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Mike Hilgers

Sen. Mike Hilgers

Speaker of the Legislature

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First, I want to provide some direction with respect to our schedule for the next four days.

Today will be a full day of debate with an adjournment time around 5 or 5:30 p.m. My goal is to complete the select file at the end of today’s agenda. To facilitate the body’s ability to work that late, we will break for lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m. today.

On Monday and Tuesday, we will begin at 9:00 a.m. and have a one hour lunch break from noon to 1:00 p.m.

Monday’s adjournment time may be as late as midnight and because of that extended late night, we will have a short 30 minute dinner break around 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday’s adjournment time may be somewhere between 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

My goal for Wednesday will be a 10:00 a.m. start time, working through the day without a lunch break, and adjournment early afternoon. Obviously, our progress on Monday and Tuesday will impact the Wednesday schedule.

Monday is our final day for select file. Bills advanced from select file on Monday will allow a bill to be read on final reading on Wednesday, ensuring no pocket vetoes. Once we complete select file debate on Monday, a quorum of the body will need to remain in the building while we stand at ease until all bills advanced that day are returned by the Revisor Office and placed on final reading prior to adjournment. Tuesday will be the constitutionally required one day layover for all bills processed on Monday.

On Tuesday I intend to schedule final reading for the bills we have advanced earlier in the session. Currently, there are 92 bills sitting on final reading ready for advancement. Additionally, Tuesday will include debate of four resolutions (LRs 271, 284, 335, and 346) and Legislative Confirmation Reports.

Wednesday, will include final reading of the bills advanced off of select file on Monday, and any bills or resolutions unfinished from Tuesday.

The last day for introduction of congratulatory or ceremonial resolutions is Tuesday, April 12th, allowing the publication of a resolution on the agenda and its adoption prior to adjournment sine die.

Next week our schedule will look similar to this week—please expect an adjournment after 8:00p.m. on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Friday is the final day for general file debate this session, and so adjournment time may extend beyond 3:00 p.m.dependent upon our progress that day.
On Tuesday, in addition to debating both LB 873 and LB 920, I am also scheduling Senator Erdman’s LR264CA. After consultation with Senator Wayne and Senator Matt Hansen, we will also schedule the motion to override the Governor’s veto of LB1073 on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, we will have the general file debate of LB 933, Senator Albrecht’s bill to adopt the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act.

In addition to these specific bills, I will be scheduling a number of the bills currently on select file and as many of the priority bills on general file as I believe we can realistically address this session.  

As time becomes more scarce, please note a few items regarding scheduling:

• First, we will continue the start of the work week at 9:00 a.m. (instead of 10:00 a.m.).
• Second, we will continue the one-hour lunch break (noon-1:00 p.m.) the first three days of the work week.
• Third, the final day of the work week will continue to be an adjournment time of around 3:00 p.m. with no lunch break.
• Fourth, on evening sessions we will continue without a formal dinner break.

Finally, please have your schedule cleared for the possibility of being here through 10pm or later if needed. While I continue to believe that consistently going beyond 8pm is not best practice, if we get bogged down or have additional work to complete we need the flexibility to go later than 8pm if we need to on a given day. We are discussing some concepts to provide more certainty and guidance to the schedule, but, in the meantime, I would ask you to be prepared to be here late each of those days (excluding the last day of the work week).

We will begin Monday with the general file debate of LB 919, Senator Aguilar’s priority bill which the Revenue Committee has advanced to general file with the provisions of their tax reduction package. Following that debate, we will take up the select file debate of LB 1014, the ARPA bill. The process for the select file debate will be handled the same as the general file debate. Select file amendments to LB 1014 filed by 10:00 a.m. on Monday will be considered for early scheduling.

I will be utilizing similar criteria for my evaluation of each amendment for ordering:

1) the proposal’s eligibility for ARPA funding;
2) whether the proposal includes both funding and a matching reduction;
3) the level of controversy of the proposal; and
4) non-duplication with another proposed amendment on select file or an amendment previously considered on general file.

Next Tuesday we will have final reading of the budget bills (LBs 1011, 1012, and 1013). The ARPA bill will be scheduled for final reading on Wednesday.

In addition to the tax reduction proposal and the budget bills, my goal next week will be to address the many priority bills sitting on select file while continuing to address priority bills on general file. Currently, there are 21 priority bills on select file and 40 priority bills on general file. Friday, April 8th, is the final day for general file debate. To ensure no pocket vetoes, Monday, April 11th, is the final day for select file debate.

Next week will be a busy and critical week in our session. My goal will be to complete the select file debate of the non-ARPA budget bills by the end of day on Thursday, and complete the ARPA select file debate no later than Friday, to allow passage by day 50 in accordance with our rules.

