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The “interim” is the official government term for the time between the 60 and 90 day sessions of the Legislature. Government looks at this time as a waiting period before they can intervene in your life and freedoms to a greater depth; you should look at it as a respite from the onslaught of the nanny state. To me, it is a return to the sanity of real life of God, family, friends and the pursuit the freedoms we still share. Although, for me, it is not a true absence; government growth resists being restrained completely. There will be times I will return to Lincoln for interim studies in the Education Committee, which I chair, and the Economic Development Task Force, which I am a member of.
LB998; is an attempt to codify in law the expansion of Educational Service Units’ (ESUs) duties into the area of family services and student mental health by establishing a social worker program. It was to be funded by private donations, which should throw up red flags; private money comes with conditions. Nebraska does need to have a discussion on the expectations we have of ESUs. Are they outdated? Do we need to refocus their purpose? Or should we go so far as to eliminate them and incorporate their mission into the public school system and the State Department of Education? The Governor’s veto was the correct action.
LB873; Urban Affair’s Priority Bill is a perfect example of a Christmas tree bill with too much weight. It originally was a cleanup bill, meant to eliminate antiquated, obsolete or unnecessary language in statutes and to alphabetize and clarify provisions and references in existing law. It grew into a Christmas tree when senators wishing to pass their bills pressured the committee to hang their legislation onto the Committee’s priority. Components of seven unrelated bills were amended into LB873. They included everything from creating municipal land banks where a city could enter into real-estate ventures by purchasing dilapidated properties and then replace or refurbish before placing them on the open real-estate market to requiring cities to address early childhood development in comprehensive plans and also use Quality Growth Fund (LB840) tax dollars. Christmas trees allow bad laws to be passed as they slide through the legislative process on the backs of needed legislation, all without enough time for fair and full debate. As chairman of a committee, there is pressure to help a friend get their dying legislation passed by allowing it to be amended into a priority bill. As Education Committee Chairman, I resist those overtures, any exception better have an overriding urgency to do the public good. The Governor’s veto is good government.
LB449 Senator Chambers’ repeal of the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act. I voted for the repeal based on my strong belief in protecting property rights. I thought the statute gave county government excessive enforcement authority to abrogate a citizens’ property rights. Either way, the law has no effect on Lincoln County or 91 other counties who have not enacted a related ordinance. Only Sheridan County has done so and it has never enforced the ordinance. I realize the threat of the law is often enough to get an irresponsible landowner to control his prairie dog infestation and I fully understand why the Governor vetoed LB449. It isn’t like Senator Chambers and the Governor have a good working relationship.
A recent local editorial about an email exchange I had with an individual critical of my positions is best described as “much ado about nothing” although JoAnne Young, a reporter from the Lincoln Journal Star, did contact me and wrote an accurate story about the exchange and the individual’s Facebook post. Make no mistake I take no bait unless I am reversing who is doing the reeling-in. Radical groups that even Bernie Sanders would not claim use the internet to distort and create false news to attack and threaten political officials they disagree with. I will not be intimidated nor forfeit my free-speech rights. This endeavor has garnered the response I sought. It is now in the hands of the authorities.
Contact Sen. Mike Groene: firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-2729.