Wow how things have changed in the world and the state since the last time you received this newsletter. First, we hope all are doing well and staying safe in these crazy times we are all facing.
The last time we updated you we were getting ready for the 2020 Legislative session. Today, the legislative session has been suspended since March 13th due to the COVID-19 virus. We have no idea of when the session will continue and if they do just what will be completed. We do know that the Nebraska State Statue states that before the legislative body can adjourn, we must have an approved budget. When the session was suspended, we had two days of floor debate on the state budget and it was clear that the proposed budget had strong opposition.
When Could the Legislature Reconvene?
The best-case scenario is it could be Mid-May to June before the body reconvenes. We would have 17 working days left of the session to pass a budget and pass the priority bills. There are 105 priority bills then the 31 bills on Final Reading would be heard. If time permits the 230 Select File bills and any General File bills will be heard until time expires. We feel if the session goes 17 more days that Priority and Final Reading bills are all that will be voted on. This would leave many bills as dead. A key point to remember as we move forward.
Worst case scenario, the body meets only to debate and pass the budget. All remaining bills would be left in limbo and will die as session closes. We are unsure as what will take place since no one knows really the length of time the virus will cause us to stay suspended. The longer this goes on the better chance we only pass the budget. My how things have changed!
Things have changed but we are making the best of it. This session started as an ugly one for sportsmen & women. The ugliest we have seen in the last ten years. The attacks on our hunting and outdoors passions as well as Second Amendment rights came hard and heavy.
Overall a Good Session for Sportsmen/Women
We identified a total of 12 bills we oppose and 7 bills we support. Should the session end today our results this year looks like this:
– Opposed: 11-1
– Supported: 4-3
– Overall: 15- 4
We would be very happy with these results after the way the year started! Now the one key bill most of you are aware is LB 126. It was introduced by Senator Hughes to provide landowners with free permits and a special season just for landowners.
The NSF has worked very hard fighting this bill for the last 18 months. It sits right now on Final Reading and if session ends normally it will be passed. Should the session only pass the budget moving forward this would mean this bill would die without a final vote. This is a long shot but could happen. In either case, the NSF will continue to work to remove this bill from the books moving forward.
Track the Bills
In closing, we know two things for sure. First, any success the NSF has is because of the strength of the NSF partners and members. This is achieved through working as one large voice to make sure we are heard by educating our state leaders. Of course, they need to know how important our passions and rights are to us and the State. Second, I know things have changed in this crazy time of the virus. We sportsmen and women need to reconnect to our passions and get outdoors. Of course, we must introduce new people to the outdoors. The passion we have and the positive that comes from our pursuits in the outdoors can help reset the world if you will.
We can all remember what is important and why we love the outdoors so much. Until next time Thank You to all and all be safe and protect what is dear to you.
Nebraska Sportsmen’s Foundation
1327 H Street, Suite 103
Lincoln, NE 68508