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It was a busy week in the Legislature the previous week. We made some headway, covered a lot of territory and subject matter, but we also spun our wheels quite a bit. The only thing we are dealing with is priority bills, both personal and committee. Fortunately, last Friday we passed bills that have a personal or committee priority tie to myself. I am sure you have been reading and hearing about some of the dustups between a few of my colleagues. Let me tell you it is never as exciting as what the press tries to make it out to be. Unfortunately, sometimes during the heat of debate, passion and emotion takes a front seat to decorum. All in all, it is not a pretty process at times but it does work most of the time.
LB 814, a bill to prohibit dismemberment abortions was heard for three hours this past week. Senator Geist will need to show Speaker Scheer a vote card with at least 33 names of senators in favor, before we will have another three hours of debate and a cloture vote to move this bill on to the second round. I am hopeful Senator Geist will have more than 33 to show the Speaker. I am a co-sponsor of this bill and I want to see it across the finish line.
LB 147, a bill to allow teachers to restrain students who are being violent to themselves or to other students, had its second three hours of debate on the first round. It went down on a 32-15-2 vote. Senator Groene, the principal introducer, had 33 votes lined up for the cloture vote but at the last minute one senator flipped his vote and the bill was dead. I do not fault anyone for changing their mind, but if you have given someone your word on a particular issue and your vote flips, you owe that senator the courtesy of telling them as soon as you can so they have time to try and replace your vote.
Of course we are still trying to work out a deal to provide property tax relief for all Nebraska taxpayers. I do believe there are several million dollars available for that purpose. The challenge now is how do we redistribute those funds in an equitable and fair manner. Hopefully by the time you are reading this the dust has settled and the smoke has cleared and there is a plan in place to provide significant property tax relief to all property owners across the state.
As you can tell from the three paragraphs above, we are dealing with some highly charged issues during the waning days of the 106th Legislature, second session. It is no wonder we get a bit testy with each other from time to time. Covid has also brought challenges to our lives on a daily basis these last few weeks and months. I am more than ready to wrap this session up and head for the wide open spaces of southwest Nebraska.