TOM BREWER: Towards the second session | Representatives

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Short sessions are usually not a good time to introduce a big, controversial bill. There is simply not enough time to navigate the politics of getting big bills out of the committee’s mind, let alone getting them passed in a second session. Having said that, there are several reasons why a senator introduces a bill. Passing it is only one of the reasons. Second-session bills are often tabled in order to get a “tax note” from our finance office. It is the cost to taxpayers of implementing a bill. This can only be achieved by introducing a bill. There are no tax notes prepared for mere ideas. Sometimes a senator will introduce a bill to see who will show up to testify for or against at the hearing.

Sometimes Senators introduce bills to begin the process of eating the elephant. The subject in question is far too broad for a single bill. It may take three or four bills in six or eight years. Based on their experience, seasoned senators often launch a campaign to make a major change in state law that will continue long after they leave. They understand better than most that “big idea” bills are things that will need to be done gradually in the Nebraska legislature. There just aren’t the votes needed to do it all in one step. In our unicameral, the first tries are often just as important as the touchdowns.

Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at [email protected], send a letter to Senator Tom Brewer, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509, or call us at 402-471-2628.


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