Hughes' Views: What we accomplished this session
This year’s legislative session came to an end on day 84 of the possible 90 day session.
Of the more than 700 bills which were introduced and heard in committee hearings this year, more than 200 bills will become law.
Some might say the legislature failed to solve the most pressing issues facing the state of Nebraska, and in my opinion they would be correct.
Property tax relief, business incentives, and the way in which we fund K-12 education are all topics which need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
But we should not only focus on the negative. It’s also time to take inventory of the accomplishments that we did have as a legislative body.
A couple notable accomplishments include appropriating additional dollars to nursing homes for Medicaid recipients in the budget and setting aside funding for the Governor’s Emergency fund which was most recently used for flood disaster relief.
We did provide some property tax relief by adding an additional $51 million to the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund, bringing the total to $275 million per year for each of the next two years.
Another personal goal was to raise Game and Parks’ awareness of wildlife depredation in our district.
That goal was successful, and I will be introducing legislation next year to further that endeavor. I also passed the following bills into law:
• LB127: This bill expanded the definition of immediate family for purposes of limited deer permits.
• LB128 was amended into LB356: This bill allowed the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles to design additional license plates to be known as Wildlife Conservation Plates.
• LB227: This bill updated and enhanced the protections in the Right to Farm Act originally passed in 1982.
• LB302: This bill was introduced at the request of the Governor and merged the State Energy Office and the Department of Environmental Quality.
The combined agencies are renamed the Department of Environment and Energy effective July 1.
• LB719: This bill streamlined the process for scrap recyclers and junk and salvage yard to send mandatory reports to the DMV who will then report to NMVTIS.
This will eliminate duplicative reporting requirements for scrap recyclers and junk and salvage yards.
Most importantly, I am grateful for the opportunity to be here and serve you all. This session was a mixed bag; I remain hopeful that the bigger picture issues can be addressed when session reconvenes next year.
Until then, my Lincoln office will still be open.
Article updates will come out on a monthly basis. Reach out to my staff or myself with questions or concerns. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is (402) 471-2805.
You can read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov.