Welcome

January 8th, 2014

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 40th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Tyson Larson

April 4, 2014 Legislative Update

April 4th, 2014

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

Several big issues were tackled this week and with only a few days of session remaining, we are continuing our work into the late night hours.  On Tuesday, we spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon discussing overriding various vetoes made by the Governor on the three budget bills.  The Appropriations Committee recommended overrides on the majority of the vetoes made, including the vetoes on replacing the Capitol HVAC system, on the funding to Game and Parks, and on the funding to behavioral health aid and job training, among others. The recommended veto overrides were successful and signified the close to this year’s budget process.

We also debated overriding the Governor’s veto on LB671, which is the bill introduced by Senator Chambers to ban mountain lion hunting.  This is a bill I have been opposed to throughout session and I could not support the veto override motion.  The motion to override the Governor’s veto failed on Thursday and Game and Parks can continue to regulate mountain lion hunting in our state.  I believe it is incredibly important to allow for a mountain lion hunting season to protect our livestock and agriculture industry throughout Nebraska.

In addition to discussing veto overrides, we continued debate on various priority bills.  LB1058 was the bill I selected as my priority for this session.  After hearing from my constituents and others across the state, I decided to remove it from the agenda this session.  My goal with this bill is to ensure the voice of Nebraskans is as strong as possible when it comes to electing the President of the United States and that every vote matters.  I believe the concepts outlined in LB1058 are a strong step in that direction. I have requested that the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee hold public hearings on the National Popular Vote proposal this interim to answer the questions posed to me about LB1058.  I look forward to working on this issue during the upcoming months.

If you have any questions regarding legislation introduced or any other issue, please contact my office at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

 

March 28, 2014 Legislative Update

March 28th, 2014

March 28, 2014 Legislative Update

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

At the end of this week we will have less than 10 days left of this legislative session.  On Monday, we spent the afternoon taking up bills on a special agenda called consent calendar.  Consent calendar is made up of bills that are non-controversial and do not have a fiscal impact.  I had two bills on consent calendar this year, LB697 and LB698.  LB697 would require the Department of Revenue to publish a list of tax delinquent properties across the state on its website.  LB698 would allow those living along state highways to apply for a hay harvest permit every year, instead of every other year, to mow and harvest hay along the right of ways.  Both bills were advanced to select file.

LB699 was also on the agenda on Monday.  This bill would allow individuals with developmental disabilities to obtain hunting permits if they meet certain qualifications.  It also eliminates from statute the hours requirement for the state’s hunter education programs.  LB699 was on final reading but what brought back to select file to add an amendment from Senator Lathrop.  This amendment, AM2566, removed from statute outdated and unnecessary language relating to a federal law regulation of the purchase and sale of firearms.  The NRA was very supportive of this amendment and I was happy to let Senator Lathrop use LB699 as a vehicle to get it passed.  LB699 passed on Thursday and will now go to the Governor for his signature.

We also discussed LB526, which is a bill introduced by Senator Howard to expand the scope of practice for optometrists.  This bill will allow optometrists the ability to prescribe certain medications,  make certain injections, and perform minor surgical procedures around the eyes.  I believe this bill will help expand access to these important services in rural areas across our state, especially in areas where there are few practicing ophthalmologists.   On Monday, we passed all three budget bills and sent them to the Governor for his approval or veto.  Any vetoes to items in the budget will likely be taken up soon.

Please feel welcome to call, write, or visit the office that is here to represent you at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

 

March 21, 2014 Legislative Update

March 21st, 2014

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

With only a few more weeks of session remaining, the Legislature began its late night schedule this week.  Late nights give us more time to get through the day’s agenda and will allow us to tackle as many bills as we can until we adjourn on Day 60.  On Wednesday, we debated the second round of the three budget bills put forward by the Appropriations Committee.  There was some additional discussion on some items in the mainline budget bill, but in the end all three bills have been advanced to final reading.  I look forward to their eventual passage and am proud of the work our Committee accomplished this session.

On Tuesday, we spent the afternoon and first late night session discussing LB887, which is the bill brought by Senator Campbell to expand the state’s Medicaid program.  As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I have been concerned about the fiscal impact an expanded Medicaid program would have on our state over the long-run. I also received a large number of phone calls and emails from our district in opposition to this bill.  I decided to vote no on the cloture vote that would have ended debate on LB887.  The bill was debated for eight hours before it was removed from the agenda after the cloture vote failed.

In addition to the budget and LB887, the Legislature moved through several bills on general and select file this week.  On Thursday evening, we discussed Senator Karpisek’s proposal to change how the state undertakes its redistricting process.   The Legislature also continued debate on Senator Murante’s LB946, which is one of the bills I mentioned last week.  This bill makes several changes to election law in our state and advanced to final reading on Thursday as well.  I anticipate that my priority bill, LB1058, will be on the agenda in the next few weeks.  LB1058 would provide Nebraska with the option of electing the President of the United States by national popular vote.

Please feel welcome to call, write, or visit the office that is here to represent you at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

 

March 14, Legislative Update

March 14th, 2014

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

On Monday we reached Day 40 of our 60 day session, marking the start of the final weeks of debate here in Lincoln.  Our priority this week was to get the budget bills through general file.  We advanced all three bills on Tuesday.  There was much discussion generated regarding certain items in the mainline budget bill and I anticipate we will see more debate when the bills come up again on select file.  I am happy that my funding requests for Game and Parks and the DMV made it into these bills and I look forward to the budget advancing again within the next few weeks.

In addition to the funding going to Game and Parks and the DMV, the Appropriations Committee also considered the funding requests that resulted from the Water Funding Task Force that met this interim.  LB906, one of the three budget bills being debated this year, creates the Water Sustainability Fund that will be managed by the Department of Natural Resources.  The bill will appropriate $21 million to the Water Sustainability Fund this year, and an additional $11 million will be appropriated each fiscal year starting in 2015-2016.  This Fund will help Nebraska with its current and future water issues and I believe this is an important priority for the state going forward.

We also debated LB946, which is a bill brought by Senator Murante that makes several changes to election laws in our state.  Included in this bill are provisions to change the number of school board members for Class II and Class III school districts, changes the wages received by the counting board for counting ballots for school district bonds, and allows for Class IV and Class V school districts to hold special elections in conjunction with primary or general elections held in cities of the primary or metropolitan classes.  These changes, among others, would help streamline elections processes across the state.  I support this bill and I look forward to advancing it to final reading.

If you have any questions regarding legislation introduced or any other issue, please contact my office at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

March 7, 2014 Legislative Update

March 7th, 2014

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

On Tuesday, we started full day debate on designated priority bills for this session.  We will continue with full days of debate until session comes to an end on April 17.  This Thursday, LB699 advanced from select file to final reading.  Final reading is the last step in the legislative process where senators take the final vote on a bill, and if the bill passes, it will be sent on to the Governor.  I anticipate LB699 will come up on final reading within the next few weeks.  This bill is an important step to giving individuals with developmental disabilities the ability to participate in the sport of hunting and I am glad I was able to bring LB699 this session.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I have spent this past week with my fellow committee members preparing and voting on the final budget bills for this session.  Three of the bills I introduced this session went before the Appropriations Committee to be considered as part of the overall budget requests for this year.  I am happy to report that the Committee and I helped fund the requests I made in those bills.

LB874 and LB873 were bills to provide substantial funding to the Game and Parks Commission.  Game and Parks has a long list of  maintenance projects they need to complete across the state. However, due to insufficient funds, they haven’t had the resources to tackle many of these projects.  The funding we will provide to Game and Parks will help improve state parks across our state and in our district.  Ponca State Park will also be receiving money to update its swimming pool complex and to build new cabins.  These improvements to Ponca State Park will help attract fellow Nebraskans and visitors from across the country to come and enjoy the beautiful natural settings we have in District 40.

