Legislature: what have they done so far?

Remember, the only obligation the Legislature has is to pass a balanced budget.
So, what is all of this other stuff that has occupied senator’s time since the start of the year? Is any of it important? Could we live without some of it?
The budget has to be on the floor the 70th Day (April 24) and be passed through all three rounds of debate by the 80th day. It appears that WILL happen, as usual.
There were a number of half days (committee hearings are held in the afternoon) early in the session devoted to seemingly endless debate over rules. The Gang of 29 wanted to change the number of votes necessary to cease debate. The other 20 senators pushed back.
Resolution of the issue came in an agreement to abide by temporary rules until the 50th day. That day came and lawmakers agreed to complete the session with the temporary rules in place.
But that didn’t necessarily open the floodgates to getting bills processed through three rounds of debate and signed by the governor.
By Day 58, the Legislature had passed and the governor signed 33 bills into law. A number of those were routine measures making necessary changes and statute updates in the licensing of health professionals, banking regulations and urban development practices and procedures. The banking updates were the first since 1963. Nothing sexy, just necessary.
Gov. Pete Ricketts had signed LB 45, a measure to include military reserve organizations in the category of specialty license plates for members of the military.
That’s a total of 11 different plates for soldiers and they join Husker plates, and mountain lion preservation plates, sesquicentennial plates and the original message plates that have been around a few years.
Still awaiting final approval is LB 46, another license plate bill that was subjected to lengthy debate. It carries the message “Choose Life.” Seventy-five percent of the proceeds from the sale of those plates go to provide temporary assistance for needy families. Ricketts is expected to sign it when it gets to his desk (It became law last week).
The governor’s plan to streamline and run government like a business took another step forward with LB 339 to merge the state Department of Aeronautics with the state Department of Roads, effective July 1. The combined agencies would be renamed the Nebraska Department of Transportation. Nebraska is the only state without one.

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