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Dan Hughes

Sen. Dan Hughes

District 44

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As you may remember, the Speaker of the Legislature, Jim Scheer of Norfolk, suspended the Nebraska Legislature’s session back in March because of public health concerns due to COVID-19.  As of right now the plan is for the Legislature to resume the 2020 session on July 20th and we’re scheduled to complete our work by August 13th.  The Speaker said, “the decision to resume the session was based on the belief that Nebraska will have reached the peak of COVID-19 cases by that time-and will not have experienced a resurgence in cases following the loosening of restrictions on businesses and social gatherings.”  He also said, “Please keep in mind that I reserve the right to alter this 2020 Reconvening Session Calendar should it appear best to do so.”  There have been plexiglass shields installed in the legislative chamber and there will be other safety measures put into place to protect members of the legislature and the legislative staff. 

When we suspended the session in March, we still had seventeen days left in our 2020 session and a number of bills that were scheduled for debate.  One of the most important items we must address is our budget.  We won’t know the complete impact of COVID on our budget so we must proceed with caution.  The speaker sent out a list of all of the priority bills that have a general fund impact. We will look closely at those bills because we must be very cautious on how we appropriate funds. None of my bills were on that list.  

Due to our short timeframe, bills that have been given priority designations will be debated first and have the best chance of passing. Three of my bills have been prioritized. In the next few weeks I will give you a quick refresher on these bills and other bills of interest.

Before the legislature suspended session I designated LB 931 as my personal priority bill. It was originally introduced by Senator Halloran of Hastings. LB 931 would amend Nebraska Rules of the Road relating to vehicles’ maximum weight overload exception by allowing seasonally harvested products to be transported from farm storage to market or factory. There is some question as to whether farms can haul from their fields to bin and bin to market. Carrier enforcement was interpreting the law one way and the farmers another way. The intention of this bill is to make this clearer to everyone. This bill was voted out of the Agricultural committee on an 8-0 vote and there were no opponents. This bill is currently on Select File and myself, along with a couple of other senators, are continuing to negotiate possible minor language changes to the bill that will continue to allow agricultural producers to move their crops to market in a timely fashion and eliminate the concerns of the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Sen. Dan Hughes

District 44
Room 2108
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2805
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