Nebraska State Senators returned to the State Capitol on January 3rd to begin the 2024 legislative session. This will be a 60-day working session that is currently scheduled to run through April 18th.

Legislators began this year’s session by electing Senator Ray Aguilar as chairman of the Legislature’s Executive Board and Senator John Lowe as vice chairman.  The Legislature then proceeded to bill introduction, which will last until January 17th. So far, more than 250 legislative bills have been introduced, in addition to the hundreds of measures remaining from the 2023 session.

With the exception of the Rules Committee, public hearings on new legislative proposals will commence on January 22nd. The Rules Committee is considering 34 procedural changes, and floor debate will follow any committee approved measures in the coming days.

Twenty senator, committee, and Speaker priority bills have already been designated, most of them for legislation previously introduced in 2023. The number of early priority designated legislative bills is very unusual and could offer an early roadmap for how this legislative session will progress.  Nine priority bills are on General File and available for floor debate, while eleven remain held by committees.

Like every year, subject matter for new legislative proposals runs the gamut. However, this year there is particular emphasis on workforce housing and childcare, most of which are aimed at addressing the state’s workforce crisis.

Next week, January 18th, Governor Jim Pillen will deliver his second “State of the State” address. Traditionally, this address is followed by introduction of the Governor’s mid-biennium budget adjustment recommendations, as well as other policy priorities of the administration. Based on the Governor’s working groups targeting property tax valuations and workforce and tax incentives, we expect to see various proposals introduced seeking to address this administration’s priorities.

While your Greater Omaha Chamber Public Policy team is hard at work right now at the State Capitol working to strengthen our business climate, never hesitate to share your insights with us on your state legislative priorities at [email protected].