The Legislature announced Jan. 22 modifications to procedures for public input on legislation during the 2021 session.
As part of the Legislature’s procedural modifications in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of changes have been made to the committee hearing process. Hearings will be held in morning and afternoon sessions beginning Jan. 25. Morning session will convene at 9:30 a.m. and afternoon sessions at 1:30 p.m.
In addition, four options have been approved for public input this year. First, as always, individuals may testify in person at committee hearings. Because hearing room capacity will be limited due to social distancing, three other options have been added.
The public may submit written testimony in person on the day of a public hearing — between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in the room in which the hearing will take place. These submissions will be included in the formal committee hearing record as if the individual had testified in person.
Individuals wishing to provide public comment without appearing in person may submit a position letter by emailing the committee’s account by 12:00 p.m. CST on the last work day prior to the public hearing. A list of committee email accounts is available on the Legislature’s website at NebraskaLegislature.gov
Finally, the public may submit online comments through a new feature on the Legislature’s website, which is available on each individual bill page. Online written comments will not be included as part of the official legislative record.
Speaker Mike Hilgers of Lincoln said the new options will allow residents with safety concerns related to the pandemic to continue to share their views with the Legislature.
“It’s vital to the legislative process for members of the public to have the opportunity to have their voices heard,” he said. “Nebraska’s unique Unicameral Legislature relies heavily on citizen input.”
For details, visit the public hearing page at NebraskaLegislature.gov