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Speaker Hadley's 2016 Farewell Address

APRIL 20, 2016




Mr. president, members of the body, colleagues:

I know you're sitting there thinking, hasn't he been term limited out yet? What is he speaking for? What is going on at this point in time? Well, I do want to make a few closing remarks. The One Hundred Fourth Legislature, second session, is basically now complete. It's been a very quick 60 working days, but we, I do believe, accomplished a lot.

One thing that we haven't mentioned, we continue to work on prison reform. We passed bills to clean up LB605, make the changes from LB605, still working with CSG in getting that done. The governor talked about property tax relief both in agriculture and through the work through the education committee in TEEOSA.

We also have the roads funding, I think that was a very important step forward. The learning community, tackled that problem. May not have come out exactly the way everybody wanted, but we did tackle the problem.

I'd like to talk just a little bit about my observations on the challenges in Nebraska's legislative process. And I call it a process. When I first came down here, I had some of the old hands say the legislature is not an event. It's not an event of passing a bill, not an event of passing a law. It's a process that you go through. And the end result might be that passing of a statute, but you have a process from introduction, through stages on the floor, debate, and I hope you won't forget that as time goes by.

I think one of the things that has happened that has changed the process is filibusters or extended debate. We've talked a lot about this. But I have some numbers that I thought you might be interested in. This past year, we had, in 2016, we had 24 cloture votes; the year before, we had 13; 2014, we had 9; 2013, we had 6; 2012, we had 3; 2011, we had 3. We are changing and this is something you're going to have to work on decide whether you want to continue it or how you want to continue it. Earlier we talked a little bit about the process in Washington, D.C. That's the process that they basically use there.

I was doing some reading the other day and they talked a lot about a 60-vote Congress in

the Senate. And I just wonder if we're becoming a 33-vote legislature at this point in time. I'm not telling you what you should do or not do, but it's just something that you be concerned about. [A] fact that I thought was interesting, by changing from eight to six hours for general file debate, we saved 16 hours. We saved 2 out of the 60 days of debate. So whoever is speaker, is going to work with you on how best to handle this and the way you want to do it.

Some of the issues I think are also of a little concern is the impact of term limits. I think we're seeing more of an idea that I have my bill, the bill I want, and I've got to get it done because I'm going to be gone before I get that accomplished. Someone reminded me that concealed carry, which we now have in Nebraska as a law, took ten years to pass. And we think now if we can't get it the first year, it's not good.

So we have to learn to take little bites of bills as we go along to get the total package.

I think there's some concerns with some committee issues that I think you're going to have to address. I think we have an inequity among the committee. We have certain committees that have a tremendous amount of work and other committees that don't have quite as much. And so I just don't know if it's fair not only to the members that are on the committees that have a great deal of work, but also to the fact that they have to hear an awful lot of bills. And, so I think, you know, it's something you're going to have to think about for committee work.

All in all, I think it's been a successful session. We passed 216 bills. We passed another 66 bills via amendments. This is about half of what we did two years ago via amendments. I tried hard to keep the number of amendments down so we could get to those bills that were your priority bills. I feel a little bad because we addressed all but 4 of the 107 priority bills. We did not address Senator Kolterman's LB901 to change dental assistants and licensed dental hygienists provisions; Senator Davis' LB994, a bill to change provisions under the motor vehicle registration act relating to financial responsibility as applied to nonresident owners; Senator Fox's LB962, a bill to change requirements for the practice of acupuncture; and Senator Hilkemann's bill to adopt the investigational drug use act.

I regret very much the inability to meet my goal of this body, addressing all the priority bills advanced to general file by committee. I would request that next year that the responsible committees hold an early hearing on these bills when they start the process over again if they are introduced next year so these can be heard early on the floor next year. And if the body deems they are important enough to be passed into law, that they do it. I hope that you do that.

The status of our 107 priority bills includes 76 priority bills were passed into law, one of these via a veto override, 2 were vetoed with no override, 4 bills are on general file yet, 1 bill on general file was held by the principal introducer, 13 bills were debated but failed to move forward beyond general file, 3 failed to move forward on select file, and 1 failed to move beyond final reading, 5 were held in committee, 1 was IPPed, and 1 was IPPed due to a failed pull motion.

I think all in all, we did our jobs this year. I like to quote the clerk who without his help I'd have never made it through the year, we get done what we have to get done in this body and then we go home.

I want to thank the Nebraska Educational Television for their commitment to providing gavel-to-gavel coverage of our legislature to citizens across the state. I want to recognize the staff. And if they're here, as I recognize and a group, if we could give them a round of applause.

First, the clerk's office: Patrick O'Donnell, clerk; Dick Brown, assistant clerk; and the people who sit up in front every day and the people who work in the office. One thing I learned that I didn't know and I probably shouldn't know, have no reason to know, but last year and this year where we tried to quit by 8:00, you know, the clerk's office has anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half of work after we adjourn. So when we were going to 10:30 and 11:00 and 11:30 at night, they were staying here for an hour to an hour and a half afterwards to get the information ready to start the day the next day. So I truly...we could not function without that office. Additionally, the clerk's office includes--and I would ask them to stand as I read their areas--the bill room, the transcribers, the Unicameral Information Office, the Legislative Technology Center, the Sergeant at Arms, and the legislative pages. If they would all please stand.

The Nebraska State Patrol: Captain Sean Caradori, executive in the State Capitol Protection Detail Supervisor. Let's give a hand to the Nebraska State Patrol. Next, the fiscal office: Mike Calvert, director; Tom Bergquist, deputy director. I think they are here, let's give them a round of applause.

The Revisor's Office, the ones that are here late at night also, revising bills and getting them ready: Joanne Pepperl, revisor of statutes, and Marcia McClurg, assistant. The Legislative Accounting and Budget Office: Diane Nickolite, business manager. The Legislative Research Division: Nancy Cyr, director. The Legislative Audit Division: Martha Carter, auditor. The Ombudsman's Office: Marshall Lux, ombudsman. The committee staff and individual legislature staff, if they're here, if they would please stand. We could not get done what we do without the dedicated staff that we have.

I talked earlier about term limits. Thank goodness we have staff who have been here long enough that they can tell us this is what might work, this is what might not work. This is what you can do. You know, and really they're super people. So let's give the entire staff one more round.

Thank you, Mr. president. I appreciate all the work. Thank you.


104th Legislature, Second Session

April 20, 2016 (Sine Die)


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