The first session of the 108th Legislature adjourned sine die June 1, the 88th day of the scheduled 90-day session.
La Vista Sen. John Arch, Speaker of the Legislature, thanked senators for their hard work and long hours, which he said resulted in “historic” accomplishments.
“This session has tested the Legislature on every level — relationships, processes, rules and our individual commitment to the goal of passing good legislation to govern our state,” Arch said. “I stand here today to tell you, and those listening, we have done the work we were sent here to do in spite of all the challenges before us.”
Although the session was marked at times by “extreme rancor and division,” Arch said, lawmakers found a way to pass “transformative” legislation in many areas, including bills that will provide significant tax relief, criminal justice reform and a new model for delivery of behavioral health services to communities across Nebraska.
Among other accomplishments, Arch also noted passage of a bill to implement the voter ID ballot initiative and the Economic Recovery Act, which will benefit the communities of North and South Omaha. In addition, he said, the Legislature adopted a fiscally responsible budget and made a $1 billion investment in Nebraska’s education system.
The Legislature passed the provisions of 291 bills this year, in spite of extended filibusters in response to controversial abortion and transgender care bills that required almost all other measures to be “packaged” into committee priority bills.
Arch said the passage of those omnibus measures resulted in one of the most productive sessions in recent years.
Gov. Jim Pillen, in his address to lawmakers, echoed that sentiment, calling the session one of the most impactful in the Legislature’s history.
Pillen thanked senators for their work on legislation that bans abortion in Nebraska at 12-weeks gestational age and will ban gender-affirming surgeries for minors beginning Oct. 1.
Lawmakers also secured over $6 billion in tax relief for Nebraskans over the next six years, he said, and passed other “landmark” legislation, including the Opportunity Scholarship Act, creation of a state broadband office, investments in the Perkins County Canal project and the removal of the state’s concealed carry permit requirement.
“In the face of extraordinary challenges, the will of the people of Nebraska has prevailed,” Pillen said. “We’ve accomplished together far more than what anyone thought possible by working together.”
The second session of the 108th Legislature is scheduled to convene Jan. 3, 2024.