Greetings from the Nebraska Unicameral. It has been a very busy session. At the beginning of this week Speaker Adams informed all of the members to be prepared for late nights, every night, for the remainder of the session. There have been multiple filibusters already this session, and a significant amount of bills are having a hard time advancing from General File to select file.
This week I had two very important bills debated on General File.
I introduced LB 158 on behalf of the Nebraska Department of Roads. This bill is essential for Nebraska retaining $6.2 million dollars in federal highway funding. LB 158 advanced out of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee unanimously. The Committee also prioritized this bill. Last year President Obama signed into law, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which is commonly referred to as MAP-21. This program funds $105 billion dollars worth of surface transportation programs throughout the United States over a 2-year period. A major legislative change in MAP-21 unfortunately put Nebraska out of compliance with federal law. Current Nebraska law allows installation of an ignition interlock device for the balance of the one-year revocation period after a 45-day license suspension. Federal law requires a full year of ignition interlock after the 45-day license suspension. LB 158 will make Nebraska law compliant with federal law. During the committee process the DMV articulated they would like to extend the license revocation period to 18 months. The DMV believed this would give people more time to have their ignition interlock installed and, hopefully reducing the incidence of people trying to reinstate their license prior to the end of the ignition interlock period. MAP-21 also removed the driving destination restrictions allowed with an ignition interlock. Both of these issues were addressed in amendments to LB 158. Fortunately LB 158 along with its underlying amendments passed without any opposition. I am hopeful it will have the same result on Select File and Final Reading and Nebraska will receive the $6.2 million dollars in federal highway funding.
My priority bill, LB 299, was also debated this week. I introduced LB 299 on behalf of the city of Hastings. Current state law allows a city of the first class to elect no more than 3-at large city council members. The current law was not applicable to first class cities with 4 wards. Hastings has 4 wards. LB 299 would change that allowing for a 4-ward first class city to elect 4 at large city council members but must also keep the minimum of 1 city council member from each ward. This issue may be placed on a General election ballot by the City Council or by petition with signatures that exceed 25% of the vote for the last election for City Council member. LB 299 also passed without opposition. I believe it will clear the next two rounds as well.
As always please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of any assistance to you or your family. My Capitol office number is (402) 471-2712 and you can always reach me by email at email@example.com.