The Legislature’s Planning Committee was created by LB653, which was passed during the first session of the 101st Legislature. The committee was created to assist state government in identifying emerging trends, assets, and challenges of the state and the long-term implications of the decisions made by the Nebraska Legislature. The committee is charged with:
- collecting and analyzing data about Nebraska, including, but not limited to, demographics, workforce, education, wages, wealth, tax structure, revenue, natural resources, assets, challenges, trends, and growth and efficiency of government;
- identifying long-term issues significant to the state;
- setting goals and benchmarks;
- issuing a yearly report of the committee’s findings; and
- proposing legislation.
The committee is comprised of the Speaker, the Chairperson of the Executive Board, The Chairperson of the Appropriations Committee, and six Senators chosen by the Executive Board.
The first committee, in 2009, after setting a Mission Statement, and Goals for the committee, chose nine categories in which to collect data:
- Health & Human Services
- Natural Resources
- Public Safety
- State & Local Government
The committee chose indicators and benchmarks for each category and Jerry Deichert and John Bartle of the College of Public Affairs at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, along with a graduate assistant Skiarn Issarachaiyos, collected data in each of the nine categories. They also prepared summaries of data and made note of policy considerations for each category.
The Legislative Research Office prepared binders, for each of the nine categories, containing a history of legislation passed during the last thirty years for that category, as well as what is currently being done in other states, compiled from organizations such as the National Conference of State Legislatures. These binders are available to be checked out in the Legislative Research Office and will be updated each year.
Each year the committee will do a report updating their findings in each category and will keep a report card of how the state is doing. We are hopeful that this will be of great assisstance to Legislators and staff as they craft and debate legislation each Session.