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Mike Hilgers

Sen. Mike Hilgers

Speaker of the Legislature

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The budget bills are scheduled for final reading on Tuesday, April 20. I am not accepting additional consent calendar request letters, however, I do plan to have two more consent calendars yet this session.

Bills I plan to schedule for general file debate next week include:

LB 2 (Briese) Change the valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land for certain school district taxes
LB 39 (Lindstrom) Change the Sports Arena Facility Financing Assistance Act
LB 51 (Lathrop) Change and provide qualifications for and duties relating to certification of law
enforcement officers, require accreditation of law enforcement agencies, prohibit chokeholds in
law enforcement, and require policies on excessive force
LB 408 (Briese) Adopt the Property Tax Request Act
LB 485 (DeBoer) Change provisions relating to child care assistance

Thursday, April 22, I will be scheduling LB 408 for the beginning of that day. Friday, April 23, I will be scheduling LB 131, and LB 147. LB 131, a bill to change provisions relating to the enactment of ordinances, is one of the Urban Affairs committee’s priority bills and includes the provisions of six additional bills in the committee amendment. Additionally, next Friday I intend to schedule Senator Halloran’s motion to place LR14 on general file pursuant to Rule 3, Section 20(b).

The next three weeks will be a significant push from the body to get through our work. I want to remind the body of the scheduled late nights and to be prepared on these nights to potentially go beyond 7 if warranted. In addition, I want to give the body notice that depending on the progress made during the week I reserve the right to make the last day of the week a full working day (with a lunch break) rather than a half-day.

Last, as a reminder, we will start the taxation and spending measures the week of April 26.

This year I plan to alter the long-standing tradition of working late into the night at the end of the session. Rather than work late into the night, I intend to schedule “early evening sessions” with an adjournment time somewhere between 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., although a few evenings may be a little later. The specific adjournment time each evening will be dependent upon the Body’s progress on that day’s agenda.

For each scheduled evening, we will work throughout the afternoon and evening without a dinner break .

Please reserve the following dates for the Legislature to work during the early evening hours:

Tuesday, April 13;
Tuesday, April 20;
Thursday, April 22;
Monday, April 26;
Tuesday, April 27;
Wednesday, April 28;
Tuesday, May 4;
Wednesday, May 5;
Thursday, May 6;
Monday, May 10;
Tuesday, May 11;
Wednesday, May 12;
Tuesday, May 18;
Wednesday, May 19;
Thursday, May 20;
Monday, May 24;
Tuesday, May 25;
Wednesday, May 26;
Tuesday, June 1.

I expect to cancel some of these “reserved evening sessions.” The deciding factor for working beyond 5:30 will be dependent upon our workload for that day/week. I will provide you with as much notice as possible of such a cancellation, although I expect it to be sometime each afternoon.

If I find that our progress necessitates a few late nights, I will be revising this schedule to include late nights for some of the days scheduled for an early evening adjournment.

As we move into the final two months of the session, I want to provide you with a big picture schedule for the next few weeks.

Next Thursday, we will begin debate of the budget bills on general file. I hope to complete the budget with final reading by the following Thursday. My priority for the next two weeks will be the finalization of the state’s biennial budget, our only constitutional responsibility as a Legislature.

Following the adoption of the budget, I will be scheduling taxation and spending measures. This will be the focus for the two weeks following the final reading of the budget.

We will be building on our weekly scheduling rhythms that we have implemented this session. Specifically, on the first day of the week, we will continue our 10:00 am starts with a short consent calendar. After consent calendar we will debate speaker priority bills. The speaker priorities generally were selected in a way as to not include controversial bills, and the combination of consent calendar and speaker priorities will allow us to make for a productive start to our week. The last day of the week will continue to be final reading and Christmas tree bills. The middle of the week I will work to schedule what I anticipate will be the more difficult or intense debates.

My scheduling philosophy has been to try to make consistent progress throughout the session and not to force a large volume of work into the last working days of the session. As part of this effort I am preparing for a different evening schedule than in years past. Rather than a number of very late nights at the end of session—in which it is less likely that we are doing our best work—I intend to have later evenings earlier in session. Accompanying this announcement I have prepared a separate memorandum announcing a schedule for days we may work through the early evening hours and adjourn sometime before 7:45 p.m. 

