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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.