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Legislature Tackles the Budget
Most of the week was spent debating various components of the budget. The Governor submits a budget to the Legislature early in the session. The Appropriations Committee then conducts hearings on agency requests for funds and other requests for operating and capital expenses. The Appropriations Committee presents a budget book to the Legislature that summarizes their proposals for spending.
This year, the budget decisions are debated as seven separate bills. Two bills address salary issues, one bill covers most of the state operating expenses, one bill covers most of the capital investments, and the other bills cover various transfers of funds. This year’s budget stresses investment in education and sets aside a healthy investment into our cash reserves.
New spending and tax cuts passed in legislation this year must get approved as “A” bills and must fit within existing remaining revenues remaining after meeting the obligations of the budget and our cash reserves.
NCSL Spring Forum
Last weekend I attended the Spring Forum for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). NCSL brings together state legislators and staff from both parties to learn from one another and make use of the best ideas and research available. I found the sessions on veterans and military issues and budget issues most helpful. I was proud to represent Nebraska. Discussions with legislator colleagues from other states made me all the more proud of, and grateful for, our nonpartisan system.
The students from Fairview Elementary asked great questions during their visit to the Capitol this week! I enjoyed answering their questions about how someone becomes a state legislator, how long we serve, and why I wanted to serve Bellevue.