Unicameral 101: How the Legislature Works
The Nebraska Legislature is unique in that all of the business is conducted in one body. The Unicameral provides a system by which a bill need only receive the support of the 49-member body to advance for the governor’s signature. This makes the committee hearings all the more vital to the future prospects of a bill.
The Unicameral meets in a 90-day session in odd-numbered years, and in a 60-day session in even-numbered years. While the 60-day session is usually concluded in early April, the 90-day session will certainly run into late May and possibly early June.
At the beginning of the 90-day session, the Speaker and committee chairs are selected by secret ballot. These are two-year appointments, and are important selections because the Speaker controls the overall agenda of the Unicameral while the committee chairs control the activity within their appointed committees.
The legislative agenda starts anew at the beginning of the 90-day session. Sometimes a bill introduced during the 90-day session will not be brought to closure either by the assigned committee or on the floor. In that case, it is possible for the bill to carry over into the following year’s 60-day session.
Bills are allowed to be introduced during the first 10 days of the session. The NASB staff, as you might imagine, will be immersed in reading these bills early on to determine which have impacts on education.