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While the road to property tax is still a narrow one, much will happen in the legislature in the week between the deadline for this column and its publication. But there is more going on in the body which is worth addressing.
My legislative bill 256 passed the legislature last week, and is currently headed to the Governor for his signature. That bill will allow our towns, cities, and villages to address vacant properties with ordinances to encourage making those properties available for new workforce housing. The bill is permissive legislation, which means that no community has to enact anything, only that they may, if necessary for their constituents. Lincoln and Omaha both already have similar ordinances they enacted years ago under their respective home rule charters. This bill will offer another valuable tool in the toolbox of economic developers in rural Nebraska.
The legislature also began last week to discuss the mid-biennium budget adjustments, as recommended by the Governor and amended by the Appropriations committee. There was lengthy and contentious discussion regarding LB 944, one of the three budget bills that prohibits Title X funds from going to an organization that performs or suggests abortion services. This bill was discussed for six hours and then was voted to advance to select file. This was the latest night that I have experienced on the floor of the legislature, as we adjourned around 11:30 PM.
I want to let you know that the registration for the Unicameral Youth Legislature is now available. This is a four day program for students who are interested in the legislative process. Each student is considered a senator who brings bills, listens to committee hearings, and practices debate in the historic Warner Chamber. There are scholarships available to cover costs. Please visit https://nebraskalegislature.gov/education/unicamyouth.php for more information.
Lastly, I’d like to remind you that my office is accepting applications for a temporary administrative assistant over the summer. If you know someone who would be interested in this, please pass the word along to them! Inquiries can be sent directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, using the subject line “Assistant.” If you have questions on this, or any other issues pertaining to your Legislature and state government, please do not hesitate to get in touch with my office at (402)471-2631.