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Now that the election is over and the dust has mostly settled, I will be turning my attention to the upcoming legislative session. The Legislature will have eight new incoming senators, five of which are brand new, and three that are former senators. The three former senators were term-limited out, sat out for at least two terms, and have come back for another stint. Of course, each new senator changes the dynamic of the Legislature, and finding how we all work together is key to the success of the legislative session. Since the election, I have been working to build relationships with these new senators. With senators being termed out, some of the old alliances are now gone. New alliances will need to be forged in order to get things accomplished.
I am working very hard on next year’s agenda of items and bills that I want to introduce. Several are directly related to issues within the 44th legislative district, and others are statewide issues that have the potential to benefit the majority of Nebraskans.
I have also decided to seek a change in my leadership role within the Legislature. I will not be seeking reelection as Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, a position I have held for the last four years. I have instead decided to seek the chairmanship of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council. The Executive Board of the Legislative Council supervises all legislative services and employees. The board is responsible for processing any legislation that governs the Legislature or the legislative process. That can include some of the following subject areas: legislative ethics, term limits, senator and employee salaries, legislative candidate requirements, and any constitutional amendments pertaining to these issues. Senator Hilgers served as the chairperson of the Executive Board for the last two years and has decided to run for Speaker of the Legislature. Having served for six years on the Executive Board, I feel my qualifications and my experience would serve me well as the chairman.
The 107th legislative session is scheduled to begin on January 6, 2021. However, depending on the Covid situation, it is not clear if that will come to pass, or if there will be an alternative schedule. The Legislature does have to be cognizant of the fact that we are obligated to pass a budget this session. The state’s fiscal year ends on June 30th, and we must have a new biennium budget in place before that date. One way or another we will be meeting between January and June 30th. Hopefully in the next few months, a vaccine will be widely available. In the meantime, we will continue to adhere to the health directives and practice social distancing. I am confident the Legislature will be able to meet and conduct our business in a safe fashion and get the peoples’ business finished before the June 30th deadline.