NGIA NEWS

Kathy's Commentary: Senator, please don't use the F word

Kathy's Commentary: In Nebraska, we just don't use the F word!The Nebraska legislature convened on Jan. 7 with a total of 18 new state senators arriving to take their place as representatives of their districts, along with a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and auditor. New faces bring many changes! Since Jan. 7, the Nebraska legislature has reviewed 663 bills, killed some, moved some and let others sit in committee. The Nebraska unicameral is a one-house system that requires each bill have a hearing, where each senator is allowed one priority bill, each committee is allowed two priority bills, and the speaker is allowed 25 priority bills. At this point, only those bills with a priority status will move forward and have a chance to become law. It’s a very reasonable method to bring the important issues to the top.

The learning curve is steep. New senators, for the most part, have done a good job of trying to learn everything they need to know without becoming overwhelmed. They put in long days, debating complex issues that evolve from day to day. Unfortunately, it appears the new way of doing business is to use what I call the “F” word: If a specific issue is not liked, the Filibuster is used. In times past, senators actually debated the issues, negotiated an outcome or came to a consensus, then took a vote when it appeared no more compromises were to be had. It was a great way to work through an issue and come out with legislation that worked. The new way of legislating is a disappointment because it is not about what is best for Nebraska, but more about how to stop a bill from moving forward if an individual doesn’t like the original bill.

We are over halfway through the 2015 session, and many of the more important issues have not yet been addressed.  In this 90-day session, the legislature is scheduled to adjourn on June 5. There will be late nights where debate, or a “F”ilibuster will go into the evening hours. There will be contentious issues that have to be worked out and compromises made. While it has been defined as a “more conservative” body, not all of the votes indicate this legislature really is more conservative than that of 2014. 

Nebraska’s unicameral, with one body of senators, was and is expected to be balanced by the citizens of the state of Nebraska. Citizens should take ownership of what is being discussed in our state capitol and should weigh in on those issues that are important to them. State senators listen to their constituents and heed their advice.  I would encourage everyone to take part in the legislative process.

Sincerely,
Kathy Siefken
Executive Director
Nebraska Grocery Industry Association

 

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The Nebraska Corn Board, on behalf of 23,000 corn farmers in Nebraska, invests in market development, research, promotion and education of corn and value-added products. The board aims to work closely with the farmer-to-consumer food chain, to educate everyone about the role corn has in our everyday healthy lives. The Nebraska Corn Board is proud to sponsor the Farmer Goes to Market program to help bring its mission of expanding demand and value of Nebraska corn to the consumer, through the strongest touch point in that chain: the Nebraska retail grocer.


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The Nebraska Grocery Industry Association was formed in 1903 by a group of Omaha grocery store owners, wholesalers and vendors to allow them to promote independent food merchants and members of the food industry, and to promote education and cooperation among its membership. NGIA continues to represent grocery store owners and operators, along with wholesalers and vendors located throughout Nebraska, by promoting their success through proactive government relations, innovative solutions and quality services. NGIA offers efficient and economical programs. NGIA also lobbies on both a state and national level, ensuring that the voice of the food industry in Nebraska is heard by our representatives.


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The farm and ranch families represented by Nebraska Farm Bureau are proud sponsors of the Farmer Goes to Market program. We take great pride in supporting Nebraska's agricultural foundation. A key part of that effort is to make sure we produce safe and affordable food. This newsletter is an important part of our effort to connect the two most important parts of the food chain -- the farmer and the grocer -- with the goal of increasing consumer awareness and information about how their food is raised in Nebraska.