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The Legislature successfully concluded the special session called to enact legislation pertaining to redistricting on Thursday, September 30. Based on the 2020 census data, new boundary lines were drawn for Congress, the Legislature, the Supreme Court, the Public Service Commission, the State Board of Education and the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. After a contentious start, senators agreed to compromise on redistricting maps for Congress and the Legislature. All six bills were given final approval and will go into effect upon the governor’s signature.
Under the Congressional redistricting plan, District #1 lost Saunders, Otoe, and a portion of Polk County, as well as Burt and Washington Counties, most of Thurston County, and a small portion of Dixon County. This was primarily due to the population growth in the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County. District #2 retained all of Douglas County and the western portion of Sarpy County and picked up Saunders County. District #3 now covers 79 counties, plus a portion of Polk County. It had to grow in size geographically due to loss of population and contains all the counties in Legislative District #40.
Under the Legislative redistricting plan, Legislative District #36 is eliminated. It is currently represented by Senator Matt Williams of Gothenburg. LD36, covering Custer, Dawson and a portion of Buffalo County, was moved to Sarpy County. According to the 2020 census data, rural Nebraska was to lose 1-2 senators to the metropolitan area based on population shifts in the state. I was glad that the final map only moved one district from the rural areas. Legislative District #40 will no longer contain Rock and Boyd Counties, nor the southern portion of Dixon County. It gained Antelope County and the northern portion of Pierce County. Holt, Knox, and Cedar Counties were not altered and remain in LD40. I look forward to representing these new areas, but will continue to respond to constituents in the counties from which I was elected as well.
LB 406, which passed earlier this year, created the Statewide Tourism and Recreational Water Access and Resource Sustainability Special Committee of the Legislature. The Committee, on which I serve, has hired a consultant to study three areas of the state, including northern Knox County. The study is looking at the socioeconomic conditions, recreational and tourism opportunities, and the public investment necessary to enhance economic development in our area. The consultant hired was HDR out of Omaha and they have started their work in our area. The next step of the study process is a Design Workshop. The public is invited to join the HDR team as they develop and review design concepts in the study area, which includes the Lower Niobrara and Lewis & Clark Lake regions. The team will host a short presentation followed by an open house where attendees will be able to view proposed design concepts, ask questions of the project team, and provide feedback. These workshops will be held on October 12 through 15 at the Group Lodge at Niobrara State Park from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on Friday.
After these last couple of weeks in Lincoln, I will be back in Creighton most of the time until the next legislative session begins on January 5, 2022. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact my office. If I am not available, my staff will be able to assist you. I can be reached at District #40, P.O. Box 94604, State Capitol, Lincoln, NE 68509. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my telephone number is (402) 471-2801.