Sunday, September 23, 2018
   
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60-day session coming to a close

Greetings District 36. The session continues to move forward rapidly. We now have fewer than 10 days remaining in the 60-day session. This past week was filled with lengthy debate on issues facing our state.

I am pleased to report that the Legislature has agreed on necessary adjustments to the biannual budget. The final budget, along with the one-time transfers from our cash reserve, passed the Legislature overwhelmingly and are on the governor’s desk for consideration.

The revised budget includes approximately $90 million in transfers from our cash reserves for three important one-time projects. The first project includes a $50 million transfer to a transportation infrastructure bank, which will help jumpstart road construction and bridge repair across our state. It is important that we get moving on the expressways and bridges needed to make Nebraska economically competitive.

The second transfer of $27 million would be used to create over 160 community corrections beds for our prison system. This allocation of funding will help us meet our commitment to reducing the prison overcrowding situation and head off a lawsuit against the state.

The final one-time transfer of approximately $13 million is for the levy project surrounding Offutt Air Force Base. The remaining cost of the levy project will be paid for with funding from the Omaha-metro area. Many people do not realize that Offutt Air Force Base is the largest employer in the state of Nebraska. The levy project helps ensure that Offutt will remain a vital part of our state’s economy for many years to come. I supported all of these transfers from the cash reserve.

Two of my high-priority bills for this session have progressed to the final stages of consideration. The bill to expand problem-solving courts is ready for a final vote in the Legislature and the bill to remove and keep synthetic drugs off the shelves of retailers has pass the Legislature and is being review by the governor. Both bills are important to our state and its residents. I am pleased to report that these bills have received considerable support in the Legislature.

I have talked before about LB 977, which addresses the issue of weight and load limits for agricultural equipment. I am pleased to report that due to significant work by the Nebraska Cattlemen, the Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Association of County Officials, an agreement has been reached. This agreement recognizes that agriculture equipment has grown beyond the current weight limits in law, but recognizes also that counties should have a level of local control to address the issue. Thanks to all the parties for finding a solution.

On Thursday, March 24, Gov. Pete Ricketts hosted a town-hall meeting in Lexington to update area residents on the legislative session. I was unable to attend because of votes in the Legislature, but I appreciate the willingness of the governor to visit with the residents of District 36. I would ask that you keep the governor and members of the Legislature in your thoughts and prayers as we enter the final stretch of this legislative session.

If you have questions or comments concerning issues in the Legislature or facing our state, please feel free to contact my office at any time. You can reach me at (402) 471-2642 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .