A lot of issues await state lawmakers who return to the Capitol next year for a short session.
Taxes seem to top everyone’s list, but other issues closely follow, such as prison overcrowding, the good-time law, school funding, managing the state’s water resources, even child welfare issues
State Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln worries about the calendar.
“Sixty days is not a very long time when we have a lot of topics to cover and, really, what I would call intricate topics,” Campbell tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The Tax Modernization Committee has completed its public hearings. It will deliver a report to the Unicameral by mid-December. Interim committees have been meeting on school funding, water resources, and whether Nebraska should expand Medicaid under provisions of the federal healthcare law.
Lawmakers met at the Capitol earlier this year for their 90-day session. The 60-day session follows next year.
Politics, always a factor during any legislative session, might be even more prominent next year for at least one reason, according to state Sen. Colby Coash.
Coash points out four state senators have announced their candidacy for governor in 2014.
“That is certainly going to play into that I think, because there’s going to be a lot of desire to get some floor time and let everybody know what you’re thinking,” Coash tells Nebraska Radio Network. “And so, we’re going to blink our eyes and we’ll be done this year, for sure.”
Though lawmakers might express worries about the calendar, Gov. Dave Heineman dismisses them. He points out that the legislature has already tackled the most time-consuming item of business, the state budget.
“The budget’s done,” Heineman tells reporters when asked whether it will be tough for the legislature to tackle so many issues in a short session. “The most important thing we have to do every two years is pass the budget. That’s already done. So, no, we can get this done.”
The 2014 legislative session begins January 8th.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]