The Nebraska Legislature convened the first session of the 105th Legislature yesterday. Along with the normal activity of the Capitol building on ‘Day 1’, 17 new senators and their staff joined in the ceremonies. First Five Nebraska would like to convey a warm welcome to the Senators and staff beginning their first session, and wish them only the best during the next 90 days.
The first day of the session brings the election of the new Speaker of the Legislature (former Speaker Galen Hadley was prevented from running for another term due to term limits), and all committee chairs. Among the new leadership as elected by the 49 members are:
Speaker: Senator Jim Scheer, District 19, Norfolk
Executive Board Chair: Senator Dan Watermeier, District 1, Syracuse
Executive Board Vice Chair: Senator John Kuehn, District 38, Heartwell
Appropriations Committee: Senator John Stinner, District 48, Gering
Business and Labor Committee: Senator Joni Albrecht, District 17, Thurston
Education Committee: Senator Mike Groene, District 42, North Platte
Health and Human Services Committee: Senator Merv Riepe, District 12, Ralston
Revenue Committee: Senator Jim Smith, District 14, Papillion
Many important issues will require senators’ attention this session, including addressing a large budget shortfall of nearly a billion dollars, addressing efficiencies in state agencies, including the state corrections system, and exploring options for building an equitable tax policy. Of course, these are just a few of the issues that will be addressed throughout the session.
Over the first 10 days of the session, Senators will be introducing legislation to address these issues and many others. Senators will then begin meeting in their assigned committees to decide what is advanced to the full Legislature for debate.
First Five Nebraska enters this session looking forward to working with Senators in continuing to build a strong future for the people and communities across our state.