By: Cole Miller
The 103rd Nebraska Legislative session is underway focusing on state budget, tax cuts and Medicaid.
Family in friends gathered in the halls of the Unicameral Wednesday morning. For Nebraska lawmakers, it's back to work.
"The 103rd session of the Legislature of Nebraska is now called to order," Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy said with a pound of a gavel.
There are 11 new senators this go around, along with a familiar face back in his old seat, Ernie Chambers. Along with the re-elected members, they were sworn in.
Next on the agenda was to name a new Speaker of the Legislature. Senator Greg Adams of York nominated himself and he said it's an opportunity to help his fellow lawmakers.
"It's a responsibility to all of you," Adams said. "A responsibility to the citizenry of Nebraska and a responsibility to this wonderful institution, the Legislature."
A unanimous vote gave him the title. He replaces former senator Mike Flood of Norfolk. Soon after that, it was down to business.
Lawmakers are expected to tackle a lot of big issues this session, including the state budget, tax cuts and Medicaid.
Governor Dave Heineman said Medicaid expansion is unaffordable. Senator Kathy Campbell, who was re-elected to chair the Health and Human Services Committee, said she will introduce a bill in favor of expansion.
"It's important that we have a public policy discussion on the Affordable Care Act as it relates to Medicaid expansion and whether the state of Nebraska will enter in to expanding Medicaid or not," Campbell said.
As for newcomer Kate Bolz of Lincoln, she said she is just eager to get to work.
"I have a real interest in serving the public and I think the people of Nebraska are tired of partisan politics and we're all eager to see people who will work together and find common ground and that's what I'm all about," Bolz said.
With day one of the 90 day calendar behind us, the Legislature will again meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning. We should see the first round of bills make their way to the floor at that time.