By Haley Dover and Danae Lenz, Nebraska News Service
LINCOLN–Though it’s a short session for the Nebraska Legislature, don’t be fooled. While it’s 30 days shorter than last year’s session, it is going to be packed with legislation.
In addition to the full schedule, term limits and elections loom, making it an even more action-packed 60 days. Two senators — Beau McCoy of Omaha and Charlie Janssen of Fremont — are also running for governor. Seventeen senators are reaching the limit of their terms and won’t return.
Nebraska statehouse clerks went into action this week in the Legislative Chamber as lawmakers began their 60-day session Wednesday. Courtesy Photo: Nebraska Legislature
In addition, the committee will consider a bill requiring school districts with fewer than 650 students to form alliances with nearby districts to share teachers and other resources and a proposal to make early childhood education available to all 4-year-olds statewide. Another proposal would designate $2 million to make available to schools on a first-come-first-served basis in $125,000 grants.
Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton, chairwoman of the Transportation Committee, said the committee doesn’t quite know what’s going to be headed its way this session in the 30 to 40 bills the committee usually gets, but the big thing she wants to accomplish is a 911 bill, which would change how emergency calls are handled and incorporate more technology into the system.
Sen. Ken Schilz of Ogallala, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, said they have quite a bit of cleaning up to do this session. One of the main bills Schilz plans to focus on deals with livestock expansion across the state and a change in the fee provisions of the Livestock Brand Act. A bill to support water funding is also on the committee’s radar.
Juvenile justice and Medicaid debates
Outside of the committee, Schilz said he is interested in a debate about the juvenile justice issue and moving more juveniles to probation — an issue he’s been following outside of the Legislature. Additionally, Schilz said, “We’ll have the Medicaid debate this session and talk about tax reform.”
Contact Haley Dover at firstname.lastname@example.org and Danae Lenz at email@example.com.