Welcome to LHRMA’s Legislative Issues section of our website! Here you will find information about bills and newly formed laws on the state and local level that effect the Human Resource profession. Please use the different sections below for assistance in keeping update up on legislative issues. Questions can be directed the Government Relations Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, below is a step by step guide to how laws are made in the state of Nebraska (taken from the Nebraska Legislature website) to assist you in understanding the process.
- Concerned citizens, special interest groups, state agencies or the governor bring ideas for new laws to Senators. The senator or their staff research the problem and study possible legislative remedies.
- A senator or legislative committee must introduce a bill that may create a new law, repeal an existing law or change a law (in our state, bills can only contain one subject). Most bills are introduced during the first 10 days of the legislative session which begins each January.
- The Clerk of the Legislature reads the title of the bill it into record, assigns it a number and prints copies of it for public and legislative use.
- The Legislative Fiscal Office prepares budget statements that estimate the anticipated change in state, county, or municipal expenses or revenue under the provisions of each bill. This is called a fiscal note. It contains three estimates – one from the fiscal office staff, one from the governor’s budget office, and a third prepared by the affected state agency. Appropriation bills (“A” bills) are prepared by the fiscal office to accompany bills that have a fiscal impact.
- The Reference Committee then determines which bills will go to each one of the 14 standing committees. Most bills introduced must receive a public hearing by a committee. At these hearings, citizens have a chance to express their opinions to committee members. After the hearing, committees may –
- Vote to send the bill to general file with or without amendments.
- Indefinitely postpone the bill
- Take no action
- If the bills goes to general file, it is the first time the full Legislature has the opportunity to debate and vote on the bill. Here senators consider amendments, which may be proposed by committees and by individual senators. This is often considered to the most crucial stage of the process because it is where most compromises are reached. It takes a majority vote of the Legislature (25 votes) to adopt amendments or move a bill from general file to the next stage.
- Then the bill moves to the Enrollment & Review (“E & R”) process where previously adopted amendments are incorporated into a bill, and then the bill is checked from technical and grammatical accuracy.
- Select File is the second debating and voting stage. This allows another opportunity for amendment, compromise, and reflection. Bills at this stage may either be indefinitely postponed or advanced. If advanced they are sent to E & R again to be rechecked and then printed for the final reading.
- Before finally being passed, all bills are required to be read aloud in their entirety by the Clerk of the Legislature. A bill may not be amended or debated on Final Reading, but may be returned to Select File for a specific amendment. Bills may not be voted on for final passage until at least 5 legislative days after the bill is introduced, and one date after it is placed on Final Reading. A proposed constitutional amendment requires three-fifths vote of elected members (30) to place it on the general election ballot and four-fifths vote (40) to place it on a primary or special election ballot. All other bills without an emergency clause require a simple majority vote before going to the governor.
- After the bill passes the Legislature, it goes to the governor for consideration. The governor has 5 days, excluding Sundays, to decide what to do with a bill. If the governor signs a bill or declines to act on it, the bill becomes state law. The governor may veto a bill, and he or she has the authority to strike specific budget appropriation items (line-item veto). The Legislature may override any gubernatorial veto, although it takes a vote of 30 senators to do so.
- Most bills passed and approved by the governor become law 3 calendar months after the Legislature adjourns. However, bills may take effect before that date if they contain an emergency clause or a specified operative date.