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Jam-packed session await senators

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 18:59:56-05

There's a lot of work awaiting the 49 senators as they return to Lincoln to begin the 2nd session of the 105th legislature. 

126 bills were introduced on the first day and the issues range from guns to health care to reforming the prison system.

"I think people have the right attitude this year, I think everyone wants to accomplish some things," said Speaker Senator Jim Scheer. 

But the biggest obstacle the senators will face is the looming $200 million shortfall in the budget from less than expected revenue coming into the state. It's a problem senators will have to deal with in the coming months. 

"When you continue to cut further and further it becomes a matter of priority," said Appropriations Chairman Sen. John Stinner who knows how difficult it was to do last session, "That included across the board cuts, strategic cuts, some cash transfers and then of course we'll take a look at the rainy day fund."

"This is going to be an interesting session, we're still trying to figure out what kind of money we are going to have, if any and what we need to do to make sure that our prisons are run well and HHS is doing its proper job as well," said Sen. Burke Harr. 

This session is also the first for newly-appointed Sen. Theresa Thibodeau, "Overwhelming but very excited to be here".

Thibodeau is introducing a bill to put bottle clubs like Club Omaha in the state Liquor Control Commission's hands, "They don't have the 2 o'clock closing time, some of them are open until 5 in the morning and that lead to an excess of drinking".

It's the last session for at least 6 senators as they are term-limited. 16 others are facing re-election. 

Senators have 10 days total to introduce bills and most of them will have a hearing however not all will have debate time on the legislative floor.