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As you know, we have just concluded the special legislative session to draw new boundary lines for the districts of five elected and one appointed group in our state; the House of Representatives, the Legislature, the Nebraska Public Service Commission, the State Board of Education, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, and the Nebraska Supreme Court. This decennial process is required by both the United States and Nebraska Constitutions on the heels of a U.S. census.
“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” That quote, attributed to 19th century German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, is a familiar and perhaps overly used saying. If you watched any of the debate during the special session, you saw how contentious, spirited and even silly some of the speeches on the floor can be. While the sausage quote was probably said tongue-in-cheek, it is one of those phrases we use that has some grains of truth. At the same time, as a member of our unique unicameral system, I heavily rely on the “second house” of our legislature, namely you, the citizens of our state, to keep a watchful eye on the process and help to keep lawmakers accountable. I appreciate all of the emails and phone calls I received from constituents regarding redistricting.
In order for there to be equal representation among the populous, each district is required by law to be similar in the number of persons living in it. Most of the redistricting was uncontested. The exceptions were for the three congressional districts and the forty-nine legislative districts.
For the 3rd U.S. Congressional District, the final compromise approved by the legislature moves Burt, Otoe, Thurston and Washington counties, as well as part of Polk County, into the district.
As I mentioned in my last update, my ideal was that Legislative District 38 could have remained the same. The final rendering of District 38 after redistricting, however brings Furnas, Harlan and Red Willow counties into the district. While I retain the city of Holdrege, the rest of Phelps County as well as Kearney County will be represented by Senator Halloran in District 33. Southwest Buffalo County will now be assigned to Senator Briese in District 41.
Be assured that I will continue to be available to the people who are no longer in the 38th District. I give a hearty welcome to and look forward to serving the new constituents from Harlan, Furnas, and Red Willow counties. I hope to make this as smooth a transition as possible.
I would welcome any comments, questions or ideas you may have on this or any other issue. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com or call my office at 402-471-2732.
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