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We are closing in on the halfway point of the first session of the 104th Legislature. Senators forge ahead on schedule with floor debate in the morning and committee hearings in the afternoon. Over the next few weeks, the bulk of the remaining of public hearings will conclude and the body will begin meeting in session all day on the floor.
During the last two weeks of floor debate, senators have debated a wide array of proposed legislation. Several bills have led to extensive debate among senators, resulting in close votes by the Unicameral. LB 10 would abandon Nebraska’s unique system of splitting electoral votes adopted in 1991 and return to the national standard of a winner-take-all. The bill was advanced to the next step in the legislative process after a cloture vote to end a filibuster succeeded with only the minimum 33 required votes. LB 10 will come up again for debate in Select File.
Following the presentation of the preliminary budget to the Legislature, the Appropriations Committee has begun public hearings with agencies and on specific appropriations bills. We recently heard a number of proposals related to increase funding of the Property Tax Relief Credit Fund through either the General Fund or the Cash Reserve Fund. We have outlined a variation of those proposals in our preliminary budget, adding an additional $45 million to the fund.
Last week I presented two bills in the Appropriations Committee that centered around post-secondary education in Nebraska. LB 565 aims to provide critical funding to institutions providing programming and training in fields designated as “high-need” and integral to the workforce demands and future economic well-being of Nebraska. LB 496 establishes the Yeutter Institute for International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska. Honoring former United States Secretary of Agriculture Clayton Yeutter, the institute would be a public-private partnership would enhance Nebraska’s role as a leader in agriculture, business, and law. Among those writing letters of support for the Yeutter Institute were former President George H.W. Bush and former U.S. Senator Ben Nelson.
This upcoming week, I will have a hearing on LB 318, which provides needed economic development funding in regions across Nebraska. I have had the honor of receiving support from a number of municipalities in District 38 and I look forward to those who will be advocating for my bill at the hearing.
A number of constituents from the district stopped by for visits to the Capitol and to participate in committee hearings. I always encourage constituents to give testimony, make their voice heard, and be a part of what makes Nebraska’s system of governing so unique. The people of this state truly are the second house of our legislative branch.
As always, I welcome your questions or concerns and I truly value your input regarding pending legislation or any particular issue. My office can be reached at 402-471-2732 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For daily updates, please follow me on Twitter @JohnKuehnDVM.
Senator John Kuehn, District 38