Wednesday, January 9, 2013

103rd Legislature Convenes

The first session of the 103rd Nebraska Unicameral officially kicked off today. It is a day that starts out with pomp and circumstance, but finishes with the significant process of electing Legislative leadership. No bills are introduced, but the day does count toward the 10 days allowed for bill introduction.

Nebraska's Unicameral is unique for many reasons. We are the only one house legislature in the United States and the only legislature that operates on a non-partisan basis. When I mention the non-partisan structure to my colleagues in other states, they scoff at the idea and assume that the parties do rule the roost so to speak. Some in Nebraska would say that as well, but when you look at the results of the leadership elections today it tells another story.

In a Legislature that is dominated by Republicans eight of the 14 standing committees will be chaired by Democrats, five by Republicans and one by an Independent. Our Speaker is Republican as is the Chair of the Executive Board. Elections are truly a popularity contest and it is more important to look at what Caucus they belong to rather than party affiliation.

Here is the rundown of the Elections today:

Speaker: Greg Adams, York
Executive Chair: John Wightman, Lexington
Agriculture: Ken Schilz, Ogallala
Appropriations: Heath Mello, Omaha
Banking: Mike Gloor, Grand Island
Education: Kate Sullivan, Cedar Rapids
General Affairs: Russ Karpisek, Wilber
Government: Bill Avery, Lincoln
Heath and Human Services: Kathy Campbell, Lincoln
Judiciary: Brad Ashford, Omaha
Natural Resources: Tom Carlson, Holdrege
Retirement: Jeremy Nordquist, Omaha
Revenue: Galen Hadley, Kearney
Transportation/Telecomm: Annette, Dubas, Fullerton
Urban Affairs: Amanda McGill, Lincoln

The Committee on Committees will continue the process of assigning members to their respective Committees. We may know as soon as tomorrow what the Committee structure looks like.

On the first day, after the Legislature adjourns, it is a good time to vacate the Capitol. The mad rush for re-aligning senator offices begins. It is good to just stay out of the way! Office movement will continue through the end of the week. If you call your senator and they don't get back to you, it may mean they don't have access to their phones just yet.

Tomorrow there is a little more pomp and circumstance. The official Inaugural ceremonies will take place for the Board of Regents, Board of Education and the Supreme Court.

The Legislature will adopt temporary rules and begin the process of bill introduction.

The Legislature's Website provides you with a plethora of information. I encourage you to become familiar with it. You will be able to access all legislative documents and watch all proceedings through a live stream on your computer. Just click on the highlighted text and you can check it out!






Kristen Gottschalk
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Nebraska State Capitol

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