Sesquicentennial commission proposed

The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee heard testimony Jan. 24 on a bill that would establish a planning commission for the 150th anniversary of Nebraska statehood.

Under LB744, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Bill Avery, the governor would appoint 17 members to the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Commission. The commission would work with state agencies, boards and commissions to develop programs to celebrate the state’s anniversary in 2017.

The bill would require that no more than eight members be affiliated with the same political party and that all regions and major interests in the state be represented. The commission would terminate June 30, 2018.

Avery said the commission would build on work started by a group – Friends of the Nebraska 150 Sesquicentennial – which has been raising money and awareness in preparation for the anniversary.

“This is an opportunity for us to show the rest of the United States what Nebraska is all about,” Avery said. “I think that they will be surprised and we will be proud.”

Jeff Searcy, chair of Friends of the Nebraska 150 Sesquicentennial, supported the bill, saying statewide coordination is necessary for a successful celebration.

“[The anniversary] is an opportunity for all Nebraskans to reflect on who we are, where we’ve come from and the bright future ahead,” Searcy said.

No one testified in opposition and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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