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It has been an interesting first few weeks here at the capitol. Lincoln received the second highest snowfall which brought most of the city to a stop but the legislature kept on track. We also had complications this past week of some staff and senators having to quarantine due to exposure to Covid. We are doing all we can to keep everyone as safe as possible in the building. Testing is still ongoing on a weekly basis for those staff and senators who choose to get tested.
This session is different from normal sessions for yet another reason, redistricting. This is a process the legislature must go through every 10 years. It ensures that all Nebraskans are represented equally by redrawing election boundary lines, based on population, for political, governmental, and other public bodies. Every 10 years, all 50 states must redraw the district boundaries for the US House of Representatives and state legislatures. In Nebraska, we will also draw new district boundaries for the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, the Public Service Commission and the Nebraska Supreme Court. It is a very difficult process and one that must proceed with substantive guidelines.
There are statutory and constitutional requirements on both the federal and state level relating to equality and discrimination and there are also individual state rules for drawing plans. Redistricting plans across the country are often challenged in court and the courts will look at multiple factors when deciding on whether to reject or uphold the plans.
The Nebraska Legislature is very fortunate to have experienced people in our Legislative Research office to help guide the senators through this process. These people have spent the past year doing research on redistricting and they will help to create plans that are something the legislature can be proud of.
The Executive Board met last week and selected senators to be on the 2021 Redistricting Committee. Thirty-two senators submitted their name for consideration. The rules dictate that the Executive Board had to select 3 senators from each of the 3 congressional districts. No more than 5 senators can be of the same political party. The following senators will be on the committee, Senators; Carol Blood-Bellevue, Tom Briese-Albion, Tom Brewer-Gordon, Suzanne Geist-Lincoln, Steve Lathrop-Omaha, LouAnn Linehan-Elkhorn, John Lowe-Kearney, Adam Morfeld-Lincoln, and Justin Wayne-Omaha. This is truly one of the thankless jobs here in the legislature and I appreciate each one of them stepping up. Due to the outbreak of Covid during the 2020 census taking, receiving the data we must use may be delayed. If so, the Nebraska Legislature may have to come back for a special session this fall so you may hear a lot about this over the upcoming year.
Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. My email address is email@example.com and my phone number is (402) 471-2805. You can read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov, and you can click on the Live Video Streaming NET logo to watch sessions, hearings, and other Capitol events.