My hope is that this will even out our work. If our progress necessitates a few late nights, I will be revising the schedule to include late nights for some of the days scheduled for an early evening adjournment.

And finally, I want to continue my practice of providing early notice to the body of the bills which will be debated the following week to allow senators time to prepare. A reminder that this list is not necessarily inclusive of all the bills which may be scheduled as more bills may be added if time available warrants the need for additional scheduling. Also, as a reminder, being listed on the agenda for next week is no guarantee that the bill will be taken up on the floor next week.

These bills are listed in numerical order and do not indicate the order they will appear on the agenda or which day of the week each bill will first appear:

LB 2 (Briese) Change the valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land for certain school
district taxes
LB 17 (Kolterman) Change actuarial valuation and amortization provisions for certain state retirement systems
LB 81 (Hilkemann) Provide authority for sanitary and improvement districts to own, construct, and
maintain public parking facilities
LB 108 (McCollister) Change provisions relating to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
LB 307 (Pansing Brooks) Change provisions relating to appointment of counsel for juveniles
LB 423 (Lathrop) Require registration of home inspectors
LB 497 (DeBoer) Provide for compensation under the Nebraska Crime Victim’s Reparations Act for health care providers examining or treating victims of sexual assault or domestic assault
LB 527 (Walz) Change provisions relating to transition services for students with a developmental
disability
LB 664 (Groene) Change distributions from the Mutual Finance Assistance Fund

My current intent is to schedule LB 17 for Wednesday morning, depending on our progress.

On Monday we will have our first consent calendar. Attached to today’s agenda is the list of the bills which will be on Monday’s agenda. There are seven bills on this first consent calendar, but please know I have identified additional bills for future consent calendars. While I’m not sure how many total consent calendars I will be scheduling it will be more than one. Thus, if you do not see a bill you requested on this first list, it does not indicate your request will not be on a future consent calendar. I will be selecting bills for the second consent calendar from the bills already requested and any additional requests made to me prior to April 7 at 3:00 p.m. You do not need to deliver a second request letter for a bill you have already requested for consent calendar.

Additionally, the Appropriations Committee will not be placing the budget bills on general file today as anticipated last week. The committee has a few items to finalize prior to their final work product reaching the floor.

And finally, this announcement continues my practice of providing early notice to the body of the bills which will be debated the following week to allow senators time to prepare. A reminder that this list is not necessarily inclusive of all the bills which may be scheduled as more bills may be added if time available warrants the need for additional scheduling. Also, as a reminder, being listed on the agenda for next week is no guarantee that the bill will be taken up on the floor next week.

These bills are listed in numerical order and do not indicate the order they will appear on the agenda or which day of the week each bill will first appear as I am still considering the specific schedule:
LB 152 (Slama) Change provisions regarding fireworks
LB 260 (Hunt) Change provisions relating to good cause for voluntarily leaving employment under the Employment Security Law
LB 338 (Bostelman) Provide powers and duties for the Public Service Commission regarding redirection of funding for broadband services
LB 451 (McKinney) Include characteristics associated with race, culture, and personhood within
definition of race, including hair texture and protective hairstyles under the Nebraska Fair
Employment Practice Act, and change provisions relating to unlawful employment practices
LB 500 (Geist) Provide for venue for prosecution of certain offenses when committed using an electronic communication device
LB 583 (Murman) Require electronic prescriptions for controlled substances
LB 650 (Flood) Adopt the Nebraska Geologic Storage of Carbon Dioxide Act

The last day of the work week will continue to be the day we address “Christmas Tree” bills. Next Thursday I will be scheduling LB 501, Senator Flood’s bill to adopt the Uniform Easement Relocation Act, and LB 428, the Health and Human Services Committee’s YRTC bill. The committee amendments for each bill include the provisions of four additional bills.

A reminder that today at 3:00 p.m. is the deadline for senators to hand-deliver to my office a letter to request a bill for placement on our first consent calendar. Letters received after 3:00 p.m. today will be considered for our second consent calendar.

Also a reminder that Monday we will convene at 10:00 a.m. which will continue to be our start time for the first day of our work week.

