Committee Hearings

Thursday was Day 10 of the session, marking the end of new bill introductions. Unofficially, 487 new gems are now in the book. On Tuesday, Legislative Committees began their public hearings on all new bills.

Floor debate tomorrow morning has something for everyone. We’re talking job creation and Mainstreet revitalization, support for trafficking survivors, reflexology by massage therapists, bone marrow, dental hygienists, and deer hunting permits.

The Referencing Committee of the Legislature sends every bill to one of fourteen standing committees based on the topic and laws affected. Each committee then conducts public hearings. They advance reasonable-ish legislation to General File. Unnecessary (substitute “Are you kidding?”) bills, are caught by committee senators, who absorb the whining and tedious testimony, and then hold the little darlings until they die of natural causes.

Below are insider tips for you geeks of the Legislature (your friend knows who you are) who lay around watching committee hearings:

  • Get a job
  • No matter how innocuous, every bill has an interested lobbyist
  • Bills introduced by the chair of the committee usually advance
  • When a senator introduces a bill and then leaves the hearing – it’s dead
  • Committee members have already been lobbied
  • At times there are more committee members than people in the audience
  • Each standing committee may only designate two priority bills
  • Everyone in the audience has laptops, cellphones and tablets – and they’re all on
  • Yes, people fall asleep. Usually, it’s the senators
  • Committees limit testimony to either 3 or 5 minutes. Senators and lobbyists prefer three
  • The lightbox on the testifier’s table allows everyone equal time to testify
    • The green light means your are good to go
    • Amber means you have one minute remaining
    • Red does not mean to keep your head down and continue reading.
    • STOP ALREADY….and have a nice day.

2020 Bills

  • LB746 Consumer Data Privacy Act to enhance online protection of private online data.
  • LB974 Increases state funding for K-12 by $520 million. Agricultural land valuation would be cut from 75% to 55%. Residential and commercial property valuation drops from 100% to 85%.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments

  • LR3CA Refundable credit against income taxes paid equal to 35% of the property taxes
  • LR5CA No more than 33% of K-12 public schools funding would derive from property taxes
  • LR8CA Caps increases in political subdivision property tax revenue at 3% of the prior fiscal year
  • LR279CA Increases the maximum number of members in the Legislature from 50 to 55
  • LR280CA Increases the maximum consecutive four-year legislative terms from two to three
  • LR284CA Eliminates the state income tax over four years