We are nearly out of time for the session, and in order to accommodate the work I am making some adjustments to our schedule heading into next week. First, I have decided to reconsider my earlier decision to convene at 10:00 a.m. on the first day of our work week. For the final four weeks of session, we will be convening at 9:00 a.m. each day of our work week giving us an additional four hours. Second, next week we will be recessing for only an hour for lunch from noon to 1:00 Tuesday through Thursday. (On Friday, we will again work through the lunch hour and adjourn around 3:00 p.m.) Third, I intend to schedule the select file debate of the non-ARPA budget bills no later than Thursday, and we will complete that stage of debate on those bills no later than that evening Thursday. If we start those bills Thursday morning then we will stay as late as we need to on Thursday to both complete select file on the non-ARPA budget bills and to have them returned to us from the Revisor to have the required layover day on Friday; as a consequence, please be prepared to go as late as midnight on Thursday to complete that work.

Regarding next week’s schedule, the primary focus will remain on the budget and other tax and spending measures. If the body takes 8 full hours of debate on LB 1013, the cash reserve fund bill, then I anticipate we will complete general file of the last non-ARPA budget bill around Tuesday mid-morning. After that is complete we will take up LB 1024, Senator Wayne’s priority bill, in addition to LB 825 and LB 939. My current intent is to take up the ARPA bill on Wednesday morning for general file, and complete select file on that bill on Friday.

In addition to the bills mentioned above, and to meet my commitment to Senator Matt Hansen, on Tuesday I will be scheduling the final reading of LB 1073, Senator Hansen’s priority bill to direct the Governor to apply for all federal funds available to Nebraska for emergency rental assistance. On Friday, after completion of the budget on select file, I intend to schedule Senator Albrecht’s motion to place on general file LB 933, the bill to adopt the Nebraska Human Life Protection Act.

If debate goes more quickly on any of these bills then I will fit in as many priority bills that I can.

I have some specific guidance regarding the debate on ARPA. This bill is unique, in part because we are dealing with a set amount of money that is subject to specific legal restrictions. In addition, the Appropriations Committee had requests totaling far more money than was available which led to difficult decisions on what to include or exclude from the recommended spending proposal.

In order to accommodate these unique issues, and provide the body time to debate specific spending proposals, I requested that the Executive Board approve my designation of LB 1014, the ARPA funding bill, as a Speaker Major Proposal pursuant to Rule 1, Section 17. Yesterday the Executive Board unanimously approved that designation. This designation allows me to structure the debate by determining the order of amendments and motions to be debated as well as the time in which they will be debated.

Here is the current structure and process for proceeding with the debate on LB 1014:

• Senator Stinner has indicated LB 1014 will be reported to general file first thing on Tuesday morning. I will begin working on determining the order of amendments Tuesday evening. If you would like a proposed amendment to be considered early during the general file debate of LB 1014, I ask that you file your amendment by 6:00 p.m. Tuesday.

• Because the ARPA funding available to Nebraska is a finite amount and because the committee amendment appropriates all but 10 million dollars of the $1.04 billion total, I ask members to draft their amendments to include in their proposal not only the new measure proposed for ARPA funding but also what proposed measure will be cut to provide available ARPA funding. Measures which simply spend more money will not be favorably considered.

• Amendments that cut funding only are appropriate but will not be prioritized over those that change the mix of funding.

• Money left over for the floor will then be considered through A bills on separate bills, as is our typical practice. Amendments to LB 1014 that seek to spend the $10 million left for the floor will not be considered.

In addition, in order to accommodate the debate, I will be considering putting a time limit on the debate for individual amendments. That will depend on the number of amendments, and I will let you know what I decide next week prior to the debate.

I am working with Senator Stinner to evaluate the amendments and their order. Among the criteria I will consider when determining the order of amendments are the following:
              1) the proposal’s eligibility for ARPA funding;
              2) whether the proposal includes both funding and a matching reduction in the
                  committee amendment; and
              3) non-duplication with another proposed amendment.

If you have an amendment that you know you would like to file it is helpful to give my office and me notice even before Tuesday so that we can have as much time as possible to evaluate the proposals. Several senators have done so already.

Last, I have had a number of senators ask about their priority bills and when they will be scheduled. That will depend on the amount of time it takes to complete the budget bills and so we will have a clearer picture next week.

On Tuesday, we will begin debate of the budget bills. Completing all three stages of debate on both the state budget and the ARPA budget will be the priority for the next two weeks. Between the separate stages of debate on the budget bills, I will be scheduling some tax and spending bills that are on both general file and select file. LB 1024, the Urban Affairs Committee’s priority bill to adopt the North Omaha Recovery Act, will be one of those bills scheduled after the general file debate of the budget.