As part of my endeavor to provide early notice to the body of the bills which will be debated to allow senators time to prepare, I am providing the body with a list of the priority bills which I plan to schedule sometime during the following week. This list is not necessarily inclusive of all the bills which may be scheduled as more bills may be added if time available warrants the need for additional scheduling. Also, as a reminder, being listed on the agenda for next week is no guarantee that the bill will be taken up on the floor next week.

These bills are listed in numerical order and do not indicate the order they will appear on the agenda or which day of the week each bill will first appear as I am still considering the specific schedule:

LB 40 (Groene) Adopt the Nebraska Rural Projects Act
LB 156 (Wayne) Adopt the Municipal Inland Port Authority Act
LB 215 (Hughes) Change 911 service surcharge provisions
LB 273 (Lowe) Change provisions relating to youth rehabilitation and treatment centers
LB 281 (Albrecht) Require child sexual abuse prevention instructional programs for school students and staff
LB 390 (Murman, at the request of the Governor) Provide for credentials based on reciprocity and change requirements for credentials under the Uniform Credentialing Act
LB 528 (Walz) Provide, change, and eliminate provisions relating to education
LB 529 (Walz) Change provisions for the distribution of lottery funds used for education, transfer powers and duties, create new acts and funds, and change education provisions
LB 544 (Wayne) Adopt the Urban Redevelopment Act and provide tax incentives
LB 572 (Halloran) Change provisions of the Livestock Brand Act
LB 639 (Day) Adopt the Seizure Safe Schools Act
LR 29 (Cavanaugh, M.) Provide for appointment by the Executive Board of a special committee to be known as the Eastern Service Area Child Welfare Contract Special Investigative and Oversight Committee of the Legislature

Next week the debate on LB 529, the Education Committee priority bill distributing lottery funds, will be the first bill on the agenda for Wednesday. LB 528, the other Education Committee priority bill, an education technical bill which includes the provisions of two additional bills, will be scheduled for Thursday debate along with any final reading we have.

Last, I currently anticipate that next Thursday the Appropriations Committee will send the budget to the floor. If so, then I currently anticipate taking up the budget the following week.

On Monday we will begin convening on the first day of our work week at 10:00 a.m. Of the 58 bills that have been designated as either a senator or committee priority bill, 35 bills are still in committee. By the end of this morning when all priority bills will have been designated, that number could significantly increase. Given the number of designated priority bills which are still in committee, I plan to adjust the schedule on Monday to provide time in the afternoon for committees to hold an executive session. We will adjourn on Monday after our morning session. In order to accommodate some executive session time for all committees, I am asking two-day committees to utilize the time between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. for holding any needed executive session so that the three-day committees may hold an executive session beginning at 2:15 p.m.

On Monday morning we will pick up with the bills left at the end of Thursday. Added to Monday’s agenda will be Senator Aguilar’s priority bill, LB 371, which would allow games of chance under the Nebraska Racetrack Gaming Act at state, district, and county fair locations, and one of the Agriculture’s Committee priority bills, LB 324. LB 324 was introduced by Senator Brandt and changes provisions of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Law.

On Tuesday I intend to continue with priority bills left unfinished from Monday’s agenda, and add LB 88, Senator Morfeld’s priority bill relating to free speech rights of student journalists and student media advisers. On Wednesday, I plan to schedule LB 561, a General Affairs Committee priority bill that changes provisions of the State Racing Commission and the Nebraska Racetrack Gaming Act. The committee amendment to the bill includes an amended version of LB 560, the enabling legislation for the law created by Initiative Law 2020, No. 430 and 431.

Thursday, I intend to schedule time for the “Christmas Trees” that have been reported out of committee. I plan to schedule LB 320 and LB 507. LB 320, Senator John Cavanaugh’s priority bill, changes provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act. In addition to the underlying bill, the committee amendment includes portions of six other bills. LB 507, one of the Natural Resources’ Committee priority bills, includes the provisions of four other bills in addition to the underlying bill which prohibits the use of treated seed corn in the production of agricultural ethyl alcohol in certain circumstances. My hope is that the extra notice allows the body time to review the bills that are included within the carrying bill and to avoid surprises when those bills are debated.

The deadline for the designation of committee and senator priority bills has been extended from Thursday to Friday, March 12, prior to adjournment.

The deadline for submission of a speaker priority request letter continues to be tomorrow, Wednesday, March 10, prior to adjournment.

It is my intention to utilize a few smaller, more frequent consent calendars during the remainder of the session to allow the body to address some non-controversial, non-prioritized bills in an efficient manner. This memo serves as a guideline to the criteria I will rely upon as I evaluate the consent calendar requests from members.

As a reminder, the procedures for consent calendar are outlined in Rule 5, Section 6 of our Legislative Rules. As stipulated in this rule, only bills advanced out of committee with no dissenting votes are eligible for consent calendar.

The consent calendar procedures outlined in the rules provide that bills on consent calendar may be removed from the agenda by the written request of three or more senators. Additionally, the rules provide that bills remaining on consent calendar will be voted on at the expiration of 15 minutes or when debate ends, if less than 15 minutes. Similar to cloture, the consent calendar rule provides for a vote to be taken on the pending matter(s) under discussion, followed by a vote on the advancement of the bill.

Because our rules provide for a guaranteed vote on consent calendar bills, I will select bills for which the debate is anticipated to take less than 15 minutes. To that end, I have established additional guidelines pursuant to my authority in Rule 5, Section 6(a). A bill that fails to meet each of the following guidelines will not be placed upon a consent calendar.

1. Bill is non-controversial. Generally, bills do not fit consent if anyone testified at the committee hearing in opposition, and a committee amendment does not take care of the testifier(s)’s concerns.

2. Topic the bill opens up is non-controversial. For example, a bill which makes a small change implicating a charged social issue is not consent material. The bill itself may not be controversial, but the topic opened up is controversial. This judgment shall be made at my sole discretion.

3. Bill does not add a lot of changes. A bill adopting a new act or making several changes to an existing law is generally not consent material.

4. Bill does not have a general fund impact. Bills which appropriate general funds resulting in a net loss, bills resulting in the reduction of revenue to the General Fund, and all tax expenditure bills are not consent material.

5. Bill has been reported to general file before a letter of request has been delivered to my office.


Although consent calendar bills may have a committee amendment, consent calendar bills will not be allowed to be used as a vehicle for other bills. While I cannot prevent the body from adopting amendments to a consent calendar bill, if any amendments are adopted on the floor which add new subject matter, the bill will not be placed back on the agenda. Floor amendments which clean-up the original provisions of the bill are acceptable.

On Monday, March 15th, I will begin accepting consent calendar request letters from the principal introducer of a potential consent calendar bill. The cutoff date to have a bill considered for the first consent calendar will be by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 18th. I will provide deadlines for additional consent calendars as I make plans for scheduling. If you have a bill which you believe meets the eligibility criteria for consent calendar, please hand deliver a letter to my office prior to each deadline I provide.

I will evaluate each request and develop my list of bills to place on consent calendar. Pursuant to past practice, the list of consent calendar approved bills will be published on the agenda prior to the day we take up consent calendar.

Thursday, March 11, prior to adjournment is the deadline for the designation of Committee and Senator Priority Bills.

Wednesday, March 10, prior to adjournment is the deadline for a senator to submit a letter to the Speaker requesting designation of a bill as a Speaker Priority Bill. Speaker Priority Bill designations will be announced prior to adjournment on March 16.

Today I want to share with you some details on the Legislative Schedule as we move forward.

In addition to scheduling morning floor debate on Tuesday, February 16, I plan to schedule morning floor debate on Tuesday, March 2. The afternoon of both days will be devoted to public hearings.

The mornings of March 9, 10, and 11 will be floor debate with the afternoon available for public hearings and/or executive sessions. Friday, March 12 will be a 9:00 a.m. check-in day, with the full-day available for Friday committees to utilize. All committees, other than the Judiciary Committee, have been directed to schedule their final day of public hearings by March 4; Judiciary Committee’s last day of scheduled public hearings will be March 12. For committees other than the Judiciary Committee, the week of March 9 will be available for executive sessions and Covid-related public hearing “make-up days” if circumstances warrant a committee canceling a public hearing due to the full committee quarantining due to a Covid exposure.

All day floor debate will begin on March 15.

Sen. Mike Hilgers

Speaker of the Legislature
Room 2103
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2673
Email: mhilgers@leg.ne.gov
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