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Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014
Short time left in session (03/27/14)
Only nine legislative days left in the 2014 Legislative Session. We finished day 51 of the 60-day short session. Moreover, several bills hit the floor of the Unicameral for their first round of debate. So, this week I would like to touch on the status of some of those bills, along with sharing a great opportunity for high school juniors and seniors...
Legislature winds down for the year (03/21/14)
Another week of bills and amendments has come and gone as the Legislature begins to wind down for the year. There are only 13 more legislative days left this year and everyone is scrambling to get their bills across the finish line. I will have two bills up Monday on what the Legislature calls the Consent Calendar. ...
Priority bills debated (03/18/14)
The Legislature finished the 43rd day of a 60-day session last week. We are almost three quarters of the way through the 2014 session. This week in the letter back home, I would like to highlight some of the priority bills that were debated last week...
Hearing held on concealed carry for teachers (03/04/14)
This last week, the Judiciary Committee had the public hearing for my bill, LB879. The bill would give freedom to the governing body of any school to choose a security policy in their school that allows chosen employees who have taken 24 additional hours of training to carry a concealed handgun in their school. ...
Legislature passes halfway mark (02/24/14)
Last week the Legislature passed the halfway mark of this year's short session. This week is the last week of public hearings for bills introduced in January, so we will begin all-day debate around March 4. Last week I had hearing for another one of my bills, LB1111. This bill is a very controversial bill that lays out a proposed 10-year plan to reach water sustainability in areas that are levying an occupation tax on the activity on irrigation...
Changing good time laws (02/17/14)
Last summer we all read about the terrible actions of a former inmate, Nikko Jenkins, currently charged and accused of murdering four people in Omaha within a short time from his release from prison. This subject came up last week in the Judiciary Committee where we heard testimony for LB832...
Absenteeism, juvenile justice (02/07/14)
We had a hearing on two amendments this last week in the Judiciary Committee regarding school absenteeism and juvenile justice issues. We have literally come full circle on the school absenteeism issue and are making strides to improve, correct, and clarify juvenile justice issues related to last sessions LB561...
Bills introduced by Christensen (01/24/14)
This week in my letter I would like to discuss a few of the bills I introduced this session. Two of these bills were up for their public hearings this last week. Legislative Bill687 and LB762. LB687, heard in the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee, was a bill brought to me by the Real Estate Commission to change license application procedures regarding when an applicant needs to get fingerprints to the commission. ...
Human trafficking (05/24/13)
With only seven legislative days left in the 2013 session, the Legislature is winding down and preparing to finish its work by June 5. This last week seemed to move fairly slow with a lot of prolonged debate on many of the bills discussed, except for the bill I wanted to highlight in this week's letter...
The state's airplane purchase (05/13/13)
To purchase, to lease, or to study? That is the question the Legislature addressed this last week regarding the Governor's request in the budget to purchase the Beechcraft Super King Air airplane from the University of Nebraska Foundation. Friday, May 10, the Legislature answered that question by amending the budget to give a third party a chance to study further what would be the best cost effective approach to meet the needs of the Governor. ...
Budget priority for Legislature this week (05/06/13)
Well, we didn't get to the budget last week, but we were assured by Speaker Adams that starting the week of May 7 the budget would be the primary goal on the agenda. Last week the Legislature also passed several bills on Final Reading. Of those, Legislative Bill423, a bill introduced by the Agriculture Committee, passed with a 41-0 vote. ...
23 days remaining in regular session (04/29/13)
The Legislature finished Day 67 of the 1st Regular Session of the 103 Legislature last week. Only 23 legislative days left in the long 90-Day session scheduled to end June 5. This week the Legislature will be discussing the budget bills and making the tough decision on appropriating funds for the operation of state government. This week though, I would like to discuss Legislative Bill 407, the school funding bill...
Dealing with juvenile sentencing (04/15/13)
It was a cold and wet end to week while representing the 44th District at the Capitol, but it is some much needed moisture for Nebraska. Legislative Bill 44 was advanced on the floor on Thursday with a 30-2 vote. LB 44 deals with juveniles (under the age of 18) that have been convicted of murder and adds a minimum term of years for Class IA felonies. ...
