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John Arch

Sen. John Arch

Speaker of the Legislature

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Speaker Arch announced today that the members of the Legislature are asked to please reserve the following dates for the body to work during the evening:

Tuesday, March 28;
Wednesday, March 29;
Monday, April 3;
Tuesday, April 4;
Tuesday, April 11;
Wednesday, April 12;
Thursday, April 13;
Monday, April 17;
Tuesday, April 18;
Wednesday, April 19;
Tuesday, April 25;
Wednesday, April 26;
Tuesday, May 2;
Wednesday, May 3;
Thursday, May 4;
Friday, May 5;
Monday, May 8;
Tuesday, May 9;
Wednesday, May 10;
Thursday, May 11;
Tuesday, May 16;
Wednesday, May 17;
Thursday, May 18;
Monday, May 22;
Tuesday, May 23;
Wednesday, May 24;
Tuesday, May 30;
Wednesday, May 31; and
Thursday, June 1.

The adjournment time for a scheduled “late night” will be around 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. or later (potentially as late as 11:59 p.m.). The specific adjournment time each evening will be dependent upon the Body’s progress on that day’s agenda.

We will have a half-hour recess for dinner. The one hour recess for lunch will continue throughout the remainder of the session unless otherwise announced.

These dates are “reserved late nights” some of which I may cancel. I will provide the members with as much notice as possible of such a cancellation. However, a canceled “late night” may still mean working through the dinner hour and then adjourning sometime early evening. (Although listed as a late night, April 3 will be an adjournment around 7:00 p.m. with no dinner break provided.)

For the last day of the work week, if not a scheduled late night, we will work through lunch and adjourn sometime between 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

On Monday we will convene at 9:00 a.m. and that will be the start time every morning, including the first day of the work week, unless otherwise announced. Daily adjournment times next week will continue to be somewhere in the 12:15 to 12:30 time range.

We will continue debate of LB 376 through its conclusion on Monday. Following that debate, we will take up the second General Affairs committee priority bill, LB 775, a bill that redefines a term under the Nebraska Racetrack Gaming Act and changes and provides powers and duties for the State Racing and Gaming Commission. The committee amendment incorporates three additional bills heard by the committee.

Once the body concludes the general file debate of LB 775, we will move onto additional committee and senator priority bills.

On Monday we will convene at 9:00 a.m. Additionally, please plan on a daily adjournment around 12:30 as opposed to noon. I’m not sure it will be every day, but it is my intention to pick up a little extra time each week.

We will begin next week with debate of Senator Linehan’s priority bill, LB 753, the bill to adopt the Opportunity Scholarships Act and provide tax credits. After LB 753, we will return to the debate of the General Affairs Committee priority bill, LB 376.

A reminder that next Thursday, March 9, is the deadline for a senator to submit to me a letter requesting a speaker priority designation. All letters must be hand-delivered to my office prior to adjournment that day.

The deadline for the designation of senator and committee priority bills is Tuesday, March 14, prior to adjournment.

Next week we will begin debate on priority bills. On Tuesday we will debate one of the General Affairs Committee priority bills, Senator Lowe’s LB 376, a bill to change provisions relating to the importation of alcoholic liquor into the state under the Nebraska Liquor Control Act. As has become the practice with committee priority bills, the committee amendment to this bill includes provisions of four related bills amending the Liquor Control Act.

On Wednesday, we will begin debate on Senator Brewer’s priority bill, LB 77, his bill to change provisions for the carrying of concealed handguns.

To date, senators and committees have designated 8 priority bills. That means there are 75 more senator and committee bills yet to be designated as a priority. For those of you new to the designation process, I have a speaker’s memo that will be distributed this morning outlining the procedure and timeline for designation. I encourage you and your staff to read the memo carefully and ask me or Laurie in my office any questions you may have.

A reminder that the deadline for senator and committee priority bill designations is prior to adjournment on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

The deadline for senators to submit a speaker priority request letter to me is prior to adjournment on Thursday, March 9, 2023. I will be announcing my designation of the speaker priority bills on Wednesday, March 15, the morning following the deadline for senator and committee designations.

Additionally, I want to announce that from this point forward, the background information provided to committees on each gubernatorial appointment will be available to senators prior to the floor debate of a confirmation report. Later today, the Clerk will be providing senators with more information about the program that will be accessible via our internal website, the Uninet.

Due to inclement weather, the deadline for online position comments for the public hearing record for bills scheduled for public hearing today (02/16/23) will be extended until 5 pm CST today.

As we begin to move into legislative floor debate, I want to announce how I will be handling certain procedural motions under our current rules.

For cloture motions I will follow the “full and fair debate” guidelines of ruling that “full and fair debate” has occurred after 8 hours of debate on general file, 4 hours of debate on select file, and 2 hours of debate on final reading. The “full and fair debate” guideline for appropriation bills accompanying substantive bills (“A” bills) will be 30 minutes of debate at each stage of debate unless in my estimation additional time is needed to debate a substantive issue with the “A” bill, in which case the time for “full and fair debate” will be 1 hour.

As for other procedural practices, I intend to continue, in general, the practice of our recent speakers to not reschedule any bill that fails to advance from general file or from select file, unless the bill is subsequently designated as a priority bill. Additionally, if a motion to invoke cloture fails, I will consider the bill finished for the year, unless the bill is subsequently designated as a priority bill.