Additionally, the Appropriations Committee decided to fully fund the request I made to give $12.5 million to the Department of Motor Vehicles.  This money will allow the DMV to start the process of replacing their current, and very outdated, vehicle titling and registration system.  Updating the current system will help the state streamline its vehicle titling and registration process and bring the overall system up to speed with current technological standards.  This request and the rest of the proposed funding requests in the final budget bills will be discussed and voted on by the Legislature next week.

Please feel welcome to call, write, or visit the office that is here to represent you at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

 

February 28, 2014 Legislative Update

February 28th, 2014

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

We are officially past the halfway point of this session and we have many big issues facing us in the next few weeks.  Committee hearings wrapped up this week and next Tuesday we begin full-day debate on priority bills.  Last Thursday, senators and committees finalized their priority bill designations for the session.  One of my bills, LB699, was chosen as a committee priority for the Natural Resources Committee.  I selected LB1058 as my personal priority for this session.

This Thursday, LB699 was debated on the floor.  LB699 makes changes to statutes relating to hunting practices.  This bill would allow individuals with developmental disabilities the ability to obtain a hunting permit under certain conditions, and will expand opportunities for those individuals to participate in the sport of hunting.   LB699 will also eliminate the hours requirement for hunter education programs.  This change would let the Game and Parks Commission have additional flexibilities when putting together hunter education programs in the future.   The bill had some good discussion and I am looking forward to moving this bill through the legislative process.

As mentioned above, I selected LB1058 as my personal priority bill.  LB1058 would adopt the Interstate Compact on the Agreement Among State to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.  The Compact would take effect when states, making up the majority of electoral votes across the country, have adopted and enacted the compact as well.  Electing the president by national popular vote is something I’ve been interested in for quite some time and I anticipate this bill will be debated soon.

Please feel welcome to call, write, or visit the office that is here to represent you at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

February 14, 2014 Legislative Update

February 14th, 2014

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

As the halfway point of session nears, the Legislature has begun debate on senators’ individual priority bills.  Each senator is allowed to select one bill as their own personal priority bill, and it helps guarantee that the bill selected will be debated by the full body.  This week we spent some time debating LB438, which was prioritized and introduced by Speaker Greg Adams of District 24.  This bill’s goal is to identify and assist low-performing school districts and to focus efforts on improving those districts.  Senators engaged in important discussions regarding Nebraska’s education system and what can be done to improve schools across the state.

The Legislature also passed another one of my bills this week, LB56, and sent it to the Governor for his signature.  LB56 allows the automatic advancement of partisan candidates to the general election if the candidate is running unopposed in a party’s primary.  This change would apply to county office races.  Additionally, I recieved LB597 back from the Governor this week with his approval.  This bill made changes to the statutes governing county agricultural societies and I am glad these societies will be able to take advantage these new aspects of the law.

On Thursday I had my last bill hearing of the session in front of the Appropriations Committee.  LB738 would appropriate money to the Department of Motor Vehicles to help them fund a new Vehicle Titling and Registration System.  The current system was put together in the late 1980s and needs significant updates to keep up with changing technology and motor vehicle processing.  The DMV has taken preliminary steps to identify a replacement system and these funds would allow them to continue with their work and, eventually, purchase a new system. The hearing went very well and I look forward to discussing this bill with fellow Appropriations Committee members.

If you have any questions regarding legislation introduced or any other issue, please contact my office at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

February 7, 2014 Legislative Update

February 7th, 2014

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

We are officially one-quarter of the way through this short session and passed our first round of bills this Friday.  One of the bills we sent to the Governor is LB597, which is a bill I introduced last year to make some changes to the statutes governing county agricultural societies.  I anticipate the Governor will sign this bill and I am glad I had the opportunity to usher this bill through the legislative process.  I believe it will benefit many of the agricultural societies across our state.

As I mentioned in my last update, three of my bills went up for hearings this week.  On Monday, I had a very successful hearing in front of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on LB698.  This bill would allow landowners to apply for hay harvest permits every year instead of every other year.  There was no opposition testimony at the hearing and the bill was advanced out of committee with strong support.

