Likely, you are less than interested that the 104th Nebraska Legislature, Second Session is kaput. Senators completed their perfunctory 60-days in session. All 49 claimed victory and then they went home. With more than twenty filibusters, the pace and flow of debate was, at times, drudgery. Kudos to Speaker Hadley for holding the place together.
A couple hundred bills were passed. Most fall in the “mehh” category. Governor Ricketts proposed two significant property tax reduction bills (LB958 and LB959) and signed them into law. Too bad, both had morphed into mere shells of their once proud selves after legislative amendments. The Governor also signed a $450 million “big deal” highway spending bill (LB960) that accelerates building of expressways and county bridges. Road contractors are trying desperately to contain themselves.
Looking forward, the May Primary Election finds 25 legislative seats on the ballot. Eleven are open as term-limits kicks another class to the curb. Senators Watermeier, Scheer and Murante are unopposed and eleven more incumbents scored opponents. General Election prediction: only eight contested incumbents return next year.
Finally, senators filed more than 100 Legislative Resolutions for interim studies. Typically, few interim studies evolve into public hearings, or even meaningful public debate. However, they do indicate which issues certain senators may introduce next session.
Governor Ricketts approved the following bills:
- LB821 – Workplace Privacy Act
- LB884 – Convention Center Financing Act
- LB958 – Property Tax Relief
- LB959 – Public Education Funding
- LB1105 – Liquor licensing
My very sincere thanks to all of you at the Nebraska Hotel and Lodging Association for another great session.