This same general rule of not rescheduling a bill will apply to any bill successfully bracketed during debate (to a date certain or without a specified date) and any bill for which the principal introducer chooses to lay the bill over following the filing of a motion to indefinitely postpone pursuant to Rule 7, Section 3(a) and Section 6. In other words, if a principal introducer chooses to lay over their bill during the midst of debate due to the filing of a motion to indefinitely postpone the bill, I will not reschedule the bill on the agenda without subsequent designation of the bill as a priority bill. A bracketed bill may also be rescheduled if subsequently designated as a priority bill.

A reminder that pursuant to Rule 8, Section 5, I will be holding all bills on Final Reading that negatively impact the General Fund until after the Legislature passes the biennial budget bills. Similarly, I also will be holding all bills that reduce the Cash Reserve Fund on Final Reading until after the Legislature passes the biennial budget bills. Although the Cash Reserve Fund is not specifically mentioned in Rule 8, Section 5, the status of the Cash Reserve Fund directly relates to the General Fund and Nebraska’s financial status. This year an unprecedented number of bills provide for funding via a transfer from the Cash Reserve Fund. Holding bills that negatively impact the General Fund and those that reduce the Cash Reserve Fund on Final Reading until the passage of the mainline budget bills will allow the Legislature to have a full picture of the fiscal status of the state prior to making decisions about the funding of individual programs/projects outside of the mainline budget package.

Monday, February 6 is a recess day and the Legislature will not be meeting. Tuesday through Friday, February 7-10, will be our last week of all day public hearings. Hearings will be preceded by a 9:00 a.m. check-in on the floor.

For the next two weeks, January30-February 10, committees will hold public hearings both morning and afternoon following a 9:00 a.m. check-in on the floor. For the first couple of days of our all-day hearings, I know some committees have scheduled their public hearing to begin at 9:00 a.m. If you serve on one of those committees, I ask that you come to the floor and check-in prior to going to the public hearing. We will need a quorum to convene each morning. For the next two weeks, time on the floor will be minimal once we convene.

Next Monday, we begin committee public hearings at 1:30 p.m. A reminder that during the week of January 23, hearings will only take place in the afternoon. The following two weeks, January 30-February 10, committees will hold public hearings both morning and afternoon following a 9:00 a.m. check-in on the floor.

Monday and Tuesday of next week (January 23 and 24) also will be check-in days with a 10:00 a.m. start time. Wednesday, January 25, we will convene at 9:30 a.m. and at 10:00 a.m. Governor Pillen will deliver his State of the State address. The start time for Thursday and Friday will be 9:00 a.m. unless otherwise announced next week. Adjournment times for Thursday and Friday will be contingent upon any legislative business we may have to address (i.e. committee confirmation reports, motions to withdraw, etc.).

A few notes this morning regarding our schedule for next week.

At the beginning of the session, I announced my intention that we would begin the debate on the motion to adopt permanent rules on Tuesday. That will not be happening.

The Rules Committee’s public hearing ended yesterday around 10:30 p.m. on 58 proposed rule changes. The committee members need more time to consider the proposals before holding an executive session. Senator Erdman, chair of our Rules Committee, has scheduled the executive session for Tuesday afternoon. It is my expectation that the committee will be able to file their rules report with the Clerk on Wednesday morning and provide a copy to all members that morning.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we will convene at 10:00 a.m. for bill introduction. A reminder that Wednesday is the tenth and final day for bill introduction.

Thursday morning we will begin the debate on the motion to adopt permanent rules. Thursday we will convene at 9:00 a.m., recess for lunch, and continue debate in the afternoon. If necessary, we will continue debate into the evening. My goal is to adopt permanent rules before we leave on Friday. On day one, we adopted temporary rules through the twelfth day, Friday.

Additionally, I want to share with the entire Body that our public hearings this year will include an ADA Accommodation of Written Testimony. ADA Qualified individuals can submit written testimony online in a format similar to our online comments portal. The qualified individual submitting testimony in this manner will have their testimony included in the hearing transcript as public hearing testimony. The individual’s name will also appear on the Committee Statement with a notation that the person submitted ADA Accommodation Written Testimony.

With the number of new committee chairs this session, I wanted to preview the new system with them before announcing this new process to all members. I shared the policy with the Chairs on Wednesday of this week. We have several new chairs this year, and I wanted to be sure they understood the new system first since they and their committee staff will be responsible for implementation.

Next Wednesday, January 18, at 9:00 a.m., I will hold a briefing and demonstration to familiarize all members and their staff with the ADA Written Testimony process and procedures.

The briefing and demonstration will include the Legislature’s Online Comments process. During the 2021 session, the Legislature tested a new system allowing the public to submit comments on every bill. Last session, the Legislature expanded the online public comments process to include the option for individuals to submit comments for the public hearing record on a bill.

This briefing will allow new members to learn about the Legislature’s submission of online comments process and serve as a refresher course for the senators and staff here last year. The online comments are searchable by date, bill, and district. It is a great resource allowing members to know the views of their constituents on all measures before the Legislature.

Sen. John Arch

Speaker of the Legislature
Room 2103
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2730
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