During the first few days of the Legislatures One Hundred and Fifth Session, committee chairpersons have been elected, committee members have been determined, and the introduction of bills has begun. Senators who intend to introduce new bills have until the tenth day of the legislative session which falls on January 18th. Then committee hearings will begin shortly thereafter.
The new speaker elected for this session is Senator Jim Scheer from Norfolk. The following are the chairpersons for the standing committees: Agriculture: Lydia Brasch of Bancroft, Appropriations: John Stinner of Gering, Banking, Commerce, Insurance: Brett Lindstrom of Omaha, Business and Labor: Joni Albrecht of Thurston, Education: Mike Groene of North Platte, General Affairs: Tyson Larson of O’Neill, Government, Military and Veterans Affairs: John Murante of Gretna, Health and Human Services: Merv Riepe of Ralston, Judiciary: Laura Ebke of Crete, Natural Resources: Dan Hughes of Venango, Nebraska Retirement Systems: Mark Kolterman of Seward, Revenue: Jim Smith of Papillion, Transportation and Telecommunication: Curt Friesen of Henderson, Urban Affairs: Justin Wayne of Omaha, and Rules: Mike Hilgers of Lincoln. These leadership positions are represented by three different political parties and include returning senators, as well as, newly elected state senators. The freshman senators elected to lead committees are Hilgers, Albrecht and Wayne.
As the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, I have moved offices to room 1210 located in the southeast corner of the capitol. The members on the Natural Resources Committee include; Sen. Lynne Walz, Sen. Rick Kolowski, Sen. Joni Albrecht, Sen. Bruce Bostelman, Sen. Dan Quick, Sen. Suzanne Geist, and Sen. John McCollister. I am looking forward to working with these senators and talking about the following subject areas: water, public power, natural resources districts, environmental issues, energy, and recreation. Committee meetings are open to the public and will convene on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays in room 1525 on the 1st floor of the capitol.
I have also been reappointed as a member of the Executive Board. Early in this session the Executive Board will appoint a committee to hear and make a determination regarding the challenge of Senator Ernie Chambers residency. The board hopes to reach a resolution on this matter within the next few weeks.