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Brewer: Key bills to watch in Legislature
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Brewer: Key bills to watch in Legislature

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The second session of the 107th Legislature has convened. Second sessions are short, 60 legislative days. Bills introduced but not passed in the first session carry over into the second session. The current end of the session is scheduled for April 20.

I have introduced 16 bills so far this session. The last day of bill introduction is Jan. 20. I think I will be introducing a few more bills. I want to devote the next several weekly updates to explaining what these bills are about.

My priority bill is LB 773. This is commonly referred to as “constitutional carry.” This would change Nebraska’s law to allow the carrying of concealed weapons without a permit. Five of our six neighboring states already have this law. The bottom line is simple; citizens should not have to pay money to lawfully exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights. I am hopeful I have the five votes needed in the Judiciary Committee to advance this bill. This bill will receive a hearing very soon. I urge citizens interested in supporting the Second Amendment to contact the senators on this committee and ask them to support the bill. If I am forced to, I will use the “pull motion” rule to advance this bill to the full Legislature for debate.

There are other bills coming this session the public should take note of. The Convention of States resolution (LR 14) by Sen. Steve Halloran will be up for debate next week. This measure petitions Congress under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to call a convention of the states for the purposes of limiting the size and scope of the federal government’s authority, placing fiscal constraints on the federal government, and limiting terms of federal elected office. LB 364 is Sen. Lou Ann Linehan’s bill to provide tax-credit scholarships so poor schoolchildren can attend a quality private school. Sen. Julie Slama’s LR3CA would amend the Nebraska Constitution to require photo identification to vote. This will require 30 votes of the Legislature to pass, so there is also a people’s ballot initiative that does the same thing. One way or another, I hope to see this question on the ballot next November.

Nebraska has about $1.1 billion in various one-time federal money to spend. Bright ideas for spending this money abound. Personally, I would divide that number by the number of Nebraskans paying taxes and send everyone a check and be done with it. I feel this way because assuming the government can decide how best to spend this money is never as beneficial as letting individual people decide. After all, the money belongs to the people in the first place. We must avoid creating things with this money that are going to have continuing costs in the years to come. We cannot let this turn into something we will have to cut in a lean year when revenues are down.

Contact Sen. Tom Brewer: tbrewer@leg.ne.gov, 402-471-2628.

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