people of the 33rd District.
Your legislature did pass LB22 on February 13th, this bill dealt with adjustments to appropriations and re-appropriations for state operations, aid and construction programs for the current fiscal year. This bills was an interim budget bill introduced by Speaker Scheer at the request of the Governor to address the 120 million dollar budget shortfall for the balance of this biennium budget ending June 30th of this year. LB22 was passionately debated on the floor of the legislature. My office received a large amount of correspondence both from constituents and government agencies. Budget funding cuts are never easy but in a down-turn economy they are necessary. I commend the Governor, the members of Appropriation Committee and my fellow Senators for making those tough decisions. LB22 was signed by the Governor on February 15th.
While it has been a challenging session, it is not all gloom and doom. There are rays of sunshine, these happen most often when constituents travel to Lincoln to visit with us personally. On Monday I had the pleasure to attend the Tri-City Legislative Luncheon. The luncheon was sponsored by the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Hastings Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. Several individuals who attended the luncheon also stopped by our office to personally meet our staff. “It’s great to put a face to a name of those with who we have communicated,” said Tom Hastings, the President of Hastings Chamber of Commerce. We could not agree more! If you are in Lincoln, please drop by with your concerns or just to say hi.