The second session of the 104th Legislature adjourned sine die April 20.
Eleven senators are leaving the Legislature due to term limits, among them Kearney Sen. Galen Hadley, who has served as speaker for the last two sessions.
Hadley commended his fellow lawmakers for their work—particularly under the time constraints of a 60-day session—on issues such as prison reform, roads funding and property tax relief.
“It’s been a very quick 60 working days,” he said. “But we, I do believe, accomplished a lot.”
Hadley noted that not all of the senators’ priority bills were debated this year, but 76 priority bills were passed into law. The Legislature passed 216 bills in total this session, he said.
“I regret very much the inability to meet my goal of hearing all the priority bills,” he said, noting that this session saw 24 cloture votes—nearly twice as many as the year before—to cut off attempts to filibuster legislation.
However, Hadley encouraged senators to be patient in their legislative goals. He noted that some major policy priorities—such as the state’s concealed carry law, which he said took a decade to enact—cannot be achieved in one session.
“We have to learn to take little bites of bills as we go along,” Hadley said.
In his remarks, Gov. Pete Ricketts also congratulated senators on their work this session, noting progress on several major issues such as providing $450 million to accelerate the state’s long-delayed expressway system and to address failing bridges and other infrastructure needs.
Ricketts praised lawmakers for working to successfully control state spending while funding effective and efficient essential services for Nebraska residents.
“I know that you care about our state because you sacrifice so much to serve the people of Nebraska,” he told senators.
The governor also lauded the Legislature’s action on tax reform this session, including working with his office to provide $20 million in additional property tax relief to farmers and ranchers.
“We can look back upon the work that we’ve done together this session and be very pleased with the progress we’ve made doing the people’s work,” he said.
The first session of the 105th Legislature is scheduled to convene Jan. 4, 2017.