The Nebraska Legislature returned on January 5 to begin its 2022 session. This will be the so-called short session, at 60 meeting days, but there is a lot on the agenda. Adjournment is scheduled for April 20.
New bill introductions began on day 1 and will continue through the 10th meeting day (January 20.)
So far, 308 new legislative bills and five proposed constitutional amendments have been filed. This comes in addition to the numerous measures left from the 2021 session.
Full day floor debate commenced on the 10th and will give way to morning-only consideration on the 18th, when afternoon (and likely evening) committee hearings begin.
Committee hearings and initial floor debate will encompass a wide range of issues: Taxation (reductions and increases), economic development programs, social justice, business regulation, education policy and funding, and myriad other issues. Perhaps the issue of most lengthy debate will be dispersal of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
The Chamber has worked with allied economic development organizations to propose that ARPA funds be used for matters such as workforce, industrial site development, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and community quality of life—all one-time outlays for projects that will have major, long-term economic growth impacts on Nebraska.
On Thursday, the Governor will present his State of the State address and outline his budget proposals. This will likely include adjustments to the two-year budget and proposals for federal funding.
With committee hearings starting next week (and projected to run through March 3), Public Policy will again be looking to Chamber members to provide key support for (and, at times, opposition to) the numerous issues we will be involved in. This will be a busy time. Late evening floor debate is expected by March 14 and continue through April 12. Your assistance and support remain invaluable in this process.
NOTE: There are some changes this year to the committee process concerning public testimony.
In person testimony at hearings continues to be welcomed and such testimony will be part of the hearing transcript and committee statement. However, written testimony submitted in advance will no longer be accepted. That includes testimony delivered in person or by email.
Comments for the hearing record on a particular bill can be submitted via the “Submit Comments Online” link on a bill’s individual page (available at Nebraskalegislature.gov). That link will be live beginning when a hearing on a particular proposal is scheduled, and comments can be posted until noon on the last workday before the hearing.
You are still able to mail or email comments to individual senators in order to make them aware of your views.