As I announced both last session and the beginning of this session, on Monday morning we will debate Senator Briese’s LB 283, the bill to provide for year-round daylight saving time. Monday will be the first day following this year’s change to daylight saving time. In the afternoon, we will have our final general file round of consent calendar bills. Monday’s list of consent calendar bills are attached to today’s agenda. Additionally, I plan to schedule for Monday afternoon, LB 661, Senator McDonnell’s bill to prohibit assault on a public transportation driver, and LB 729, Senator Lindstrom’s bill to adopt the Quick Action Closing Fund Act. Additional priority bills will be added to the agenda on a fluid basis, based upon how much time is available between our budget debates.

A reminder that as I announced last week, we will be working through the lunch hour today with an adjournment time around 3:00 p.m. This will be the pattern for the last day of our work week from this point forward. A cloture motion on LB 773 will be in order after 1 hour and 52 minutes of additional debate this morning. Also, I want to point out that today’s agenda includes an additional committee priority bill, LB 750, one of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee’s priority bills. Please take note that all three committee priority bills on the agenda, LB 809, LB 800, and LB 750, are Christmas tree bills with several bills included in their committee amendments.

Tuesday we begin full day floor debate. After today, we have twenty-one days to complete all general file and select file debate. For my planning purposes, at least eight of those days the priority will be the debate of the budget bills—both the state’s general fund budget and the ARPA budget. With 64 priority bills yet to be debated on general file and another 28 sitting on select file, it is very unlikely all priority bills will be completed this session. Exactly how many priority bills this body will be able to address will be dependent upon each of you.

With respect to the schedule, I prepared a separate speaker’s memo outlining the dates reserved for evening debate and the scheduling format for the remainder of our session days (posted separately on this webpage). For next week, please plan on an adjournment time between 5:00 to 5:30 p.m. for the first three full days of debate. Friday, March 11, we will follow our last day of the work week schedule outlined in the memo (no lunch break and adjournment around 2:00 or 3:00 p.m.).

With the designation of all priority bills and a few days for me to become familiar with those bills, I am now prepared to provide more notice to the body of the bills which will be debated the following week in order to allow senators time to prepare. (However, please keep in mind that I will be scheduling additional bills unannounced if floor time permits.)

Tuesday morning will be consent calendar bills on all three stages of debate. I plan to schedule a final general file consent calendar the following week. The deadline to submit to me a consent calendar request letter will be today at 3:00 p.m. for all bills currently reported to general file. I will accept additional consent calendar request letters on Tuesday, March 8 until 1:00 p.m. The extended deadline on March 8 will only be for a bill which is reported to general file on Tuesday prior to our noon recess. A bill voted out of committee but not reported to general file by Tuesday morning will be ineligible for consideration for our final consent calendar.

In addition to consent calendar, on Tuesday I plan to continue with the non-committee priority bills left unfinished from today’s agenda. Additionally, I plan to schedule LB 1112, Senator McKinney’s bill to adopt the computer science and technology act.

At the end of the day Tuesday, I will be scheduling a motion to pull from the Judiciary Committee LB 773, the concealed carry bill, which Senator Brewer will be filing later this morning.

Wednesday, I will be scheduling the following four bills:
LB 1023, my bill to adopt the Lake Development Act and the Water Recreation Enhancement Act (prioritized by Senator McDonnell);
LB 1015, the bill to adopt the Perkins County Canal Project Act (prioritized by Senator Hughes);
LB 1073, Senator Wayne’s bill to create the Department of Housing and Urban Development (prioritized by Senator Matt Hansen); and
LB 519, Senator Morfeld’s bill to provide immunity from arrest and prosecution for certain drug and alcohol offenses for witnesses and victims of sexual assault.

On Thursday, I plan to schedule a bill which will likely take a cloture vote to advance. Whether or not that will be LB 773, or another bill, will be contingent upon the outcome of the pull motion scheduled on Tuesday.

And the final day of next week will be a day to complete items left unfinished from earlier in the week and either the completion of the committee priority bills scheduled today or some additional committee priority bills. I will make that assessment based upon today’s progress.

At the beginning of the session, I asked members to keep their session day evenings open beginning mid-March through the end of the session for evening debate. Below you will find the specific dates that we will be working into the evening.

For each scheduled evening, the Legislature will work throughout the afternoon and evening without a dinner break. The general adjournment time will be around 7:30-8:00 p.m. allowing members to have a late dinner post-adjournment. Adjournment may be a little later some days dependent upon the specific debate. 

