Frequently Asked Questions

Below are topics with questions you may have and answers to these questions:

How do I follow the Legislature while it's in session?

Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) provides live coverage of legislative floor activity and public committee hearings held at the Capitol. These can be viewed as a video stream from NET's website. For technical assistance with the video stream, contact NET at (800) 698-3426..

Are visitors allowed to watch the Legislature while it's in session?

Visitors may watch the Legislature from the third floor balconies in the Norris Chamber. Stairways to these seating areas are located on either side of the chamber.

What is my legislative district?

Find your senator and district number by visiting Find Your Senator.

What is the Unicameral?

For information on Unicameralism and the Nebraska Legislature, see the About the Legislature section.

How do I request a legislative history?

Visit the Legislative Histories page to learn how to obtain a history.

Where do I find information about the state budget?

State budget reports can be accessed by visiting the Appropriations Committee web page.

How do I contact the governor? The secretary of state? The attorney general? Other state agencies?

Contact information for the governor, secretary of state, attorney general, judicial branch or any executive branch agency can be found by visiting www.nebraska.gov and clicking the link for the appropriate entity.

I can't find something I need on this web site.

If you are unable to find what you need, please contact the webmaster for assistance.

I'd like to make suggestions for new content.

Feedback is welcome.

How do I find information on lobbyists?

How many people work for the legislature?

Approximately 250 full-time, permanent employees work for the Legislature.

What is the page program?

Pages are local college students employed by the legislature to respond to senators' requests for assistance on the legislative floor, answer incoming calls to the chamber and prepare for and assist with committee hearings. Contact the Clerk's Office at (402) 471-2271 to inquire about the program or request an application.

How do I request a legislative history?

Visit the Legislative Histories page.

What is a gutted bill?

A gutted bill is one that, when introduced, addressed a certain subject matter but whose contents were changed during the legislative process. A bill's content can be "gutted" entirely and replaced with new content, or other provisions can be added to the bill's original content.

What is the Statement of Intent?

The introducer of a bill will issue a Statement of Intent before a hearing to state what the intent of the bill is at the time of introduction. Any changes made to a bill after it has been introduced will not be reflected in the Statement of Intent. To see what any changes may be, check the history of a bill by using the bill search tools.

When were the statutes last updated?

After the end of a legislative session, all the statutes that are changed with the passage of bills need to be updated. This process is called codification. Once the codification is complete, the statutes are updated and a link will be posted under the Recent Legislative Information section on the home page.

Are there resources for students and teachers on this web site?

The For Students and Teachers section of this web site provides links to several pages that may be good resources for students and teachers.

Where can I find information on visiting and touring the Capitol, including directions and parking information?

Information about the Capitol, its history and its visiting hours, can be obtained at the Nebraska State Capitol web site.

Free one- and two-hour parking may be found on the streets surrounding the Capitol. Longer-term parking may be found in the residential areas south of the Capitol. The nearest public parking garage is located at 12th and L streets. Accessible parking is available on K Street adjacent to the Capitol's north entrance.

What do legislative committees do?

Committees hold hearings regarding bills, conduct interim studies, designate bills as committee priority bills and formulate amendments for bills.

Where can I find a list of the standing committees?

The Standing Committees web page provides a list of all standing committees with links to the individual committee web pages.

Does every bill receive a committee hearing?

Except for a few technical bills, every bill must receive a public hearing.

How do I find out what day the committees are scheduled to meet?

Committee hearing schedules.

Is there a way to be notified when a particular bill will be heard by a committee?

Those who sign up for the BillTracker service will be notified when a particular bill will receive its hearing. For more information regarding BillTracker, go to www.nebraska.gov/billtracker.

Where do I find minutes of a committee meeting?

A summary of a committee's action following a hearing can be found in the committee statement, available through the bill search feature. More detailed committee records can be obtained from a legislative history.

How do I find out what action a committee has taken on a bill?

You can research a current or past bill by using the bill search feature.
The BillTracker service notifies users when committees take action on their bills of interest.

How long does a committee have to act on a bill?

A committee may act on a bill at any time during a session once it has been referred the bill and a public hearing has been held.

Are committee hearings open to the public?

Yes. Furthermore, anyone can testify at committee hearings.

How do I go about speaking on a bill in committee?

If you plan to offer testimony at a committee hearing, consider reading Tips on Testifying at a Committee Hearing.

How do I find information on lobbyists?

How many people work for the Legislature?

In 2007, the Legislature had a staff of 312, including temporary, part-time, per diem and non-classified positions.

What is the page program?

Pages are local college students employed by the legislature to respond to senators' requests for assistance on the legislative floor, answer incoming calls to the chamber and prepare for and assist with committee hearings. Contact the Clerk's Office at (402) 471-2271 to inquire about the program or request an application.

I'm not familiar with the legislative process. How does a bill become a law?

Nebraska's lawmaking is described in detail at Lawmaking in Nebraska.

Is there a glossary of legislative terms I might not be familiar with?

What is the difference between a bill and a resolution?

A bill changes the Nebraska Statutes and must go through the lawmaking process from introduction to final reading. A resolution, on the other hand, pertains to an internal rule of the legislature, official declaration, interim study, ballot initiative or a constitutional amendment.

What bills and hearings are scheduled for today?

Floor agendas and committee hearing schedules are available on the legislative calendar.

How do I know whether a bill sent to a committee has had a hearing?

