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On Wednesday, April 20th, the 104th Session of the Nebraska Legislature adjourned Sine Die. The end of the 60 day session marked the final legislative day for 11 senators who have reached the end of their constitutionally limited terms. During the course of the session, 216 separate bills were passed into law. An additional 66 introduced bills were packaged and amended into other bills, often as “omnibus” bills, and passed into law even though they were not debated individually as introduced. Of the bills prioritized by senators, committees, and the speaker, four were not debated on the floor due to limitations on time.
In addition to bills that were passed, several significant issues did not become law, either by defeat during floor debate or gubernatorial veto. Medical marijuana and Medicaid expansion were again defeated. A redistricting plan that would have put rural Nebraska at a significant disadvantage in a process that will most likely lead to a loss of 2 rural seats in the Legislature was fortunately vetoed by the Governor. Several issues became law that I do not support, including expansion of benefits for illegal aliens and deregulation of private electrical generation.
Over the course of the Interim months, I will be writing at greater length about a number of the issues debated by the Legislature this session that will likely appear next year. Many of the issues that need to be addressed are priorities for residents of District 38. Property taxes, education funding reform, spending restrictions, effective water management, and economic development are but a few of the issues that will be at the top of the list for next session. Even though the Legislature will not be in session, work on each of these issues will continue throughout the summer and fall.
In addition to my work on the Appropriations and Performance Audit Committees, I have been appointed to work on several special committees during the interim period. These include the ACCESS Nebraska Special Oversight Committee, the Biosciences Steering Committee, the Climate Change Policy Committee, and the Veterinary Prescription Drug Monitoring Task Force. The work of these special committees will center around hearings and stakeholder meetings for these very specific issues. If legislative solutions are needed to address the topics, the work of the special committees will form the basis of any legislation.
In addition to committee work, I will continue efforts over the interim on my priority issues. Right to Farm protection will continue to be my top priority. I will be actively engaged in continued discussions to address the property tax crisis through local spending control and education funding reform. Privacy issues that surround the expanded use of drones by private individuals and companies remain a concern, as well as continued efforts to bring more transparency to state government through more effective laws around lobbying and political influence.
I look forward to meetings and discussions over the coming months in communities throughout the seven counties of District 38. If your civic or community group would like me to join you for a discussion about topic before the Legislature, don’t hesitate to contact my office for scheduling.
As always, I value your questions on legislation. You can reach my office at 402-471-2732 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For updates during the session, please follow me on Twitter at @JohnKuehnDVM.
Senator John Kuehn, District 38