Priority Bills Picked In Unicameral

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Crunch time is coming for Nebraska lawmakers now that this year’s session is nearly halfway over, and they’ve winnowed down their bills to a few top priorities.

Lawmakers each get one and each committee two “priority” bills per session that are guaranteed floor debate if they gets out of committee

The designation is critical because with more long debates expected in the 60-day session, they’re the only ones with a chance of passing this year. Friday was the deadline for lawmakers and committees to pick their priorities and the list includes tax, abortion, and child welfare measures.

47th District Senator Steve Erdman of Bayard picked as his priority bill a constitutional amendment doing away with all current state taxes and replacing them with a statewide consumption tax.

Senator John Stinner of Gering’s choice changes the Nebraska Municipal Land Bank Act while 43rd District Senator Tom Brewer’s priority bill cracking down on possession of stolen guns has already been given final approval.

Hundreds bills that didn’t get prioritized are likely dead for the year, unless lawmakers merge them into other legislation.

The list includes bills to protect consumer data, allow lottery winters to remain anonymous and mandatory investigations of drivers who pass a school bus with an extended stop sign. A proposed sales tax on bottled water, candy and soft drinks also failed to get a priority.

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