AP NEWS

106th Legislature convenes in a wave of hope

January 10, 2019

The 106th Nebraska Legislature convened for the 90-day session in a wave of optimism, bathed in the warm light of a January sun flooding the George Norris Legislative Chamber.

Senators, their families and friends exchanged handshakes and hugs, some meeting for the first time as a crop of 13 lawmakers took the oath of office for their first four-year term in the Legislature.

“Thank you for this beautiful day,” said Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward in an invocation to open the session. “Thank you for the ability to come together as your elected servant-leaders to lead this state as legislative policymakers.”

Kolterman, who took the oath of office for his second term representing District 24, reminded his colleagues that they gathered to serve the citizens of the state, “to pass well thought-out legislation” as pleasing to God as to their constituents.

Wednesday morning proceeded with deliberation, as Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Heavican administered the oath to new senators and officers of the Legislature.

Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk was re-elected by his peers as speaker of the Legislature, a position he promised to wield for the next two years with integrity and honor.

Upon his election, legislative pages carried boxes of doughnuts to senators row by row, a gift from Scheer -- not in thanks for his election to leadership, but in gratitude for a newborn grandson in Texas.

While the selection of committee leadership was a sore spot for the Legislature two years ago, Wednesday’s mood was lighthearted, but cautious.

Ending his invocation, Kolterman asked that the 106th legislative session “be a fun experience for all involved.”

“I want us to meet in the spirit of cooperation,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be a negative experience.”

Will it hold?

“I hope so.”