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Death Penalty Debated
After a day and a half of serious debate this week, Senator Chamber’s bill to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without possibility of parole failed to garner the 33 votes needed to invoke cloture. The final vote to invoke cloture failed 28-20. I spoke on the floor about my concerns about the death penalty and voted to repeal it and replace it with life without possibility of parole.
Prior to this year’s bill, the last time the death penalty was debated was in 2009. At that time, an amendment to require the state auditor to study the costs of administering the death penalty in Nebraska failed 15-30.
Last week, the Legislature debated and passed seven bills that comprise this year’s budget. This week, the bills returned to Select File and were debated a second time. After additional debate and a few changes, the bills advanced to Final Reading, the third and final round of discussion, which we will begin on Monday.
School Aid Bill Sent to Governor Heineman
On Wednesday, the Legislature voted 47-0 to pass LB 407, this session’s school aid formula bill. LB 407 was passed with an “e-clause” or “emergency clause” which means it will go into effect as soon as the Governor signs it and it becomes law. The final compromise was a good fit for Bellevue schools and improved the level of support for many other schools across the state.
Typically, bills without such clauses go into effect 3-4 months after the session ends in June. Because the impact of “e-clause” bills is immediate, a higher vote threshold of at least two-thirds of the Legislature, or at least 33 votes, is needed to pass these bills.
On Wednesday morning, I attended a breakfast in Lincoln that was part of a statewide, multiple day Behavioral Health Conference “Success, Hopes and Dreams 2013.” Governor Heineman and Dr. Scot Adams, Director of Behavioral Health Services, presented Director’s Awards which honor Nebraskans who provide support to individuals dealing with addiction, recovery and mental health issues. It was great to hear about the good work so many are doing in the area of behavioral health. It was also great to see fellow Bellevue resident Kathy Hoell, Executive Director of Nebraska State Independent Living Council at this year’s breakfast.
This weekend Mission Middle School’s Science Olympiad team competed against teams from across the country at the National Science Olympiad tournament in Dayton, Ohio. A few weeks ago, the team won the State tournament–a ninth consecutive win for the team and coach Melody Kjerstad.
This weekend marked the return of the Farmer’s Market in Bellevue. This year, the market will run every Saturday from now until September 14. Located in Washington Park on Franklin Street, hours are from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Bellevue’s Farmer’s Market is in its fourth season. It is a great place to get fresh and local fruits and vegetables, as well as other baked good and flowers.
As the school year winds down and the weather warms up, I hope you find time to spend outdoors with family and friends.
All my best,