A look at the office behind Nebraska’s bills

A look at the office that drafts Nebraska's legislation
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 10:43 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -They’re the unsung heroes of the Unicameral, turning mere ideas into sometimes lengthy bills, and they work to keep the session humming along as smooth as possible. The Bill Drafting/Revisor of Statutes Office is a cornerstone of the entire legislative process.

Right now, they’re experiencing the calm after the storm. During the ten days state senators have to introduce bills, the office fills with the sound of clacking keys and papers printing.

“It’s hectic,” said Loguen Blazek, who works with the Bill Drafting Office. “It’s a lot busier this time of year, kind of starting in early December.”

That’s because the staff in the Bill Drafting/Revisor of Statutes Office is responsible for putting together every bill that lawmakers want written up. It starts with a senator or agency contacting the office for a bill request.

“I will assign it to one of the eight attorneys based on their subject matter and their expertise. they will then take the material and do some research, look at the current statutes in that area,” said Marcia McClurg, the reviser of statutes. “They will compile a work product and pass it off to one of the statute technicians.”

Those technicians then enter it into the software and proof it word by work, punctuation by punctuation.

“We work really hard to make it the best legislation it can be,” Blazek said.

Normally tucked away on the third floor and currently on the 13th floor, they’re not usually spotted by field trips. Some of the staff didn’t even know the office existed until they applied for the job. But they all feel they’re part of something important.

“You’re drafting legislation on a variety of issues and reviewing legislation for others on a variety of issues that help the people of the state of Nebraska, that help our society function in the way it needs to function,” McClurg said.

State senators introduced 812 bills this session, more than in recent years. The office isn’t done yet as staff will now focus on drafting amendments to those bills.