Legislative Session A Third Complete, Priority Bills Deadline Is February 21

WAYNE – As the 60-day Legislative Session continues into the month of February, District 17 Senator Joni Albrecht updates her constituents on what is happening at the State Capitol.

According to a release from the office of Senator Albrecht, the session is one-third complete.

Early February saw 15 bills passed and signed by the Speaker with the next stop being the Governor’s office. A number of bills also advanced from committees to general file. There is limited time left in Session to actually debate bills coming out of committees as Speaker Jim Scheer is urging Senators to identify priority bills as quickly as possible.

About 120 members of county extensions from across the state visited Lincoln for UNL Extension Legislative Day last week including several from District 17. The group visited with Senator Albrecht about LB1026 which, as introduced, would provide $2.5 million for the University of Nebraska’s Daugherty Water for Food Institute. The research and resource extension of the University investigates time-tested, as well as innovative water management strategies with an ultimate goal of determining how to best grow more food while using less water. LB1026 is currently scheduled for hearing before the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, February 12.

Senator Albrecht also talked with District 17 members from the Educational Services Unit (ESU#1) in Wakefield about educational resources for special education, the property tax reform bill LB974 and potential changes to the Student Discipline Act bill LB147.

In the first 10 days of the session, Senator Albrecht introduced LB1167, which would require that members of the public be given opportunity to speak in any meeting that is subject to the Open Meetings Act. The legislative bill will have public hearing in front of the Government, Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee in Room #1507 on Thursday, February 20 at 1:30 p.m. Senator Albrecht believes that any elected body that has authority or ability to make decisions about taxpayer dollars should listen to what residents affected by those decisions have to say. For those who want to have a letter entered into the record, it should be to the Committee Clerk before 5:00 p.m. the day before the hearing.  If you want to testify in person, all are welcome to do so.

Earlier this month several members of the Nebraska Optometric Association joined the Governor and Senator Albrecht as the proclamation of making ‘2020 The Year of the Eye Exam’ was signed. Last Tuesday, Senator Albrecht was able to join those and other members of the group from all over Nebraska at a lunch. The group talk about of the importance of eye health and the commitment of this group to know and meet the eye health needs of District 17 communities.

A distinguished guest from Liberia West Africa also visited with Senator Albrecht in early February being Rev. Michael Z. Holder, Jr., Chaplain General of the Liberian Senate. The Liberian Senate is modeled on the United States Congress, with a House and a Senate. The counties each have two elected senators along with representation in the House.

The deadline for senators and committees to designate their priority bills for the session is Friday, February 21 and the Northeast Nebraska Chamber group is planning a visit to the State Capitol on Wednesday, February 26.

For more information or if you have any questions, contact Senator Albrecht by phone at 402-471-2716 or email jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.