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Unicameral Hearing Procedures 2021

Legislative hearings have begun. The Nebraska Legislature has issued new protocols for written and in-person testimony.  Updated guidelines for submitting a position letter to be included in the official hearing and record.  Also to facilitate public input on legislation, a new feature has been added to the Nebraska Legislature's website for submission of written statements on pending legislation at any stage of the process.
 
Hearing Protocol Summary: 
  • Hearings will run all day, rather than just afternoons. 
    • Morning session from 9:30-noon
    • Afternoon session starting at 1:30 pm. 
  • In-person testimony is generally limited to 5 minutes, although the chair of each committee has the discretion to modify that time limit. 
  • Written Testimony: In lieu of in-person testimony, written testimony for the hearing record must follow these new guidelines: 
    • Submission of written testimony will only be accepted between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. in the respective hearing room where the bill will be heard later that day. 
    • Individuals must present their written testimony in person during this time frame and sign the submitted written testimony record at the time of submission on the day of the hearing on the bill. 
    • The testifier must submit 12 copies. Failure to submit the required number of copies will result in the treatment of the submission as a position letter and not written testimony. 
    • The written testimony must be a written statement that is no longer than 2 single-spaced, typed pages or 4 double-spaced, typed pages in length. 
    • ONLY the written testimony from the person delivering the testimony will be accepted.
      • ***No handouts, testimony, or letters from other individuals may be included outside of an individual's written testimony. 
    • Written testimony will be handed out to each member of the committee during the hearing and made available as part of the hearing transcript when the transcript is made public. 
    • Failure to meet all of these procedures for submitted written testimony will result in the person providing the written testimony to not be listed on the committee statement as a written testifier, however, the testimony will be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit.
  • Position Letter: If you are not testifying in-person or submitting written testimony in-person, you can submit a position letter to be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit.
  • In order to facilitate public input on legislation, a new feature has been added to the Nebraska Legislature's website for the submission of written statements on pending legislation at any stage of the process. 
    • To access this feature, use the Legislatures bill search feature and enter the bill you are interested in.  Once the information for the bill comes up, there is a tab just below “History” labeled “Submit Written Statement for LB …”.  Just click on that and you can submit up to 300 words.
    • These submissions will NOT be considered testimony or part of the public hearing record, but the submitted statements will be available on the UniNet for access by senators and staff throughout the session.
    • NOTE: There should be no expectation of privacy regarding comments submitted in this format. If a citizen uses the database to submit his or her views prior to the public hearing on a bill or resolution, this option will allow input to the members of the committee prior to any committee votes.
A full description of the public hearing process can be found at https://nebraskalegislature.gov/committees/public-input.php

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