Enter the bill number in the Bill Search. If a hearing has been scheduled, you will see an entry for Notice of hearing... including a date. That is the date the committee hearing will take place. For example, a hearing scheduled for January 28, 2008 will read Notice of hearing January 28, 2008. If there is no entry for Notice of hearing, then the committee has yet to schedule the hearing date.

How do I track a bill's progress?

A search for a bill will provide the most recent status of the bill's progress through the legislative process. BillTracker, a service provided by Nebraska.gov, allows for the tracking of multiple bills at once.

When do passed laws go into effect?

Bills passed go into effect three months after the Legislature adjourns, unless they include an effective date or emergency clause. Bills with an emergency clause become effective at 12:01 a.m. the day after the governor signs the bill, the Legislature overrides the governor's veto, or five days pass after the Legislature approves a bill and the governor fails to act on it.

When are the Nebraska Revised Statutes updated?

The Revisor of Statutes updates the Nebraska Statutes following each legislative session.

When does the Legislative session convene and adjourn?

The Nebraska Constitution requires that the Legislature convene annually on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January. Sessions in odd-numbered years last 90 days, whereas sessions in even-numbered years are 60 days. Adjournment dates vary based on how the Speaker schedules the 90- or 60-day session.

How many days are required for a special session?

Seven days are required to enact a law, but fewer days for a constitutional amendment.

How does the legislature elect officers?

The legislature elects officers by a vote of the body. Legislative officers must receive a majority of votes to be elected.

What are the rules of the legislature?

How do I get a law changed?

The best way to change a law is to formulate an alternative policy, find others who support your cause and approach a senator with your idea.

What legislative documents are available online?

Bills, committee statements, statements of intent, fiscal notes, hearing schedules, floor agendas and the legislative journal, which includes a record of floor proceedings and votes, are available online.

What publications are available from the Legislature?

Visit our publications page to view and download PDFs or order print copies of information publications for different age groups.

What is the Unicameral Update? How do I subscribe?

The Unicameral Update is a news magazine produced by the Unicameral Information Office that covers legislative activities. News stories are continuously posted throughout session and are formatted for the print magazine at the end of each week. Subscription questions can be submitted through our publications page.

What is the Nebraska Blue Book? What kind of information can I find in it?

The Blue Book is Nebraska's official reference manual, with information about the state's government, geography, economy, history and culture. For more information regarding the Blue Book, including purchase prices, visit Blue Book online.

How do I research a bill or law?

Use the search bills and search laws features of the web site.

How do I find information about a bill if all I know is a general topic?

Use the keyword search found on the search bills and search laws section of the web site.

What legislative documents are available online?

Bill copies, committee statements, statements of intent, fiscal notes and the legislative journal, which includes a record of floor proceedings and votes, are available online through the Bill Search.

Is there a way of tracking bills? How do I find the status of a bill?

Use the search bills and laws features of the web site either through the menu or the quick search.
The BillTracker service provided through Nebraska.gov can track bills of interest and will notify users when the status of their bill changes.

Where can I find assistance interpreting the status of a bill?

For online assistance visit Lawmaking in Nebraska for an explanation of the process and terminology and the Glossary of Legislative Terms.

How can I view the text of a bill?

Enter the bill number in the quick search box. Click on the Go button to open the page for the bill information. There will be links to the pdf copies of the bills and related documents.

What does the underlining and overstriking in bill and amendment text mean?

Underlining indicates new language that will be inserted, whereas overstriking indicates current text that will be deleted.

How can I find bills from previous sessions? For example, the forty-fifth legislature?

Indices of bills introduced back to 1998 will provide the bill number and subject matter.
Use the search bills page from the menu or use the Search Past Legislation link to see bills and their related documents back to 1999. For years prior to that, you will need to contact the Legislative Historian.

I don't have a statute number. How do I find a particular law on the web site?

You have two options: you can search by keyword for a particular law or you can browse statutes by subject.

Who can help me interpret what a specific law means?

If you would like to know what a passed bill will do, contact the office of the senator or committee that sponsored the bill.

Who is my senator? How can I determine my legislative district?

You can find your senator and district by visiting Find your senator page.

How do I contact my legislator?

Contact information for each senator can be found on his or her web page which you can reach through the Senators pages list.

Can I obtain a list of all legislators' e-mail addresses? Can I send a bulk e-mail?

Senators' individual e-mail addresses can be found on each of their web pages. You can send a bulk e-mail to senators by pasting all of their addresses in your e-mail message, but personalized messages to each senator are much more effective than a mass e-mail.

How do I find all bills introduced by a senator?

Each senator's page provides a link to the bills he or she has introduced. Alternatively, the Bills & Laws Search section provides the ability to search for bills by introducer.

Where can I obtain a voting record of my senator? Is it online?

Information about voting records can be found on the voting records page.

How do I find out what a senator's party affiliation is?

While the nonpartisanship of the Unicameral makes party affiliation less relevant, senators' party affiliation can be found in their biographies published in the Nebraska Blue Book.

Where can I view salary and benefit information for Nebraska state legislators?

The Nebraska Constitution states that senators are to be paid $1,000 per month, or $12,000 annually. Nebraska senators can join the same health plans available to all state employees, but they must pay the full premiums.

How do term limits work? Can I find a list of when senators will be term-limited?

Senators are term-limited after serving two consecutive terms, after which they must wait four years before running again. If a senator is appointed to his or her seat more than two years before the seat is up for election, his or her service will count as one term. Senators' web pages include the date when they were elected or appointed.

How do I find information on former legislators?

The Nebraska Blue Book includes a list of all present and former state legislators.