“Wow” Session Of Nebraska Legislature Ends


      The 107th Nebraska Legislature completed its work Wednesday.

The final day is normally focused on possible veto overrides, but there were no vetoes after Gov Pete Ricketts on Tuesday signed the final 29 bills passed last week.

      Ricketts, who is term-limited and leaves office in January, gave his final Sine Die or end-of-session address a few hours before the Unicameral session officially closed.

     The governor praised lawmakers for working with him to pass the largest tax relief package in state history – calling the $900 million dollar package of income and property tax cuts “the most significant tax relief bill we have ever had in the state of Nebraska.” 

The governor also praised bills the Legislature passed that will lay the groundwork for a canal project to divert water out of Colorado and allocate more than $1 billion of federal pandemic relief money.

      Most of the final day was spent in farewell speeches from the 13 senators whose terms are ending, including Senator John Stinner of Gering, chairman of the Appropriations Committee for 4 years.

     Offering the longest goodbye was Speaker Mike Hilgers, who’s running for attorney general. He mentioned several senators by name and explained how despite sometimes acrimonious disputes with them what he would remember won’t be those instances, it will be their many positive interactions at and away from the Capitol.

Hilgers ended by reading the roll call of senators one last time, reciting each name in alphabetical order before closing with “You are my family. Thank you.”

     The actual end of the session was a bit out of the ordinary. Just as Lt Gov Mike Foley started to call for a voice vote to adjourn sine die, one senator requested an electronic vote.

      That delayed the inevitable a little over a minute as the lawmakers punched in their votes. It also gave Senator John Lowe a chance to have a little fun as he first voted No, then had the clerk announce he was changing his vote to Yes.