The following dates are reserved for the Legislature to work during the early evening hours:

Tuesday, March 15;
Tuesday, March 22;
Wednesday, March 23;
Thursday, March 24;
Monday, March 28;
Tuesday, March 29;
Wednesday, March 30;
Tuesday, April 5;
Wednesday, April 6;
Thursday, April 7; and
Monday, April 11.

I do not expect to cancel any of these reserved evening sessions. One cancelled evening session would require an 11:00 p.m. adjournment to make up the lost three hours.

I have decided to continue with a 10:00 a.m. start time for the first day of the Legislative work week. On the last day of our work week (March 11, 17, 25, 31 and April 8) we will work through the lunch hour and adjourn around 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. dependent upon our progress that day.

A reminder that we have left one week of half-day floor debate before moving to full day debate. On Monday we will have consent calendar bills on all three stages of debate, followed by the bills from today’s agenda which we do not complete before adjournment. My goal for Tuesday and Wednesday will be to complete general file debate of as many non-controversial priority bills as feasible. I believe this will be a more efficient use of those mornings rather than beginning another bill likely to entail a filibuster.

As was my practice last year, the final day of each work week will continue to be primarily devoted to debating some of our “Christmas Tree” bills. On Thursday, I plan to schedule both Banking Committee priority bills, LB 707, which makes changes to banking law, and LB 863, a bill which makes changes to insurance laws. Both bills contain several other bills in their committee amendments. I would encourage senators to familiarize themselves with the provisions in both bills.

On today’s agenda, I do want to draw your attention to the Health Committee priority bill, LB 1173, and the General Affairs committee priority bill, LB 1236. Both bills also contain the provisions of other bills in their respective committee amendments.

With the conclusion of public hearings next week, I encourage committees to schedule some time for holding executive sessions next week on the priority bills still in their committee and any bills a committee believes could be a consent calendar eligible bill dependent upon the vote to advance. For consideration of a bill on one of our remaining consent calendars, a bill will need to be reported to general file no later than the morning of March 8.

A reminder that today is the deadline for a senator to submit a letter to me requesting a speaker priority bill designation. Letters need to be hand-delivered to my office prior to adjournment for my consideration. Letters delivered after adjournment will not be accepted. Senators may request more than one bill for consideration but will need to submit a separate letter for each request. I will announce my 25 speaker priority bill designations next Wednesday morning, February 23.

The deadline to designate a committee or senator priority bill is Tuesday, February 22, prior to adjournment. Designation letters must be hand-delivered to my office with a copy presented to the Clerk to read into the Journal prior to adjournment on Tuesday for the designation to be finalized.

On Tuesday, we will debate our third round of consent calendar. Although noon today is the deadline for submitting a request letter for consideration of a bill on the next consent calendar, I will continue to accept consent calendar request letters through March 8 at 1:00 p.m. That will be the final deadline. A reminder that for my office to accept a consent calendar request letter the bill needs to be reported to general file (i.e. the chamber viewer indicates the bill is on general file). This means committees will need to file the paperwork with the Clerk by March 8 for a bill to be eligible for a consent calendar this year.

After today, we have our final two weeks of committee hearings before we begin all-day debate on March 8. One week later we will add late evening debate.

Attached to today’s agenda, you will see the second consent calendar which will be scheduled on Monday. Additionally, Monday’s agenda will include select file debate of the first consent calendar and senator and committee priority bills which are ready for their second round of debate. Once select file is completed, we will continue with the priority bills on general file listed on today’s agenda.

A reminder that next Thursday, February 17, upon adjournment, is the deadline for a senator to submit a letter to me requesting a speaker priority bill designation. Senators may request more than one bill for consideration but will need to submit a separate letter for each request. Only letters hand-delivered to my office (not emailed) prior to adjournment will be considered. To provide me with additional time to review requests, I ask that you do not wait until the deadline and instead submit your speaker priority bill request letters early next week. 

Additionally, the next deadline for consent calendar request submissions also will be next Thursday, February 17, by noon. My consent calendar process is a rolling submission with any bill that has been requested for consent calendar but not selected for the first or second consent calendar will remain on my list for bills to review for the subsequent consent calendars. However, a few of those bills I have determined do not fit my criteria for consent calendar and in the near future I will be letting those senators know their bill is no longer being considered.

Please keep in mind we are only one week away from the deadline to designate senator and committee priority bills. At this time, only 28 of the total 81 senator and committee priority bills have been designated. That leaves almost two-thirds of the priority bills yet to be designated.

Sen. Mike Hilgers

Speaker of the Legislature
Room 2103
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2673
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