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Tim Gragert

Sen. Tim Gragert

District 40

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Wednesday, January 8 marked the first day of the One Hundred Sixth Legislature, Second Session. This also marks the beginning of the second year that I am serving as the representative of the 40th Legislative District. The 40th district covers the counties of Boyd, Cedar, Dixon, Holt, Knox and Rock.

Legislative sessions in even-numbered years last for 60 days. During the short session, senators will make any necessary adjustments to the two-year budget that was developed during the 90-day session in 2019. The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board met in October and increased previous forecasts for state revenue upward by $266 million over the current biennial budget period. By statute, the projected increase of $161 million for fiscal year 2019-20 must go into the Cash Reserve Fund. The projected increase in revenue of $105 million for the next fiscal year (2020-21) is retained in the General Fund. The Governor, as well as many senators, have stated that this should be dedicated to property tax relief.

Legislative bills that were not killed or passed by the Legislature last year are automatically carried over to this year’s session. There are approximately 85 carryover bills that have been advanced from committee, but have not been passed by the Legislature. Another 400 bills remain stuck in committee.  The Speaker has indicated that carryover 2019 priority bills that are still in play will be scheduled ahead of bills listed in worksheet order (the date that they advanced from committee). However, bills designated as 2020 priority bills will take precedence over any other piece of legislation. Senator Mark Kolterman of Seward has already designated LB 720 as his priority bill for 2020, as he did in 2019. LB 720 proposes to revamp Nebraska’s tax incentive program which rewards businesses for investment and employment growth. The current Nebraska Advantage Act sunsets at the end of 2020.

Property taxes will again be a top issue this year. I am optimistic that the Legislature will work together to provide additional tax relief for Nebraskans. In addition to business tax incentives and property tax relief, other priority issues this year include overcrowded prisons, funding for correction’s officers, Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers, student discipline, and workforce shortage.

Bills can be introduced during the first ten days of a legislative session, which occurs on January 23rd this year.  All bills that are introduced are guaranteed a public hearing before the committee that has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the legislation. The Legislature will meet in the mornings and the various committees meet in the afternoons for the first two months. Last year I was selected to serve on the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. I will continue serving on these committees this year. Beginning in March, the Legislature will meet in all day sessions until April 23, the scheduled date of adjournment.

A wealth of information is available on the Legislature’s website – NebraskaLegislature.gov. Viewers can read the text of bills introduced, search state laws, find their senator, follow the progress of a certain bill, read the Unicameral Update, and watch the Legislature live through video streaming. I encourage you to check out this site.

With the beginning of session, I will be in Lincoln during the week and home in Creighton on the weekends. My office is still located on the 11th floor, due to the HVAC project. If you are ever in the Capitol and want to visit with me, please call my office and my staff will come down and escort you up the elevator, as access in the tower is limited to staff and senators. Alex Brechbill serves as my administrative assistant. He is responsible for my calendar and answering the phone. Kim Davis is my legislative aide and is responsible for constituent issues and legislation.

In order to effectively represent District #40, I encourage your input. My email address is tgragert@leg.ne.gov and my mailing address is District #40, P.O. Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE  68509. My telephone number at the State Capitol is (402) 471-2801.

Sen. Tim Gragert

District 40
Room 11th Floor
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2801
Email: tgragert@leg.ne.gov
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