I also had two hearings in front of the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.  Both of these bills were to provide funding for the Game and Parks Commission to improve the state’s parks system.  The positive testimony at the hearing reinforced the importance of maintaining and improving our parks and how invaluable our park system is to Nebraska.  I am eager to continue discussions with my fellow Appropriations members on how best to implement the funding requests in these bills.

Next week, I will have another hearing in front of the Appropriations Committee on LB738, which is a bill I introduced to provide funding to the Department of Motor Vehicles so they can begin the process of updating their Vehicle Title Registration system.  The current system is outdated and needs to be brought up to speed with today’s technological standards.  I know this bill will be a first step in the right direction to giving the DMV the funding it needs to move forward with this update.

Please feel welcome to call, write, or visit the office that is here to represent you at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

January 31, 2014 Legislative Update

January 31st, 2014

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

This week we continued with floor debate in the mornings, followed by hearings on new legislation in the afternoons.  On Thursday and Friday the Legislature focused on select file bills, which are bills that have made it through one round of debate and are close to being passed by the full body.  Two of my bills, LB56 and LB597, were on select file this week.  Both were advanced to the last step in the legislative process on Thursday morning.  I anticipate that both will be passed and sent to the Governor within the next few weeks.

Next week, three of my newly-introduced bills will have hearings.  On Monday, LB698 will have a hearing in front of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.   LB698 would allow landowners who want to mow or harvest hay on right-of-ways along state highways to apply for permits to do so every year, instead of every other year.  Many of you contacted me this summer with questions and frustrations with the current statute, so I hope this piece of legislation can clarify some of the confusion and bring us in line with practices in other states.

I will also have two hearings in front of the Appropriations Committee, which is the Committee I am currently a member of.  Both of these bills relate to appropriations to the Game and Parks Commission for parks improvement and maintenance.  LB874 would provide funding to Ponca State Park to improve and update the swimming pool and to build new cabins for visitors to enjoy.  Ponca State Park is such an important part of our district and I know this money would help the park upgrade its facilities, allowing people to enjoy the park for years to come.  LB873 would be a more general appropriation to Game and Parks of fifteen million dollars to be used for park improvement and maintenance across the state.  I look forward to the hearings on these bills on Tuesday.

Please feel welcome to call, write, or visit the office that is here to represent you at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson

 

January 24, 2014 Legislative Update

January 24th, 2014

Dear Residents of the 40th District,

This week we wrapped up bill introduction for this session.  Close to 460 pieces of new legislation and six proposed constitutional amendments were introduced and all will be scheduled for public hearings over the next few weeks.   Senators will also continue with floor debate in the mornings.

On Thursday, the Legislature spent time debating another one of my bills, LB597.  LB597 would make some changes to the statutes that govern county agricultural societies.  This bill would allow these societies some  flexibility when it comes to buying, selling, and leasing the real estate each society owns.  It would also allow them to make equipment purchases with the levy money collected by each county for its respective agricultural society.   County agricultural societies are important entities for our counties and I am glad this bill advanced with strong support to the next step in the legislative process.

Two of my bills received hearings this week.  LB699 had its hearing on Wednesday in front of the Natural Resources Committee.   This bill would give individuals with special needs opportunities to participate in the sport of hunting, as well as make some changes to the current hunter education requirements.  The hearing went very well and had a lot of support from those who came to testify.

LB697 had its hearing on Thursday in front of the Revenue Committee.  LB697 is a straightforward bill that would require the Department of Revenue to publish a compiled list of tax delinquent properties from across the state.  This would put the details on these properties in one place so that interested individuals can have easier access to that information.  I am hopeful that both this bill and LB699 will advance to be debated by the full Legislature.

Please feel welcome to call, write, or visit the office that is here to represent you at (402) 471-2801 or at tlarson@leg.ne.gov.

Best Wishes,

Senator Tyson Larson