Strenuous session winding to a close

Greetings District 36. Issues continue to move through the Nebraska Legislature at a hectic pace. With only a handful of days left in this session, some would say we are winding down. I would suggest that the rubber bands are wound quite tightly.

The Legislature has addressed many important items this past week. Expanded Medicaid, tax proposals and education funding issues have dominated much of the discussion. Each one of these issues has significant implications for our state.

Making public policy involves balancing what we would like to do with what we can afford to do. Medicaid expansion is a great example of the balancing act. No one doubts the fact that our current health care delivery system has not worked very well for everyone. On the other hand, we recognize that the cost of providing health care could jeopardize the financial stability of our entire state.

The Legislature did not adopt the proposal to expand Medicaid. However, the problem will not go away and must be addressed in a meaningful manner in the future.

I am pleased to report that the bill I introduced to address synthetic drugs, such as K2, was signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts. This bill was the result of a team effort that included all the professionals who deal with these substances, as well as families who have been impacted by them.

I am optimistic that this bill will help law enforcement remove these dangerous drugs from store shelves.

Over the course of the past few weeks, debate has been heated at times. At the beginning of a rather contentious debate, I spoke to the senators concerning professional advocacy. I reminded the group that there are certainly issues that are emotional and emotion is part of our discussion. I also suggested that there are issues that are very personal in nature, and that is OK.

However, I suggested that “words matter.” As legislators, we are held to a high standard of professional behavior. Personal attacks on other senators are simply unacceptable behavior.

I’m reminded of those words we have all heard spoken so often: “Take a deep breath, count to 10 and think before you speak.” I wish the presidential candidates would follow the same techniques for professional advocacy.

I would like to thank the Gothenburg Area Chamber of Commerce for hosting Eggs & Issues. We had a great crowd and discussed many items of concern to those in attendance. We talked about synthetic drugs, problem-solving courts, real estate taxes and school funding, to name a few. Our next Eggs & Issues is scheduled for the Grand Generation Center in Lexington on Saturday, April 9, at 8:30 a.m. Please plan to attend.

These last days of the session will be filled with lengthy debate and late evenings. During these strenuous times, I am reminded of what a privilege it is to serve as your state senator. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as the session heads towards the finish line.

As always, please feel free to contact my office in Lincoln with any of your questions or comments at (402) 471-2642 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .