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Job Protections for Guard Members Scheduled for Consent Calendar
I am happy to report that the Nebraska Legislature will consider LB 753 on its consent calendar agenda Tuesday. I introduced LB 753 to amend Nebraska’s adoption of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act of 1994 to extend protections to persons who work in Nebraska but are called into National Guard Service by another state. Current state law does not provide protections for National Guard Members employed in Nebraska if they are deployed by another state. I don’t believe it should matter whether you work in the same state in which you mobilize. We owe these employment protections to all our National Guard members. I am grateful that this legislation has reached the Consent Calendar agenda and will be up for a vote on Tuesday.
What is Consent Calendar?
Consent Calendar is a legislative process established in Rule 5, Section 6 of our Legislative Rules. This process allows non-controversial bills, often with technical changes, to be debated in a streamlined fashion. The Speaker of the Legislature determines which bills are eligible for Consent Calendar.
One of the challenges of getting a bill passed is getting it on the agenda for floor debate. More bills pass out of committee than can be heard on the floor. The Consent Calendar allows the Speaker to get noncontroversial bills to the floor for a vote. I asked the Speaker to put LB 753 on the Consent Agenda so that it could get a vote this year. I am grateful that Speaker Hadley agreed. I also have LB 864 and LB 703, Urban Affairs related issues, on the Consent Agenda for Tuesday Morning.
At a minimum, Consent Calendar bills must meet the following criteria:
Per legislative rule, any bill on Consent Calendar can be removed from the agenda by the written request of 3 or more senators. If this happens, the bill will be passed over and will not come up for a vote. Similarly, if an amendment to a Consent Calendar bill that adds new subject matter is adopted on the floor, the bill will not be placed back on the agenda.
Speaker Hadley has created two consent agendas already and has indicated that we will have one more before the end of session.
Hearing on Creation of Military Commission Held
On Thursday afternoon, the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs held a hearing on LB 754, a bill I introduced this session to establish the Commission on Military and Veterans Affairs. The commission and a point person, a military affairs liaison, will work with the Governor to assist the state in attracting and retaining missions at our military installations as well as support and serve Nebraska’s military and veteran families.
The Military and Veterans Commission will streamline our efforts to both protect and grow military assets and missions. A review by the Association of Defense Communities found that 10 years after the creation of a military commission in Kentucky, annual defense spending in the state had more than tripled to $8.3 billion a year. By having a point of contact in place and active participation from relevant government agencies, elected officials, county officials, local business leaders and active duty or retired military officials, we can be more proactive with our state’s military interests.
Offutt Air Force Base is a key economic partner of the State of Nebraska, with an annual economic impact of more than $1.3 billion annually, employing more than 10,000 people directly and 4,700 people through secondary jobs. The Military and Veterans Commission would also enhance the military-friendly environment for veterans, service members and their families and strengthen the environment for businesses that bring military and base-related jobs to the state. I appreciate Governor Ricketts and Director John Hilgert’s partnership in this effort. Special thanks to Mayor Rita Sanders and others who traveled to Lincoln to testify in support of the bill.
The Omaha World-Herald published a story regarding the hearing; a copy of which can be found here.
This Week in Urban Affairs
The past week was a long one for the Urban Affairs Committee, with Tuesday morning hearings on a handful of municipal economic development bills and a marathon 6-hour hearing on tax-increment financing in the afternoon.Next week’s hearings will be the final hearing of the session for the Urban Affairs Committee. Among the topics being discussed will be Nebraska’s handicapped parking statutes. While handicapped parking permits are issued by the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, the enforcement of handicapped parking laws falls to municipalities. On average, a bill dealing with the handicapped parking statutes has been heard by the committee every other year.In addition to a bill on handicapped parking, next week’s hearings include two bills dealing with municipalities:
● LB 865: Change provisions relating to handicapped parking
● LB 857: Change population threshold for a city of the first class to employ a full-time fire chief
● LB 806: Adopt the Riverfront Development District Act
President’s Day Monday February 15
The office will be closed on Monday, February 15 for President’s Day. Like many other Senators, I will be at my other job on Monday. I teach Political Science at Creighton University. State holidays and legislative recess days give me a chance to get back to that office and catch up with students and classes. Although my staff was hard at work on Friday in the office, I was able to be at Creighton that day as well since we did not have session on Friday.
In the District
On Sunday, Feb. 14th, from 1:30 to 3:00 Green Bellevue hosts a presentation on attracting winter birds by Clem Klaphake at the Fontentelle Forest Nature Center. Clem is a Nebraska Master Naturalist – and a friend and neighbor in LD 45.
All my best,