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Unicameral wraps up 'one of the best sessions in state history'

Ricketts calls the legislative session 'fantastic'
Posted at 6:23 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 20:01:46-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — The Nebraska Legislature has wrapped up its work for 2022. Lawmakers finished up their 60-day session this afternoon with conservative state leaders saying it was one of the most successful sessions ever.

Governor Pete Ricketts was one that was impressed.

“Wow. What fantastic work you have done,” said Ricketts.

Speaker Mike Hilgers said it was historic.

"We have had one of the best sessions in state history," said Hilgers.

The headline item conservative senators applauded was tax cuts with major decreases for those in the top income tax bracket along with tax cuts for Nebraska businesses.

“We had the greatest year in state history in giving money back to taxpayers,” said Speaker of the Unicameral Mike Hilgers.

Other major items passed include: a lake between Lincoln and Omaha and a canal in western Nebraska and Colorado — with Ricketts telling the canal is needed to ensure Colorado doesn’t take Nebraska's water.

“If we do not have this legal resource they will take it all,” said Ricketts.

North and South Omaha are also getting a major boost with the unicameral passing hundreds of millions of dollars for jobs, affordable housing and economic development for those areas.

The majority of the money will go to North Omaha, which Sen. Terrell McKinney represents.

“I’m never a too-high or too-low type of person and so when it passed I was like, ‘good,’ but we still have a bunch of work to do,” said McKinney.

McKinney worked with Senator Justin Wayne to get that bill over the finish line. He also worked on passing sentencing reform, but a filibuster stalled that bill. He says he’ll be back next year.

“There’s always a way to get something done. We just got to find that way and keep working on it, that’s the biggest thing, just keep the fight up and keep grinding it out and I think, eventually, I think we can get something meaningful across the table. It’s just going to take another year to try and do it,” said McKinney.

The legislature also kicked the can down the road on a new prison. Setting $175 million aside, but not spending on a prison yet and possibly leaving it to next year’s legislature.

“New senators, new governor — we got to see what the priorities are, but I’ll definitely fight it no matter what,” said McKinney.

There were a few other polarizing bills that did not make it across the finish line this year. That includes bills on banning abortion and allowing permitless carry of handguns. It’s expected they’ll come back in some form next year.