We have started all day debate and even though this session got off to a slow start we’re starting to get a lot of bills moving. This past week my bill LB 182 was debated on the floor of the legislature. This bill would clarify the qualifications for a program that provides financial assistance to cities and rural water districts to build safe drinking water projects. Also this week the legislature heard two more of my bills, LB 535 and LB 317. LB 535 provides an exception for filing a statement with the register of deeds when recording an oil, gas, or mineral lease. LB 317 provides for a re-levy or reassessment of a special assessment for cities of the second class or village. All of these bills were advanced to select file.
This week, the Natural Resources Committee’s two priority bills advanced to the next stage of debate. LB 566, which would enter Nebraska into the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact and strengthen penalties for Game Law violations, and LB 182, which helps cities and natural resource districts that run public water systems to qualify for funding and loan forgiveness from the state’s drinking water loan fund. The bill did not add new funds, it just clarified that NRDs are eligible for the available federal funding. Both of these laws will help Nebraska by providing additional tools to keep bad actors from hunting here, and by ensuring public water systems, and the NRDs who run them, are able to use federal funds available for their upkeep.
Another bill to help NRDs did not fare as well this week. Sen. Friesen’s LB 98 would extend the sunset date of the law that allows a three cent levy authority for districts that are fully or over appropriated until 2026. The levy can only be used for groundwater management and integrated management activities. The bill was filibustered by senators who do not understand the value of helping NRDs fund the water management tasks that are needed to help them out of their appropriation statuses. This is an important tool to generate matching funds revenue to access the state’s Water Sustainability Fund.
I had the opportunity this week to take some of my staff along with me to Imperial for a portion of the Upper Republican NRD’s water conference. While it was a long time in the car on one day, I was pleased that we were able to travel through the district, so my staff could see the area I proudly represent.
High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth Legislature June 11-14. At the State Capitol, student senators will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral.
The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students who have an interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate or public speaking. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators and staff.
“I believe the backbone of democracy is voter knowledge of our system and their clear understanding of the role citizens need to play in the continued success of our nation.”
– Senator Dan Hughes
Registrants are encouraged to apply for a Greg Adams Civic Scholarship award, which covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other $100 scholarships are also available.
The Office of the Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature coordinates the Unicameral Youth Legislature. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office coordinates housing and recreational activities as part of the Big Red Summer Camps program.
To learn more about the program, go to www.NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl or call (402) 471-2788. The deadline for registration is May 15.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Unicameral Information Office
I will be holding open Town Hall meetings all across the 44th district over the coming months. I will be listening to to your comments and answering your questions to ensure that I am in touch with the wishes of the people of Southwestern Nebraska. Look for dates and locations in your local paper, and on my Facebook page, located here.
Do you know a high school student with an interest in the legislative process? The Nebraska Unicameral Youth Legislature will be occurring again this year from June 5-8, in the Capitol Building in Lincoln. This is an outstanding opportunity for young Nebraskans to learn what it is like to serve as a State Senator, and to discover more about the Unicameral and Nebraska’s lawmaking process than they could in months of reading about it. The UYL is open to all high school students, and registration covers lodging, meals, and transportation. Scholarships are available, and the deadline to register is May 15th. More information is at http://nebraskalegislature.gov/uyl
The 104th Legislature, Second Session, convened on Wednesday, January 6th, 2016. This is the “short session,” making up the second half of the 104th Legislature, of which the 2015 Session was the first. These session lengths are set by the Nebraska Constitution, requiring sixty day sessions in even-numbered years and ninety day sessions in odd-numbered years. The sixty days and ninety days are counted by working days, and not by calendar days, so sixty working days for the legislature will have us adjourning on April 20th.
This session, I will continue to serve on the Executive Board and the Natural Resources, General Affairs and Urban Affairs Committees, and I will serve as the Chairman of the Building and Maintenance Committee. I will continue to work with my colleagues to find common sense solutions to the issues that we face here in Nebraska. As of today (Thursday, January 7th), I have introduced three bills, and will introduce a few more in the coming days. The last day for Senators to introduce bills this session is Wednesday, January 20th. As always, all of my bills can be found by clicking on “Bills Introduced” under “Resources” on the bar to the right of this page.
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. Contact information is located in the upper-right hand corner of this page.
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