Photo by Nebraska Unicameral
This first session of Nebraska’s 105th Legislature has adjourned. If I had to describe it in one word, I would have to say “frustrated” sums it up pretty well.I wish I could tell you it was about all the things that we got done. Worthy of note is the fact we overcame a $1.1 billion budget deficit and passed “two” budget bills, one that addressed the shortfall we have in the current fiscal year and the other for the next biennium (the next two years.)
We got the Department of Roads and the Department of Aeronautics combined into one new state agency (Department of Transportation). We got the state’s veteran homes out of the Department of Health and Human Services and under the control of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Both of these changes save money and improve services.
I have learned a lot in this session, as have the other 17 freshmen senators. I think next session will be completely different, armed with the knowledge and experience we all now have.
I was disappointed we didn’t get the rules changed early in the session. A lot of really good legislation was killed by filibuster this session because we didn’t get the rules changed.
Most of all I was sorely disappointed that we accomplished nothing on property taxes.
I have teamed up with Sen. Steve Erdman (Legislative District 47, Bayard) and many other senators, exploring different options to address the property tax problem next session. A number of ideas are already out there and some groups are considering initiatives to put the matter on the ballot in the next election.
I have drafted a legislative resolution that would amend the Nebraska constitution and change how property tax money can be spent. I will keep you posted on all these efforts.
The people are fed up and demand action. I will be working on this issue all summer and welcome your thoughts and comments.
I have three interim studies we have introduced to work on over the summer, plus I will get my schedule of town hall meetings in the district over the summer published soon.
Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at email@example.com or call us at (402) 471-2628.