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The first month of 106 Legislature has been a busy one. On the first day of the session I had the honor of being unanimously elected by my fellow Senators to the position of Chair for the Agriculture Committee. I will work very hard as Committee Chair to make sure that agriculture issues are brought front and center during this legislative session. Along with being the Chair of the Agricultural Committee, I am serving on the Business and Labor and Natural Resources Committees. I moved from Judiciary to Natural Resources Committee this year. I felt my knowledge and experience would be of more use to the legislative body by serving on the Natural Resources Committee.
This session 739 bills were submitted within the ten day window for bill introduction. It is my understanding that this the largest number of bills introduced during the 90 day session since the early two-thousands. Each Senator has the right, under our current rules structure, to submit as many bills as they wish. I have submitted six bills for this session. I believe that working with my fellow Senators on legislation helps cut down on the overall number of bills. I see no merit in introducing bills that other Senators have been focusing on that have similar content. I will be co-signing onto several bills this session that address property tax relief. Since we are a unicameral, we rely on the public hearing process to be our “second house.” That means that all 739 bills will have a public hearing. We have only until March 28th to have all 739 hearings. It’s going to be some late nights for several committees.
As I mentioned earlier, I have introduced six bills session:
• LB 61 Change and eliminate provisions relating to rabies
• LB 198 Change provisions relating to use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony and prohibit use of a facsimile firearm to commit a felony
• LB 343 Adopt the School Safety Rapid Response Option Act and authorize schools to allow employees to carry concealed handguns
• LB 693 Neighbor Spoofing Protection Act – Prohibit the selling, renting, or conveying of telephone numbers
• LR 7 Resolution to Congress for an Article V convention of the states to propose amendments to the United States Constitution
• LB 451 Adopt the Faithful Delegate to Federal Article V Convention Act
I encourage everyone to go to the Nebraska Legislatures’ website www.nebraskalegislature.gov to read and track the progress of my bills and other bills that are of interest to you. It is a relatively easy website to navigate. If you need help, please call my office at 402.471.2712 and my staff would be happy to walk you through the steps to find a particular bill.
I want to thank all of the people who came out to my first “Coffee with the Senator” gatherings on January 26th at the C3 Hotel and Conference Center. This is a new location for us this year. I am grateful to th Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and the Adams Farm Bureau for sponsoring this venue for dialoguing with constituents in District 33. The next two Coffee with the Senator will be February 23 at the C3 Hotel and Conference Center in Hastings at 9:00 am followed the same day by a 12:00 pm gathering at Medina Street Vault Coffee Shop in Cairo Nebraska. These coffees provide the opportunity for me to share what is happening in the legislature this session and for constituents to ask questions about certain bills or express their general concerns. All are welcome.
The hot topic of the last “Coffee with the Senator” was my bill LB343, the School Safety Rapid Response Option Act. This bill Provides local control to School / Governing Boards to make the best decisions that address their unique and specific needs in keeping their students safe. The Act would allow a school’s (public, private, denominational, secondary, and post-secondary) governing body to develop a program authorizing school employees who hold valid permits issued under the Concealed Handgun Permit Act to voluntarily conceal carry handguns in or upon the school’s buildings, grounds, vehicle, or school-sponsored activity or athletic event.
A program developed by a school’s governing body may:
• Require school employs who wish to participate in the program to undergo additional training.
• Be limited to specific classes or types of employees.
• Limit the authority to carry a concealed handgun to specific places, events, or circumstances as they deem necessary or prudent.
Two items to note about this bill is that, a school’s governing body is not required to develop a program, and a school’s governing body cannot force any school employee to participate in the program they developed. This bill simply provides “local control” to school governing bodies with a school safety option of having school employees conceal carry on school grounds and school-sponsored activities and events. This is one option among many options a school board should be able to have in their toolbox to address the important issue of keeping our students safe from harm while attending school or school sponsored events.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office. My staff, or I, can be reached at the office in Lincoln, 402.471.2712 or email@example.com and visit my Facebook page, Senator Steve Halloran. Thank you and have a great day in Nebraska!