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Last Wednesday, January 9th was the first day of the 106th Nebraska Legislature’s first session. We voted to elect a chairperson for each 14 of the standing committees. I was re-elected to serve as chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. I am happy to retain the role as chairman and am thankful that the body of the legislature believes in my ability to serve in such capacity.
Along with electing the chair people of each committee we also assign members to the various committees. Every senator, except the Speaker, serve on committees. Each senator must sit on a committee Monday through Friday. Different committees meet on certain days and schedule hearings for all the bills assigned to them. I will chair Natural Resources every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Monday and Tuesday, I am on the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. I am also a member of the Executive Board and the Referencing Committee. The Executive Board meets as needed throughout the session, while the Referencing Committee, which refers introduced bills, resolutions and gubernatorial appointments to the standing committees according to subject jurisdiction, meets for the first 10 days of the session.
The first day of session was full of activity, the new and re-elected senators were sworn in and the legislative body voted on chairmanships. On the second day, senators began submitting bills for this session. On the first day of bill introduction, there were 135 bills introduced. I imagine we could see as many as 700 bills this session. Senators have until the 10th working day, January 23rd to introduce new legislation.
The capitol building is chaotic the first few days because of the shuffling of offices. Every two years there is an office “lottery” for the new senators and current ones that are interested in changing offices. It can be a hectic few days for everyone moving offices and for the freshman senators setting up their new offices. Of course, there is a whole host of new staff personnel trying to become acquainted with all of the senators and veteran staffers. Currently, the southwest quadrant is closed for construction which means there are 18 senators located in the tower of the building. With 13 new senators and new chair people, there has been a lot of movement as everyone tries to settle into their new offices. Since I am staying as chairman for Natural Resources my office is still located in room 1210, which is in the southeast corner of the first floor.
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.