The 108th Legislature, 1st Regular Session is underway. Senators introduced 812 legislative bills, and 31 legislative resolutions, 19 of which are constitutional amendments. This being the 90-day session, the Legislature will also be passing a biennial budget for the next two years for the state of Nebraska. The Legislature will be in session until late May or early June.

Each bill and resolution have a hearing welcomes the “second house” – the public – to provide input. Being a Unicameral Legislature, it is very important for Nebraskans to have our voices heard on issues. As the “second house,” we can provide input through testimony at hearings, in person or on-line. Another valuable way to provide input is to call or email your State Senator.

The Legislature’s web site provides a great deal of information. I suggest going to to review the list of introduced legislation, review the calendar of hearings for legislation, submit on-line comment, and ways to contact your State Senator.

I have found that reaching out to State Senators is an effective way to have a dialogue about policies. Many people are unsure how to speak to their representatives at any level of government. I completely understand because for years I felt the same way. Below are ideas of how to approach talking to your representative at any level of government.

Approach any conversation with your representative in a respectful manner. Trust me, sometimes it is hard when they may be pushing a policy or law which will negatively affect us personally or our business. Maybe it is contrary to our personal values. Yet it is important to have a respectful approach to the dialogue. Trust me, sometimes it is difficult, yet very important.

Be open to a two-way conversation – make sure to understand where your representative is coming from on an issue. For instance, why they have introduced the legislation and be willing to ask questions about the legislation and most important, make sure to listen and understand their point of view.

Tell your story – many times different groups will put out a list of “talking points” for people to call their representatives or even send a “form letter” to forward on to their representatives. I have observed that when a representative receives copies of the exact same letter, they may get lost in the shuffle. I always encourage people contacting their representatives to tell their personal stories. Stories of how legislation will impact you personally, your family, or your business will gain the attention of your representative. Hearing direct impact from a constituent is valuable input for our representatives.

Regardless of the outcome, it is important to show appreciation for the opportunity to communicate with your representative.

Over the course of the next several months the Legislature will address several issues impacting Nebraskans. I encourage all Nebraskans as the “second house” to engage with what is happening at all levels of government. I realize our lives are busy running our businesses and taking care of family obligations. At LIBA we do our best to communicate on issues impacting local business. We have an excellent policy research coordinator, Katie Bohlmeyer, who puts out a weekly policy update to members with what is happening at every level of government. The other way to stay connected to what is happening to impact the business community is to check out the Lincoln Business Beat podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify with updates on local issues. We will be talking a great deal about legislative matters.