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LB 429 and LB 368 Become Law
On Tuesday, Governor Dave Heineman signed LB 429 and LB 368 into law. As I discussed last week, LB 429 will bring increased government accountability and transparency to the state contracting process by requiring all contracts be publicly available online and searchable by agency, vendor and dollar amount. LB 368 will create new workforce development incentives for small businesses looking to expand while creating new job opportunities for low-income Nebraskan families. These bills reflect promises I made on the campaign trail to ensure Nebraska has good jobs and good government.
This session, the Legislature passed three of the six bills I introduced this session, along with seven resolutions honoring Nebraska residents. Earlier this session, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed LB 553, which incorporated parts of LB 321, a bill I introduced that clarifies state statute regarding the spend down of sick leave when a police officer is temporarily disabled as a result of an on-the-job injury.
The other three bills I introduced are still in committee and will carry over until next session. By rule, any bill that has not passed or has not been indefinitely postponed by a majority vote of its committee will carry over until next session. At the end of each biennium, all remaining bills are considered dead and must be reintroduced in the next biennium for consideration by the Legislature.
Overview of the 103rd Legislative Session
On Wednesday, June 5, the 103rd Nebraska Unicameral Legislature adjourned sine die. During the ninety day session, the Legislature passed over 200 bills and 200 resolutions on issues ranging from wildfire control in the western part of the state to school funding for schools big and small across Nebraska.
Moments before the 103rd Legislature First Session adjourned sine die.
Much of the work this session has focused on Nebraska’s future: its children. Senators introduced over thirty bills aimed at improving life for Nebraska’s youngest citizens; seventeen of these bills became law this session including continued reforms of our child welfare system, new large-scale reforms of the juvenile justice system and strong investments in early childhood education. At the core of each of these pieces of legislation is a desire to invest in our children early and a desire to do our best to provide opportunities for them as they grow.
Another key theme this year was tax reform and tax relief. Although major tax reforms are on hold for at least a year until the Tax Modernization Committee conducts its work during the interim, the Legislature did pass several tax reform measures this session, including the elimination of the alternative minimum tax. Between new bills and tax cuts passed last session that go into effect this year, Nebraska taxpayers will see over $99 million in tax relief over the next biennium. A majority of the relief targets families who earn less than $54,000 a year.
Town Hall Meetings Scheduled
Over the next few weeks, we will host two town hall meetings in the district. The first will be held at Bellevue City Council Chambers, 210 West Mission Ave, on Thursday June 20th at 6:00 PM immediately preceding “Music in the Park” in Washington Park, which begins at 7:00 PM. Topics will include a discussion of this year’s session, interim studies for the summer and fall, and ideas for next session. The town hall will also include a Q and A.
On Saturday, June 22nd, I will have a booth at the Bellevue Farmer’s Market in Washington Park to visit with families and answer questions. The Farmer’s Market runs every Saturday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, until September 14th.
These events are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. We hope you are able to join us for one or both of these meetings!
Transition to Interim
The legislative session may have ended but our office remains open and much work remains. Over the interim, we will study issues facing military families, including career licensure for military spouses and retirees looking to start a new career in Nebraska, as well as a study of the impact of the requirement that child care providers carry liability insurance on small in-home child care providers. Other work will include agenda setting and bill preparation for next session.
Over the summer and fall, we will continue to post updates on Facebook and Twitter. These email updates will become less frequent but will continue throughout the summer and fall. As always, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling my office, (402) 471-2615.
I hope you have a wonderful summer. It has been a pleasure to serve you in the 103rd Nebraska Unicameral Legislature and I look forward to serving you in the years ahead.