Session Review: Executive Board
Expanded access to legislative activity, an end to nonpartisan elections to the state Legislature and creation of an investigative committee were among the proposals considered this session by the Executive Board.
Nebraskans would have had expanded access to video of legislative proceedings under a bill advanced to general file by the committee.
Nebraska Public Media currently broadcasts and live-streams video coverage of legislative committee hearings and floor debate. LB777, as introduced by Gordon Sen. Tom Brewer, would have required the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission to develop and maintain a publicly accessible, indexed digital archive of that coverage, beginning in January 2023.
The archive would not have been considered the official record of legislative proceedings and archival video from previous years would have been added as available.
A committee amendment instead would have required the Executive Board to create and maintain the archive. NETC would have been required to provide the closed captioning for live video coverage of legislative floor debate and hearings. Historical video coverage would have been added only for previously captured video that could be closed captioned.
The bill was advanced to general file but was not scheduled for debate this session.
A measure to consider repeal of a constitutional requirement that members of the Legislature be elected on nonpartisan ballots was considered by the Executive Board but did not advance from committee.
The Nebraska Constitution currently requires that state senators be nominated and elected on ballots that do not list their political party affiliation. If approved by the Legislature, LR282CA, sponsored by Sterling Sen. Julie Slama, would have placed a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2022 general election ballot to remove that provision.
The Executive Board also considered a proposal that would have required the Legislature to appoint a special committee to study and investigate operations at the AltEn ethanol plant in Mead.
The now-closed ethanol production plant used treated seed as raw material, leaving behind toxic byproducts — known as wet cake — that may have contaminated the water, soil and air surrounding the facility.
Under LR159, sponsored by Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood, the proposed committee would have consisted of nine members of the Legislature, appointed by the Executive Board. The committee would have been authorized to hold hearings and issue subpoenas to compel attendance of witnesses and production of accounts, documents and testimony.
LR159 did not advance from committee.