After several weeks of debate the legislature passed all of the budget bills on final reading this last week.

The budget bills include: LB149, LB327, LB328, LB329, LB330, LB331 and LB332. Each budget bill within the budget package was advanced by the legislature and presented to the governor. The mainline budget bill LB327 passed by a vote of 36 ayes – 12 nays. Much of the discussion and dissent centered on the amount of money pulled from the rainy day fund and cash reserves. The Governor has until Monday, May 15 to approve and sign the budget bills or veto the budget bills as a whole or veto particular sections.

The legislature will have the opportunity to override any Gubernatorial vetoes before the end of session. To override a veto by the Governor requires 30 votes.

Other bills discussed this week on the floor include: LB75, LB632, LB496, LR1CA, and LB651. The legislature on Monday, May 8 debated whether to override the veto by the Governor of LB75. LB75 would restore voting rights to felons upon completion of their sentence. The override motion failed by a vote of 23 ayes- 23 nays.

LB632 introduced by Senator Larson contains various liquor control related provisions such as bottle clubs, craft brewery licenses and regulations as well as issues regarding music licensing. LB632 was advanced by a vote of 43-0 after being amended to eliminate the change in the requirements involved in delivery and shipment of craft beer.

LB496 introduced by Senator Stinner would amend the Community Development Law by expanding the definition of “redevelopment plan” to include construction of workforce housing eligible for tax increment financing in cities of the first and second class and villages. The legislature debated LB496 on Wednesday, May 10 but a vote has yet to be taken.

LR1CA is a resolution introduced by Senator Murante which would let the voters of Nebraska decide whether Nebraska should have voter ID laws. The resolution did not meet the necessary votes to advance. The vote was 26 ayes and 17 nays.

LB651 introduced by Senator Linehan was discussed on Thursday, May 11. LB651 would adopt the Nebraska Reading Improvement Act and would require that each Nebraska public school student's progression from one grade to another be determined, in part, upon proficiency in reading. School district board policies would facilitate reading instruction and intervention services to address student reading needs. Each student and his or her parent or guardian must be informed of that student's reading progress. No vote has been taken on LB651.

The legislature was visited this week by a group of 4th grade students from Howells Community Catholic School. I enjoyed the chance to meet these students and talk about the legislative process.

May 26 is National Poppy Day. The red poppy was adopted as the American Legions Family’s Memorial Flower and each year on Poppy Day poppies are offered in exchange for donations to support and honor our veterans. The Kregger Unit 125 American Legion Auxiliary in David City will hold its annual Poppy Day on May 18.

The legislature is tentatively set to adjourn for the session on Tuesday, May 23. I will continue to keep you updated on the status of legislation as we finish up debate in the last week of session.

State Senator Bruce Bostelman represents District 23 in the Nebraska Legislature.

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