Red flags in medical bill (04/08/13)
There are eight weeks remaining in the 2013 Legislative Session and several bills have had extended debate on the floor, one being, Legislative Bill 528, introduced by Senator Sara Howard of Omaha. Roughly two weeks ago LB 528 was advanced on the floor with a 32-3 vote. ...
State senator seeks input on death penalty (04/02/13)
The Legislature has started all-day debate on priority bills. One of the priority bills that may come up for debate again this session, is Legislative Bill 543, introduced by Sen. Chambers. LB543, would repeal the death penalty in Nebraska and replace it with life without parole...
Legislature finishes public hearings (03/26/13)
Last week the Legislature finished its public hearings on the bills introduced this session, and will be starting all-day debate this week. Nine of the bills heard in the Judiciary last week dealt with issues relating to firearms. Two of the bills were my bills LB352, that would require a uniform sign and the placement of that sign for prohibiting Concealed Handgun Permit holders by property owners, and LB335, which would clarify that employees and customers can transport and store firearms in their private vehicles when in a parking lot open to the public. ...
Priority bill would require water compensation (03/18/13)
The Legislature is almost half way through this year's Legislative Session; we have completed 43 of the 90 Legislative Days. Senator, Committee, and Speaker priority designations and requests have all been handed in and we have begun debating those priority bills for this session, so I would like to share with you my senator priority designation...
Important hearings scheduled (03/11/13)
This week I would first like to say thank you to all of you who stopped by the Capitol while in Lincoln for the Girls and Boys State Basketball Tournaments. It is always a great opportunity to meet and catch up with people from the district. If you are in Lincoln for any reason, please feel free to stop in my office...
Deadline approaching for priority bills (03/04/13)
This year's Legislative Session is moving along. With a third of the session behind us, there are only a couple of weeks left of public hearings for introduced bills. We are also approaching the deadline for priority bill designations. March 14 and 15 are the deadlines for senator and committee priority designations set by Speaker Adams. At this time I have not made my final decision as to which bill I will choose...
LB 52 heard on General File (02/18/13)
Senator Mark Christensen Letter Back Home Last week ended on the 26th day of the Legislature and my bill, LB 52, was heard on General File. Legislative Bill 52 would allow the director of the Department of Correctional Services to enter into arrangements with any charitable, fraternal, or nonprofit corporation for labor services that have a public benefit by persons committed to the incarceration work camp. ...
Busy week in the Legislature (02/11/13)
This past week at the Legislature was busy one. On Tuesday, February 5th, Legislative Bill 16 was heard and advanced to final reading with a 49-0 vote. LB 16 is a bill I introduced to add contingency language between Chase County and the Game and Parks for Champion Mill State Historical Park and Champion Lake State Recreation Area...
First week of hearings (01/28/13)
The Legislature finished its first week of public hearings on bills introduced for this session on Friday the 25th. Monday the 28th will be the first day of debate on the floor of the Legislature. We will be debating bills in the mornings and hearing testimony on bills in committees in the afternoon on into March...
Two bills concern Southwest Nebraska issues (01/22/13)
President Obama has his work cut out for him if he hopes to move the nation toward "collective" action on the problems the nation faces during his second term. From his position in a polarized nation, it will take exceptional skill to achieve any goals in his lame duck term as president...
Merry Christmas! (12/18/12)
Merry Christmas! Christ is born! What a joyous time of year filled with fellowship and family. Let's rejoice and celebrate, Christ our Savior! As I reflect on this past year, I am saddened by the economic struggle and environmental impacts of the drought, not only District 44 has faced but the country as a whole. ...
Refunding occupation taxes (04/16/12)
The end of the 60-day, short session is near. The 60th legislative day will take place this Wednesday morning, April 18. The Legislature will address the governor's vetoes of LB806 (historic horse-racing machines), and potentially several other bills. This week, in my letter, I would like to cover my bill, LB1125...
