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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.

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.

For the 2023 Session, I will be reinstating many of the normal procedures to the Norris Legislative Chamber although some restrictions/modifications will remain.


No specific restrictions will be placed on staff permitted on the floor, other than the general stipulation that the Norris Legislative Chamber is a working environment and certain conditions dictate when staff are or are not permitted in the Chamber. Staff are permitted on the floor when their presence supports a specific need of their senator. Examples of specific needs include the distribution of physical information or picking up and dropping off personal belongings. Staff permitted under these circumstances are not to remain in the Chamber and should leave after the immediate need has passed.
Additionally, staff assisting their senator during a specific debate with note taking, drafting amendments, providing research etc. falls within the definition of providing support and indicates a legitimate reason for their presence on the floor.
Staff loitering or utilizing the chamber as a personal work station is prohibited. Staff wishing to observe the floor debate without providing support to their senator are asked to watch the floor debate on their television or computer from their office. Senators whose staff abuse these guidelines will be asked to direct their staff to leave the floor.

Media Access

Credentialed media will be allowed on the floor as space permits.

Balcony Usage

The north and south balconies will be open for visitors. The ADA Accommodation for visitors who are physically unable to utilize seating in the balcony will be the provision of an unobstructed view behind the glass walls in the gallery at the back of the Chamber. Please direct these visitors to the Sergeant at Arms seated at the rotunda desk.

The east balcony will continue to be reserved for members who are ill and would like to participate in debate. A microphone will allow these members to engage in debate and a method for voting will be established.

Visitors to the Chamber

The roped off seating area under the north and south balconies will be reopened for members to invite guests, with the permission of the chair, pursuant to Rule 2, Sec. 3. Guests with a direct interest in the matter being discussed are not allowed on the floor. Guest floor seating is intended for occasional visits.

Access to the Chamber

There will be two entrances open to the Chamber. The glass doors off of the rotunda and the southwest door outside of the speaker’s office.
The senator’s lounge will be closed for the entirety of the session, however, a path will be open to access the men’s restroom for senators located within the senators’ lounge. Additionally, the women’s restroom for senators accessed through the cloak room will be open.

Delivery of Notes

The delivery of notes from the rotunda by the Sergeants at Arms will continue.

Doctor of the Day

The Doctor of the Day Program will continue normal operations.The Doctor of the Day office has been relocated to a new room on the north side of the cloak room next to the water fountain.


The Chaplain of the Day program will resume normal operations with scheduling via the Chaplain Request form on the Uninet. See the “Legislative Staff” heading under “Applications.”

Technology Issues

Legislative Technology staff will be sitting on the floor each day and will provide assistance to senators as needed.

Coffee, Tea, Water and Sponsored Food

Pages will continue getting coffee, tea, and water for members.

Food sponsored by groups or senators can be distributed to members of the Legislature in the Chamber.

Senator Announcements and Use of Personal Privilege

I will continue the practice of Speaker Hilgers’ to accommodate the “good news” announcements (births, birthdays, anniversaries, and community accomplishments), by again incorporating into our daily schedule up to six minutes of announcements each morning following any “Messages, Reports, and Announcements” by the Clerk. Each announcement will be limited to one-to-two minutes dependent upon the number of announcement requests for that day. For inclusion on the personal announcement schedule, please remember to provide notification to Laurie Weber in my office by 5:00 p.m. the day prior. Please note, I reserve the right to postpone any scheduled announcements to another day in order to accommodate pressing business before the body or to accommodate the day’s schedule.

Additionally, I want to remind you that I will be following the same policy as last year of restricting the use of the Point of Personal Privilege motion to the purposes outlined in our rules (Rule 2, Sec 11). Please know that I will be ruling all instances of personal privilege out of order unless the member wishes to address the “rights, dignity, and integrity of the Legislature collectively” or the “rights, reputation, and conduct of members individually.” I ask that members approach me before using a point of personal privilege to discuss whether it would be held in order by the presiding officer.

Legislative Resolutions

And finally, I want to provide notice about how I will be handling certain Legislative Resolutions. Legislative Resolutions that are not congratulatory or ceremonial in nature, nor are Constitutional Amendments, but would establish a policy position of the Legislature and are controversial in nature, will neither be referred to a committee for a public hearing nor scheduled for debate.

I believe the primary work of the Legislature is to pass legislation. As perhaps the only state that requires a public hearing on all bills, other than Revisor bills, our committees have a large workload without adding to their duties. Additionally, floor time is precious and during some years not enough time exists for all priority bills to be debated by the full Legislature. Therefore, I do not intend to add to our workload with the consideration of Legislative Resolutions which are divisive.

January 6, 9 through 13
• Convene at 10:00 a.m.
• Bill introduction
• Adjourn around 11:30 a.m. or when introduced bills have been processed by the Clerk’s office

January 13
• (Tentative) Last day to submit bill requests to Revisor of Statutes/Bill Drafting Office (by noon)

January 17
• Convene at 10:00 a.m.
• Bill Introduction
• Begin debate of motion to adopt permanent rules
• Recess at noon and reconvene at 1:30 p.m. to continue debate; Adjourn around 5:00 p.m.

January 18
• Convene at 9:00 a.m.
• Last Day of Bill Introduction

January 19, 20
• Convene at 9:00 a.m.

January 23
• Convene at 10:00 a.m.
• Public hearings begin at 1:30 p.m.

January 24, 26, 27
• Convene at 9:00 a.m.
• Public hearings at 1:30 p.m.

January 25
• Convene at 9:30 a.m.
• Governor Pillen’s State of the State Address-10:00 a.m.
• Adjourn at 11:00 a.m.
• Public hearings at 1:30 p.m.

January 30 through February 10
• Convene at 9:00 a.m. and adjourn following check-in
• Morning and afternoon public hearings

February 13
• Convene at 10:00 a.m.
• Begin debate of bills
• Adjourn around noon
• Public hearings continue in the afternoon

February 21
• Convene at 9:30 a.m.
• Chief Justice Heavican’s State of the Judiciary Address-10:00 a.m.
• Debate of legislation
• Adjourn around noon

March 9, Prior to Adjournment
• Last day to submit a letter to the Speaker requesting the designation of a bill as a 2023 speaker priority bill

March 14, Prior to Adjournment
• Deadline for designation of committee and senator priority bills

March 15, Prior to Adjournment
• Speaker will announce 2023 speaker priority bills

March 24
• Date to complete public hearings on introduced bills

March 28
• Full Day floor debate begins

April 11-June 2
• Senators are requested to keep their session day evenings open beginning April 11 and throughout the remainder of the session for extended floor debate.

Please note that beginning February 13, the Legislature will be in session all morning and public hearings will be held only in the afternoon. Additionally, we will convene the first day of the work week at 10:00 a.m. (unless otherwise announced) and we will convene at 9:00 a.m. on the other days.

If bad weather necessitates a time change, members will be notified and the change will be announced via the Legislature’s website.

Sen. John Arch

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