State lawmakers have returned to the Capitol with a lot to do and little time to do it.
The Speaker of the Legislature, Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney, says it is hard to realize how fast a 60-day legislative session will go.
“It’s just absolutely amazing. The days just fly by and it will be the middle of April before we know how fast it did go,” Hadley tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Hadley says property tax relief, transportation, prison reform, and Medicaid expansion will be the big issues this session. He expects a good number of filibusters this year as occurred last session as he sees some of the politics of Washington, D.C. encroach on the state Capitol in Lincoln.
Hadley has made some revisions to the rules, reducing the number of hours before a vote can be taken to end a filibuster from eight to six. He also is requiring legislators file their priority bills earlier than normal. Hadley says he wants the Unicameral to work right away on priority bills, vowing to get to all the priority bills names during the shorter session.
Financial constraints will be a factor as the forecasting board projects a $110 million dollar shortfall in the $8.6 billion two-year state budget.
The makeup of the legislature will play a role this year. There are 19 freshmen in the Unicameral and 11 state senators leaving the body due to term limits. Hadley is among the 11.
Hadley says he’s ready to get started.
“With mixed emotions, because this is my last first day. And everything I literally do this year will be the last.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]