Supports employer immunity (03/23/12)
Late night debates at the Legislature are in full swing and we are nearing the pinnacle of the 2012 Legislative session. We began debating on consent calendar bills last week, which are bills that have been deemed non-controversial and are allowed no more than 15 minutes of debate. My bill, LB 1126, is one of the bills that passed first round on consent calendar...
Budget bills advance to select file (03/19/12)
The budget bills were debated in the Legislature this last week, all three bills advancing to Select File (second round of debate). We will continue Select File debate on the budget this week as we address several amendments filed on the bills. I would like to update you on some highlights of the budget and my position on the bills...
Session moving along quickly (03/13/12)
The 2012 Session in the Legislature is moving along quickly as we finished two-thirds of the 60-day session last week. We will begin discussing budget bills this week along with continued work on priority bills. In my letter today, I would like to touch on the gambling bills LB1067 and LB806...
Pipeline priority bill (02/27/12)
At the Legislature this week we will begin full day debate on the floor. The Speaker of the Legislature released his priority bills and I was pleased to find out that my bill, LB 1125, was chosen as one of them. Despite the President's denial of TransCanada's permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, the issue continues to make a splash here at the Capitol. I would like to discuss LB 1161, in relation to the events surrounding the pipeline issue in Nebraska...
Session nearly half over (02/14/12)
The 2012 Legislative session is nearly half over and the Speaker of the Legislature has asked for priority bills to be submitted. The deadline is by adjournment Thursday. This past week Legislative Bill 540 was debated and advanced on the floor and I would like to focus my letter back home on this bill...
Tweaking healthcare services law in Nebraska (02/09/12)
On Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, Speaker Mike Flood of the Nebraska Legislature announced that Session would end early on Friday the 3rd, due to the upcoming threat of extreme weather conditions. Hearings that were to be heard that afternoon have been rescheduled to have their hearings on Monday February 13, at 9:30 a.m. ...
Bill would fix city council quandary (01/23/12)
This past week has been consumed with the first half of the day in session and the second half of the day involved in Committee Hearings. Amongst all the hustle and bustle of the Legislature, I have managed to introduce 12 new bills in addition to my carry over bills from the 2011 session. In the letter this week, I will focus on three bills that I have introduced on behalf of District 44 constituents...
Reflect on the true meaning of Christmas (12/21/11)
The wondrous gift is given! December, a month that seems overwhelmingly busy with celebrations, decorations, holiday cheer and shopping for the perfect gift. Let us not get lost in the frenzy of material but remember the perfect gift is before us, Christ our Savior!...
Path open for compromise on pipelin (11/16/11)
You may have heard that after nine legislative days of the special session, over 25 hours of testimony, and one day of debate, a path has developed to move forward with a compromise on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Many of you have been following the Keystone XL Pipeline issue closely and have contacted my office voicing your opinions regarding the proposed oil pipeline and its route through the Sandhills and over the Ogallala Aquifer; thank you for your involvement. ...
Wrapping things up in Lincoln (05/23/11)
With only seven legislative days left in this year's session, things are beginning to wrap up here in the Capital City. The Unicameral advanced the redistricting bills and a compromise on the reform of the Commission of Industrial Relations in Legislative Bill 397 to Final Reading. I would like to touch on those two controversial issues this week, since many of you had contacted me regarding them...
Reaching a compromise on the pipeline (05/16/11)
Legislative Bill 629, introduced by Sen. Kate Sullivan, which would enact the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Reclamation and Recovery Act, in response to intentions by TransCanada to run its Keystone oil pipeline through Nebraska. It has been a hot topic of discussion for many Nebraskans, and many of you in District 44 who have taken the time to contact me with your opinions regarding the bill. I truly appreciate receiving your opinions and involvement in this important issue...
Highlights of the biennial budget bills (05/09/11)
Last week the Legislature took up the budget bills for the next biennium. Very little was changed as they advanced through the first and second rounds of debate. I would like to focus on some of the highlights of the budget. Eight bills make up the budget package this year, and they have advanced through the first two rounds of debate to Final Reading. The Nebraska Constitution requires that the budget is finished by the 80th legislative day, which is Tuesday, May 17...
