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Day forty-four was last Thursday and with only sixteen working days left in this year’s short session there is still plenty to be discussed. Last week, we started late nights, debated the budget bills, and passed another one of my bills on to select file. I would also like to clear up some confusion with the amendment I added to LB 822.
The budget is an important topic this session. We had three bills related to the budget debated last week. LB 946, LB 945, and LB 944. On Tuesday we discussed these bills until nearly a quarter to midnight. LB 944 dealt with Title X funds, which are given to healthcare clinics. One of the big issues is, in the past some of this money went to fund abortions. With the language included that was voted out of committee by a 9-0 vote, and past the first round of debate, the part of those clinics that are providing abortions must be paid for by separate and distinct funds. Meaning no tax dollars can be used to fund abortions. This change in no way stops funds flowing to our health clinic in McCook.
Late nights started last week in the capitol. During the remainder of this session the Speaker will designate a handful of days that we will work late nights. On these nights the full body will stay and try to work through the agenda and address as many bills as possible. If necessary, we can continue debate until 11:59pm. These nights are necessary, with only sixty working days this session and more than 500 bills introduced this year we need more time to debate these important issues.
My third bill of the session was advanced to select file, LB 760. LB 760 is a common sense bill that helps the county volunteer first responders. In 2016, county volunteers were unintentionally left out of a tax credit. With the passage of this bill they too will be able to receive the credit. There was a little debate on the bill, it passed on a 33-0 vote.
To clear up some confusion with LB 822, the amendment that the committee adopted is the result of a compromise between media representatives and public power. The amendment is important to our utilities who produce power in Nebraska, but more so to Nebraska ratepayers. The amendment will allow public power in Nebraska to withhold competitive or proprietary information about generating costs that would give an advantage to its business competitors who also produce electricity.
I would like to thank both Elwood High School and Bertrand High School for coming to visit me last week. I always enjoy having people from district come to visit. The students were very engaging and interested in the political process. If you are ever in Lincoln please feel free to stop by my office.
I always enjoy hearing from the Nebraskans I represent. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is (402) 471-2805.You can read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov, and you can click on the Live Video Streaming NET logo to watch sessions, hearings, and other Capitol events.