I first want to extend my wishes that everyone had a Merry Christmas, and a nice holiday season with family and friends, as well as to wish a healthy and prosperous New Year to everyone.
The 2020 legislative session convenes at 10:00 a.m. on January 8, so by the time you read this, it will be in session. The first several days of the session will consist mostly of bill introduction. Bills can be introduced during the first 10 working days of the session, which this year will run until January 23rd. Debate on carryover legislation (bills from last year which were neither killed nor passed) will begin on January 13th. As this is the short 60-day session, things will move quickly, with committee hearings beginning on the 21st, and full day debate beginning on March 3rd. I anticipate that there will be several days on which we work late into the night.
As a member of the Revenue Committee, I’ve been working with fellow committee members for several months to craft a property tax/education funding reform proposal that can provide significant property tax relief to Nebraskans. It will be tied together with the proposed business incentive bill to help ensure its passage. As I write this, there remain some details to be worked out on both components of this package, but these items should be finalized in the coming days. I will describe in detail the components of this package, as well as other legislation introduced by my colleagues and me, in future columns.
In the General Affairs Committee, which I chair, we will likely once again be discussing vaping and the age for purchase of cigarettes and vaping products. There may be some gambling legislation introduced, along with an electrical licensing proposal, among other items. In the Legislature as a whole, I anticipate most of our floor debate time to be dominated by property tax relief, business incentives, and legislation to address changes and updates to our prison system. Certainly many other good and bad ideas will be talked about this year, but look to see those three major issues dominate the session.
My staff and I are putting the finishing touches on legislation that I will introduce, and I aim to make sure that every bill I introduce, co-sponsor, or support will make life better for the people of Antelope, Boone, Garfield, Greeley, Howard, Pierce, Sherman, Valley, and Wheeler Counties. Keep your eyes in your local paper for additional columns from me with information on the legislative session as it goes on. If you’re traveling, you can always find my columns the following week on my legislative website, http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist41. However, your local paper will always be the first place it’s published. Never hesitate to contact my office, and give me or my staff your thoughts on the legislative session. You can reach my office at (402)471-2631 or by at email@example.com.