Concealed weapons, closing highways (05/02/11)
This week the state policy for how local communities handle the temporary use or closure of state highways for local parades, celebrations and other community events may change with the advancement of LB589 to the second round of debate. This week I Also received good news for concealed handgun permit holders from the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP)...
Short funds lead to long debates (04/25/11)
When funds are tight and state priorities have to be revisited, it can make for long debates on bills with a fiscal impact. That is what happened last week regarding the Select File debate of a roads funding bill, LB 84, introduced by Sen. Fischer of Valentine...
Tightening our belts in tough times (04/13/11)
Last week, the Legislature made a difficult step toward balancing the budget by advancing LB 235 to select file. LB 235 reduces state aid to schools to approximately $822 million for next year -- down from $950 million this year -- and $880 million the following year. The bill advanced 41 to 0, with my support...
Addressing the revenue shortfall (04/04/11)
March has come and gone and the Legislature has finished 56 days of the 90-day session. Since my last letter the Legislature had an extended eight-hour debate on LB 84, which addresses the expected revenue shortfall to meet Nebraska's needs for road maintenance and construction in the future by using a half percent of the current 5.5 percent state sales tax and provisions to allow for bonding.. I would like to discuss the status of LB 84 and a couple of my bills, LB 512 and LB 648...
Legislature halfway through 2011 session (03/14/11)
The Legislature is half way through the 2011 Legislative Session, and public hearings for this session's legislation will wrap up this Thursday, March 17. Moreover, last Wednesday and Thursday were the deadlines on Speaker Priority Bill designations and Senator and Committee Priority Bill designations. I chose LB 648 for my priority bill this session...
Plan seems like win-win option (03/04/11)
Surface water transfers...A taboo phrase for some, prudent management for others. I do not say this to put others down, but to express the political reality regarding water transfers from one river basin to another river basin. As most of you know I fall in the camp that believes that these types of transfers can be used to prudently manage Nebraska's water resources. ...
The Nebraska foster care system (02/14/11)
The Nebraska foster care system has been in the news quite a bit lately. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is in the middle of a reform process to move toward privatization of the system. The news has been filled with the problems Nebraska is having maintaining an adequate level of infrastructure after three of five contract lead agencies either backed out or went under...
Heated discussions on methamphetamines (02/10/11)
Last week the Legislature finished the 22nd Legislative Day and had a heated discussion regarding Sen. McCoy's Legislative Bill 20, which would regulate the sale of methamphetamine precursors such as pseudoephedrine. The heated discussion revolved around the civil immunity for sellers acting in good faith when logging information of the purchaser. The bill eventually was advanced with a 38-0 vote, with 7 not voting...
Concerns about LB 299 (02/02/11)
The 1st Regular Session, of the 102nd Legislature has started. The 2011 Session is a 90-day session, or "long" session, that began on Jan. 5 and is scheduled to end June 8. We have already finished 17 legislative days and introduced 698 bills, but I would like to take time in this week's letter to talk about Legislative Bill 229...
Coming together to address water use (06/17/10)
This is the third letter in a series where I have discussed the Kansas lawsuit and the reasons to come together as a basin to address water use and economic stability, and the three options the Department of Natural Resources has given to the Natural Resources Districts in the basin to amend their Integrated Management Plans for dry year compliance with the compact...
How IMPs will affect Southwest Nebraska (05/28/10)
With the Kansas lawsuit, and local Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) writing new Integrated Management Plans (IMPs), I thought it appropriate to explain over the next couple of weeks how this affects Southwest Nebraska. In 2008, Kansas asked in arbitration for $72 million in damages from Nebraska, and for Nebraska to shut off wells within 2.5 miles of the stream for failing to comply with the 2003 settlement to the compact. ...
Recapping the legislative session (05/03/10)
This will be my last Letter Back Home for a while. I would like to recap a few things from this session. The 101st Legislature 2nd Regular Session ended having passed 196 bills. An additional 55 bills were amended into the 196 bills. All, but five of the 101 priority bills advanced out of their committees and were debated on the floor. Many priorities did not make it to Final Reading...
Where Nebraska's budget sits at the end of the session (04/27/10)
This week I wanted to recap and highlight where Nebraska's budget sits at the end of the 2010 Legislative Session. With a unanimous vote of 49-0, the Legislature passed LB 935, which was the mainline budget bill, on March 26 along with the other budget bills. The Governor signed the budget bills on April 1 putting in place a -1.1 percent reduction in General Fund appropriations over the two-year biennium, and balancing our budget...
101st Legislature wraps up (04/19/10)
Spring, is definitely here and the Unicameral has wrapped up the 101st Legislature. Much was done this year and I would like to use the next three Letters Back Home to highlight what was accomplished this session. This week I would like to discuss LB 817, LB 594, and LB 1103...
Nebraska makes itself heard in Washington (04/12/10)
Nebraska has seldom spoken so clearly to Washington as we are now in response to the federal Environmental Protection Agency's threat to make an end-run around Congress and adopt its own, potentially disastrous regulations on greenhouse gas emissions...
Gun rights issues a high priority (04/01/10)
Protecting and maintaining our constitutional right to keep and bear arms for security and defense is fundamental to a free society. Improving and ensuring unified implementation and enforcement throughout the state regarding Nebraska's Concealed Handgun Permit Act, and other gun rights issues, have been high priority while I have been in the Legislature...
Occupation tax amendment advances (03/30/10)
Legislative Bill 862, a bill I introduced to amend the current occupation tax on the activity of irrigation on agricultural land, advanced from General File to Select file last week. I was pleased to see strong support for the bill, with a 43 to 3 vote...
Legislative winds of change blowing (03/22/10)
The winds of change are a blowing in the Legislature. Last week, LB 1048, which allows for the development of private wind and other renewable energy for export to other states advanced to the second round of debate on the floor of the Legislature. The Natural Resources Committee amendment was adopted, which became the bill, and another amendment filed by Sen. ...
Reducing the deer population (03/15/10)
All over Nebraska, the deer population has been increasing significantly for the past several years. In many areas, the damage done to crops being eaten by deer and the damage to vehicles after hitting a deer is very costly. That is why I am hopeful that Legislative Bill 836, introduced by Sen. Lautenbaugh, which makes changes to our game law to help decrease our deer population, will continue to advance through the Legislature...
Does Nebraska need a state treasurer? (03/08/10)
The Nebraska State Treasurer, a Constitutional office, is it needed? That is a question Legislative Resolution 284 CA, introduced by Sen. Utter, seeks to discover. The resolution would put on the next general election ballot an option for voters in Nebraska to amend the Constitution of Nebraska and abolish this statewide elected office...
Delaying kindergarten 2 1/2 months (03/04/10)
This week I wanted to talk about a bill that some of you parents with preschool aged children might find interesting. You may not have caught it, but the Legislature advanced LB 1006, introduced by Sen. Adams, to the second round of debate. It is a bill I support that changes the eligibility date for kids entering kindergarten...
Bill would require kindergarteners to be older (03/01/10)
This week I wanted to talk about a bill that some of you parents with preschool aged children might find interesting. You may not have caught it, but the Legislature advanced LB 1006, introduced by Sen. Adams, to the second round of debate. It is a bill I support that changes the eligibility date for kids entering kindergarten...
Senators set priority bills (02/23/10)
Well, last Friday was the deadline to make priority designations on bills. I would like to inform you what bills of mine received a priority designation. This session I have three bills prioritized and a good chance of getting a portion of a fourth bill amended into another priority bill...
Debating our priority bills (02/16/10)
Last week, we began debate on priority bills. Senators have until this Friday to designate one bill as their priority for this session. This Friday is also the deadline to request speaker priority bill designations from Speaker Mike Flood. This week, I would like to discuss LR 292, introduced by Sen. Fulton, and LB 1102 introduced by Sen. Giese...
Twenty-fifth day is completed (02/11/10)
By Thursday of this week, we will have finished the 25th Legislative Day of a 60-day session. The Legislature will have a recess day this Friday, allowing senators four days back home in their Districts, including Presidents Day on Monday the 15th. Last week, the floor debate was dominated by LB 200, which would change motorcycle helmet requirements by allowing the freedom for operators 21 and older to choose to ride with or without a helmet. ...
Water, abortion bills draw attention (02/02/10)
Is it February already? Things always seem to go faster during a short 60-day session and this one is no exception. By the end of this week, we will be done with a third of the 2010 Session. Last Thursday, my LB 893 was heard in the Revenue committee. ...
Sales tax for NRDs not 'new' tax (01/25/10)
While the Legislature is in session, I hold two conference calls every week. One of the calls is on Tuesday, for the western end of District 44, and the other call is on Thursday for the McCook Area Chamber of Commerce. Last Thursday, part of the discussion during the call was on the last bill I introduced for this session, Legislative Bill 1052...
Third week of the second session (01/18/10)
Nebraska's 101st Legislature has convened for 2010 and we are approaching the third week of the second session. Up to now I have had six new bills introduced and ten bills that have carried over from the first session. A few of the bills that I have introduced to date are first, LB753, a bill that several people approached me on. ...
Hope for a lost world (12/21/09)
Merry Christmas! Christ is born! Hope has come to this lost world! What a wonderful message to remember and celebrate this season. Because of God's grace and love for the world, he came to live among us to set us free from our guilt and shame. Halleluiah! Don't miss the chance this Christmas to ponder this message amongst the business of this time of year...
Special session took sensible approach to budget (11/25/09)
The Legislature finished the First Special Session 2009 last Friday making the adjustments needed to shore up revenue declines and balance the budget. Many of you were watching closely to the changes being proposed and contacted my office with concerns and suggestions, I appreciated hearing from you. However, for those of you who were not able to follow what was going on I would like to give you some highlights...
Shoring up revenue, balancing the budget (11/23/09)
The Legislature finished the First Special Session 2009 last Friday making the adjustments needed to shore up revenue declines and balance the budget. Many of you were watching closely to the changes being proposed and contacted my office with concerns and suggestions, I appreciated hearing from you. However, for those of you who were not able to follow what was going on I would like to give you some highlights...
More interim study hearings set (09/14/09)
There are some additional legislative hearings that will be coming up in the next couple of months that I would like to share with my constituents. If there is an interest in any of these hearings you are more than welcome to attend or contact my office if you have questions...
Interim studies under way (09/04/09)
I would like to remind all my constituents of the Interim Studies that will be taking place over the next few months. These are studies sponsored by committees, other senators and myself and are in need of open discussions and input before they are made into bills for the upcoming session...
Lawmakers addressed many important, controversial issues (06/19/09)
This is my first letter since the end of the 2009 Legislative Session. We adjourned Sine Die on Friday May 29 finishing three days early, yet addressing many important and controversial issues. Serving District 44 these last three sessions has been an honor, a privilege, and a blessing for which I am deeply grateful. I look forward to being back home with you all during our break...
Lawmakers going home early (05/25/09)
The Legislature is going to close shop a little earlier than originally scheduled this year. The Speaker and senators have agreed that they can end the 2009 Session on May 29 instead of June 4 and still accomplish the State's business. A lot has been done this session. ...
Back to work for WEC offenders (05/17/09)
Last week was another busy week on the floor of the Unicameral. During the week, I had a couple of bills move forward, which I think will be good news for the District and specifically many of you who have contacted my office. One of them, Legislative Bill 429, which was designed to help the Work Ethic Camp (WEC) in McCook to resume their ability to enter into work agreements with educational entities, was successfully amended into LB 63. ...
Legislature misses an opportunity (05/12/09)
Another week has gone by and we are quickly approaching the end of the 2009 session. Last week I discussed how the Natural Resources Districts planned to use property tax relief to return the property taxes levied under LB 701. This week I would like to discuss what is going on in the Legislature regarding the occupation tax authorized in LB 701, which is currently tied up in the courts...
Concealed handgun bill advances to final reading (04/27/09)
Last week, the Legislature advanced one of my bills, LB 430, to Final Reading. LB 430 is a bill that addresses several issues with the Concealed Handgun Permit Act. I would like to discuss the provisions in the bill and some of the changes to the original...
Lawmakers dealing with the budget soon (04/20/09)
Last week the Legislature finished its 63rd day of the 90-Day session. With only 27 days left in the session, we will be dealing with the budget soon. Last Friday a motion to place Legislative Bill 385 on General File -- a controversial bill introduced by Sen. ...
Reauthorizing the Riparian Vegetation Task Force (04/10/09)
I hope you all enjoyed the Easter Weekend celebrating our Lord's resurrection, and the hope we have for a new life in Him. This is one of my favorite times of the year as we spend time with family and friends remembering what Christ did for us. Many of you have contacted my office regarding Legislative Bill 98 that reauthorizes the Riparian Vegetation Management Task Force and the program, which awarded grants to clear rivers in fully and over appropriated basins of invasive species. ...
Bill prohibits public benefits for illegal aliens (04/07/09)
The Legislature finished the 55th day of the 90-day session last Friday, and passed 12 bills on Final Reading. One of the bills passed was Legislative Bill 403, which prohibits public benefits for illegal aliens, and requires their verification for benefits, public employment, and state tax incentives. I voted for the bill and it passed with a strong 44-0-5 vote...
Wrongful conviction bill advances (03/30/09)
Last week, the Legislature adopted amendments on Select File and advanced to Final Reading Legislative Bill 260. LB 260 is the Nebraska Claims for Wrongful Conviction and Imprisonment Act. I would like to update you on the status of this bill. LB260, as originally introduced, would have allowed individuals wrongfully convicted and imprisoned to file a claim against the state for monetary restitution. ...
The comprehensive criminal justice bill (03/27/09)
This week I would like to discuss Legislative Bill 63, introduced by Sen. Friend, which advanced to Select File on March 11. LB 63 is a comprehensive criminal justice bill that targets repeat felons, and those who commit violent crimes. For about two and half years the Attorney General's Office working together with the Nebraska County Attorney's Association, the Nebraska Sheriff's Association, the Police Officers Association of Nebraska, and the Police Chief's Association of Nebraska have put together a bill to enhance penalties for violent crimes, harmonize certain offenses with federal law, and create new offenses targeted at gang violence... ...
Revolving fund alternative is cutting water allocations (03/02/09)
LB 651, the Water Resources Revolving Loan Fund Act, was heard last week in the Natural Resources Committee. I would like to discuss it, other related water issues, and some amendments I offered to the committee. LB 651 was introduced to establish a state fund for Natural Resources Districts -- NRDs -- to use as a financing mechanism for local water resource projects to assist with water management. The concept is similar to the Drinking Water Revolving Fund...
NPPD borders, pets and protection orders (02/23/09)
The Legislature has begun to debate priority bills this week; senators and committees have until March 12 to pick their priority bills for the 2009 Session. Last Thursday and Friday, we debated Legislative Bill 53 (Sen. Fischer) that makes changes to the public power districts' chartered territory statutes and LB 83 (Sen. McGill), which attempted to provide for the care of domestic animals in protection orders. I would like to give an update on each of these bills...
Legislative Resolution 11 (02/16/09)
Last week the Executive Board had a hearing on Legislative Resolution 11, which would extend the life of the Developmental Disabilities Special Investigative Committee formed by the Legislature to provide oversight for resolving problems at the Beatrice State Development Center (BSDC). ...
Roadside trapping debated (02/09/09)
On Tuesday, Feb. 3, we began the first round of debate on LB 5, my bill to repeal the ban on county roadside trapping. There were four amendments introduced and two of those were adopted. One of the amendments adopted was AM132 allowing any county to enact a resolution prohibiting the trapping of wildlife in county road rights-of-way. ...
State Sen. Mark Christensen
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