This Week in Lincoln: Legislature Kicks Off With Pomp and Proposals


January 11th, 2019

Each week, the KVNO News website will provide a recap of stories by Fred Knapp for NET News. These stories run daily on 90.7 FM at 7 a.m. and 12 p.m., but in case you missed them, here they are again:

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 9 – The 2019 session of the Nebraska Legislature began with ceremony, including the swearing-in of newly-elected and re-elected senators and elections for committee leadership.

Jim Scheer ran unopposed and was re-elected for Speaker of the Legislature. As for the Executive Board, which determines which committees various bills are assigned to, Republican Mike Hilgers was elected chair, and Democrat Tony Vargas vice-chair.

THURSDAY, JAN. 10 – More than 100 measures were introduced in the Legislature on the second day of the session, on topics such as guns, God, sexual assault and slavery.

Sen. Kate Bolz outlined a “bill of rights” for survivors of sexual assault, and Sen. Adam Morfeld introduced a measure to create a “red flag” law for firearms. Sen. Steve Erdman wants schools to post the words “In God We Trust” in classrooms, and Sen. Justin Wayne hopes to remove a reference to involuntary slavery from the state constitution.

Also up for discussion once more was the death penalty, which the Legislature voted to abolish in 2015. A ballot referendum repealed that vote in 2016, but Sen. Ernie Chambers hopes to reverse the decision again through another piece of legislation.

Thursday also marked the swearing-in of people elected or reelected for various state offices, among them governor and lieutenant governor. Gov. Pete Ricketts, reelected to a second term, gave a speech following the ceremony.

As well as keeping up with the legislature through daily updates, you can also watch the Nebraska Legislature live on NET World.

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