Friday, September 21, 2018
Text Size

Priority bills up for debate in the Legislature this week

Greetings District 36. I thought it might be helpful to give a brief look at the issues the Legislature will be debating for the remainder of this session.

With less than half the session remaining, the only bills that will be debated by the Legislature are priority bills. If a bill is designated as a “priority,” the Speaker of the Legislature will give preference to scheduling the bill over others that do not have a priority designation.

There are too many bills to debate in the 60 days that the Legislature will meet, so the priority process helps ensure the important bills get debated.

Each senator can designate one priority bill; each committee can designate two bills; and the speaker can designate 25 bills. This year, 108 bills have been selected as priority bills.

Three bills I have introduced have been designated as priority bills. I chose as my personal priority bill LB 919, which will expand problem-solving courts. It’s my hope that a veterans court will be the first created with LB 919.

Sen. Nicole Fox from Omaha selected LB 1009, which addresses synthetic drugs like K2, as her personal priority bill. The Speaker designated LB 1083, which would create a strategic plan to foster entrepreneurship and innovation, as a priority.

Clearly, property taxes and agricultural land valuations will be an emphasis in the remaining days of session. The governor introduced a package of bills, LB 958 and LB 959, to limit the growth of agricultural land valuations and restrict the ability of schools, cities and counties to increase spending. Senators have prioritized bills to approach these issues in different ways.

While there is no easy fix to this issue, the governor and Legislature are committed to providing some reforms this session.

The governor also introduced a proposal to accelerate construction of state expressways, replace county bridges and assist with new business development. The bill, LB 960, would transfer $150 million from the state’s savings account to fund these initiatives.

Another bill that is important to District 36 is LB 977. This bill would clarify the rules governing weight limits for agricultural equipment on our road system. As the size of equipment has increased, we need to update our laws to reflect these changes.

Health care will also be an important discussion this year.

Sen. Merv Riepe introduced LB 817 to expand the use of direct primary care in Nebraska. This is a common-sense approach to lowering health care costs and improving outcomes for patients. Medical marijuana and Medicaid expansion will also be debated again this year.

This is just a snapshot of the issues that will be debated yet this year by the Legislature. If you have any thoughts on these or other bills, I would appreciate hearing from you. Please feel free to contact me by phone at (402) 471-2642 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . It’s an honor to represent you in our state legislature!