Ben Hansen

Sen. Ben Hansen

Days 44 through 48 of this 60-day legislative session were full of heated debate, name-calling and more than enough drama. What was missing, however, was real, tangible action on property tax relief for those in District 16, the region and the state.

Our first day back in the Capitol since a break due to COVID-19 in March was July 20. We’ll finish the remaining days of the session and adjourn Aug. 13, hopefully with more progress than took place the first week. My focus over the next few weeks remains property tax relief and helping retirement homes that have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 shutdown. I’ll continue to fight for those in District 16.

My office received a great number of calls and emails in favor of LB 814, a bill that would prohibit the practice of dismemberment abortions in the state of Nebraska. LB 814 did not receive enough votes in the Judiciary Committee, so the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Suzanne Geist of Lincoln, brought a motion to “pull” the bill from committee and bring it to the floor for debate. This “pull motion” is well within the rules of our Legislature and utilized often. I spoke in favor of the motion to “pull” the bill from committee, as did many of my colleagues. However, eight senators voted against the motion, seven did not vote, and four were absent even though the motion was scheduled well in advance. The motion was successful and the bill will be brought to the floor for debate where senators will decide whether we’ll allow unborn babies to be pulled apart limb from limb in our state. Thank you for those who called or emailed our office to show your support for the bill. I will do everything in my power to make sure this bill advances into law and this barbaric practice ends.

LB 1160, a bill that would change some portions of school funding in our state, and LB 720, a business tax incentive bill have been tied together for most of this session. Both were debated this past week although votes were taken on neither of the bills. As I’ve said before, property tax relief remains my number one priority in Lincoln, and action must be taken this session. LB 1160 and LB 720 should both come for votes this session to deliver property tax relief that is sorely needed.

On July 24, we adjourned early due to escalating tensions and unruly debate. Three senators began an argument that had little to do with actual legislation and much more to do with hurt feelings and name-calling. This sort of child-like behavior is what I’ve found to be most disappointing since I was elected as your senator. I came to Lincoln to get stuff done, to represent District 16, and to fight for your freedoms. I did not come to Lincoln to listen to senators argue about whose feelings have been hurt the most. We need to get back to work and pass legislation that will make life easier for Nebraskans across the state; and right now that means property tax relief and support for those who need it most, including nursing homes and retirement facilities.

As always you can contact me at bhansen@leg.ne.gov or contact the office to speak with my Administrative Assistant Ellie Stangl or my Legislative Aide Jacob Campbell.  To read all introduced legislation please visit nebraskalegislature.gov. You may watch the live stream of the session when available at netnebraska.org.

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