Budget cuts hot topic for 2018 legislative session

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LINCOLN, Neb. Nebraska's 105th Legislature session two began Wednesday. It's a short 60 day session and during day one's two hour session senators introduced 125 bills and resolutions. This doesn't include carryovers from last year.

Speaker Jim Scheer of Norfolk said senators need to move quickly.

"I encourage the rest of the senators to get their bills prioritized and to communicate with the committee chairman to make sure make sure everyone's priority bill gets a fair opportunity on the floor," he said.

A hot topic for this session is balancing the budget. There's a 173.3 million dollar budget shortfall for the two year period ending June 30th, 2019.

"We'll have to reduce something because we literally have to reduce to meet the revenue anticipation, what those are and where those come from that's the question, and getting people to agree becomes the hard thing to do," said Scheer.

Lincoln Senator Anna Wishart is on the Appropriations Committee.
"I want to make sure we're funding our important state services at the level they need to be funded," she said.

Governor Pete Ricketts is expected to work with lawmakers to come up with a proposal and present it during the first round on hearings on January 10th. After that the Appropriations Committee will look at it and work with those ideas.

"We'll go through line by line of every single state agency and find ways that we can find efficiency and obviously a lot of us will have our priorities in places that we don't want to see any cuts for me that will be education," said Wishart.

Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks says it's important to focus on priority bills and not get stuck on small things like the rules.

"We have a lot of really important issues and it's important to not get caught up in some of the technicalities," she said.