The kids are back!
Forty-nine senators, dressed in their Sunday best, gathered Wednesday for the 107th Legislature’s long (90-day) session. All passed the temperature test, most wore face coverings, and plexiglass partitions erected the last session stifled the mood. As for social distancing…umm, not so much.
Five senators are new to the building: Eliot Bostar (D – Lincoln) / John Cavanaugh (D – Omaha) / Jen Day (D – Gretna) / Terrell McKinney (D – Omaha) / Rita Sanders (R – Bellevue). Three former senators return from term limit exile: Ray Aguilar (R – Grand Island) / Mike Flood (R – Norfolk) and Rich Pahls (R – Millard). The makeup of the “nonpartisan” Legislature is 32 Republicans and 17 Democrats.
Senator Mike Hilgers (R – Lincoln) is the new Speaker. He will be a good one! As for Legislative Committees and leadership, go here.
Senators filed more than 200 bills in the first three legislative days. Bill introductions cease after the tenth legislative day (January 20), and public hearings begin January 25. Public hearing rules are still in the works, but each hearing room’s capacity will be limited to 27.
We know that every single bill introduced is important to someone. Fortunately, most of them won’t see the light of day. In this very unusual year, the Legislature’s must only accomplish two tasks. The first is to pass a balanced biennial state budget. Look for that to happen earlier in the session than usual.
The second task is to reapportion 3 congressional districts, 49 legislative districts, 12 judicial districts, 8 University of Nebraska regents’ districts, 8 Board of Education districts, and 5 Public Service Commission districts. Piece of cake!
Bill review is underway. Unfortunately, comprehensive tracking results will not be available until next weekend. Click here for a complete list of bills introduced thus far. Our apologies, and please call Mick at 402-658-6322 with questions.