Nebraska Legislature to start tackling budget debate, next week

BEATRICE – With just under two months of work left in the Nebraska Legislature’s session…the state budget will come to the floor soon.
Speaker Mike Hilgers said Thursday that budget books for lawmakers will coming out and the Appropriations Committee Chair will give lawmakers a briefing next Wednesday.

"I intend to have general file debate on the budget next Thursday, April 8th. Now, everything we do here scheduling-wise, tends to be in pencil, so I say this and there could be some modifications....but my hope and intent is that we will complete the budget debate by the end of the following week."

Passing a new budget is the most important thing lawmakers do during this session. Following that…Hilgers said, "The next two weeks, give or take, will be devoted to those tax and spending bills."

Hilgers says he plans to have consent calendar bills….those that typically see quick action….continuing at the beginning of the week, followed by speaker priority bills. After that, other priority bills and those measures that lump several bills together will be considered.  It’s that time of year lawmakers could see more evening sessions, though Hilgers is seeking to avoid the very late-night sessions.

"There will be some days where I think we will go later...not really late but later...maybe seven or seven-thirty. I've sent out in a memo those dates and I would ask you to reserve those dates. I don't intend to go to nine, I don't intend to go to ten, eleven or close to the end of the day. That way, we can continue to get work done, but we're not doing this kind of crazy sprint, late at night."

Lawmakers adjourned at late morning Thursday and are going into an Easter recess with a four-day weekend. Tuesday will be the 55th day of this year’s 90-day session.