2019 Legislative Session Begins the New Biennium
The Nebraska Sportsmen’s Foundation has spent the last four months getting ready for the 2019 Legislative Session. This will be the 106th Legislative session. It is also the start of the New Biennium which is a two-year cycle. The cycle consists of a long session (90 days) and a short session (60 days). The new 2019 Legislative session starts January 9th and could run till June 6th.
This year the Unicameral will have fourteen new Senators sworn in. What does this mean for the NSF and you? To put it bluntly it means basically starting all over again. Let me explain. When you have a group of 49 and every two years you change out at least a third of the members you lose knowledge. Knowledge of the history of past bills and issues. You also lose partners who work hard on our issues. Then we have to work to build new relationships. Now you have to gain knowledge of how that Senator thinks, what are their concerns are and how do they stand on our key issues.
The NSF Has Seen This Before and Will Work Through It
In addition, the new Senators will join committees and have a strong say on if any potential bill makes it to the floor for a vote. This is not new for us and will be the third time we have been through term limit changes. So we are very comfortable with the process. If you recall in our last newsletter, we shared with you how the NSF staff and board spends it summer getting to know the new Senators.
However, this time we face a greater challenge. We lost eight Senators who were members of the Nebraska Legislative Sportsmen Forum. The NLSF members are Senators who are willing to work with the NSF and our members. They look to the NSF for educational guidance on the wide range of complex issues that can affect our members. The reduction means that for the first time since 2009 our NLSF membership dropped below 30 sitting Senators. Of course we will add some of the new Senators to the NLSF. Unfortunately, I do not think we can replace the eight we lost based on who is coming in.
Big Battles During the 2019 Legislative Session
You must be aware of several things this next session. Not only is there a battle over expanded Medicare and property tax reform/relief but the slumping ag economy has created a budget shortfall. In addition, sales tax collection on internet sales and one of the biggest fights will be redistricting.
With all these hard, widely split opinion issues the NSF has decided not to introduce any new legislation during the first session. Now over the last eight years we have averaged at least two new bills each session. Whether we started the process or worked as a partner on creating new legislation. However, we are already aware of a half dozen proposed bills that will be harmful to sportsmen and women. With that said, we spend our time defending against any negative bills affecting sportsmen and women. Not to mention, we will spend the session getting to know the new Senators and be ready for the second session in 2020.
Please see the list of new Senators and if you live in one of those districts please introduce yourself via e-mail or phone call. Let them know you are a Nebraska Sportsmen and you vote. We will keep you posted on how the session is progressing and all issues that arise. Please feel free to contact the NSF if you have questions or concerns on any legislation moving forward. Districts with New Senators: 1, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 22, 30, 32, 38, 40 and 49. You can follow the link then click on the “Senators” tab to learn more about the new Senators in these districts.
Nebraska Sportsmen’s Foundation
1327 H street Suite 103
Lincoln, Ne 68508