It is a real pleasure to report that LB 103 has been signed into law by the Governor. This was my priority bill, and it appropriates $2 million in each of the next two years to counties that meet certain criteria in paying off a federal judgement. This statute will allow Gage county to receive funds from the state’s general fund and apply the entire amount to the “Beatrice Six” case payment.
I want to thank the senators, the Board of Supervisors, organizations and constituents who supported LB 103. Your letters and phone calls explaining the burden on the county and the need for this legislation were vital and much appreciated.
I was appointed to a special committee, outlined in LR 141, to look at school financing. Senators Bostar, Brandt, DeBoer, Flood, Friesen ,Groene, McKinney, Pahls, Wishart and Education Committee Chair Walz are the other members charged with reviewing how revenue is collected and distributed to our K-12 public schools. I look forward to diving into the nuts and bolts of school finance and hope we can develop some sorely needed recommendations for reform, no small task.
With final action on a large number of bills, the Legislature has adjourned “sine die” for this session. On Wednesday morning, the body debated LR 134, the resolution which outlines the way we will take up redistricting later this year. The complete list of guidelines can be found on the website at www.nebraskalegislature.gov. Watch for a schedule of public hearings on the calendar tab of the website.
Veto overrides were taken up in the afternoon. Three bills were returned with a veto by the Governor, LB 108, 147 and 306. I supported LBs 108 and 306 which would provide assistance to some of the lowest income earners in our state. Food, shelter and heat are not luxuries but are essential to the health and well being of every person. I supported both of these bills and voted to override the vetoes.
LB 147 would transfer duties and responsibilities for management of the Class V retirement system (Omaha Public Schools) to the Public Employees Retirement Board effective September 1, 2024. The bill specifies accounting and audits that must be completed to accomplish the transition, and identifies the Omaha school district as the party responsible to pay all related costs related to the transfer of management. The bill clarifies that the school district remains solely financially responsible and liable during the transition and after the transfer of management to the Public Employees Retirement Board occurs; and specifies that the State of Nebraska, the Public Employees Retirement Board and the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System are not liable for any of the funding obligations of the Class V retirement system. I also supported this override motion.
Thursday was largely centered around clean up and bookkeeping procedures that allow the official records of the session to be completed. Governor Ricketts addressed the Legislature, and then the motion to adjourn was approved. Now the focus will turn to interim studies and special committee work for the next few months.
The past year has reminded us we can never know the future with any certainty, but conditions definitely look brighter than a year ago. During the interim months when we are not in session, my staff will still be in the office to handle your communications. I will be in the office as needed, and attending events in District 30. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-471-2620, or send your mail to PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604. Wishing you a safe and productive summer.