Nebraska state senators elect leaders for two-year legislative session

Nebraska state senators elect leaders for two-year legislative session

A very routine first day of the 2021 Nebraska Legislature now seems remarkably cordial when compared with the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington only a short time later the same afternoon.

Nebraska state senators elected a new Speaker and committee chairs for the biennial session. The senators will hold those positions during the 90 working days of session this year and 60 working days in 2022.

The Speakership, among other responsibilities, was set to change hands as a result of senators leaving office last year due to term limits. Lincoln-area Sen. Mike Hilgers was elected Speaker with a timely message of moving past the ugly national political debates, focusing on finding common ground and maintaining a fair process for legislators on both sides of the issues.

Most leaders were unanimously elected without opposition, with ten of the 14 standing committees now slated to have the same chairs as in the previous two years.

No senators new to the Legislature in 2021 ran or were selected for these positions, with the exception of the chair of the Committee on Enrollment and Review, which traditionally is a position handed to the youngest member of the Legislature, in this case, newly-elected Sen. Terrell McKinney.

Even where a chair position was contested, the election occurred on a nonpartisan, secret ballot, with both registered Democrats and Republicans being elected or re-elected to lead the various committees.

Some contested committee leadership elections, including the Education Committee and the Business and Labor Committee—two committees where the body elected new chairs—were closely divided. The election for Education chair required a second round of balloting after the initial vote was tied with a single senator abstaining.

Nonetheless, the nomination speeches for each position were strongly policy-focused and generally avoided personalized contrasts between candidates.

Here is the list of leadership positions in the 107th Nebraska Legislature. You can stay in touch with each committee chair during the session through our lawmakers page, or by clicking on their individual profiles linked below.

Legislative Leadership, Select and Special Committees

These positions deal with the general procedures of the Legislature and don’t hold hearings for legislative bills.

Speaker of the Legislature: Mike Hilgers

Committee on Committees: Robert Hilkemann

Executive Board of the Legislative Council: Dan Hughes
Vice Chair: Tony Vargas

Committee on Enrollment and Review: Terrell McKinney

Rules Committee: Robert Clements

Standing Committee Chairs

These senators are responsible for leading hearings and guiding legislation referred to their committees.

Agriculture Committee: Steve Halloran

Appropriations Committee: John Stinner

Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee: Matt Williams

Business and Labor Committee: Ben Hansen

Education Committee: Lynne Walz

General Affairs Committee: Tom Briese

Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee: Tom Brewer

Health and Human Services Committee: John Arch

Judiciary Committee: Steve Lathrop

Natural Resources Committee: Bruce Bostelman

Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee: Mark Kolterman

Revenue Committee: Lou Ann Linehan

Transportation and Telecommunications Committee: Curt Friesen

Urban Affairs Committee: Justin Wayne

Photo Courtesy Nebraska Unicameral Information Office

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