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  • Fall 2021 Report on Business Launch with the Missing Column

    Fall 2021 Report on Business Launch with the Missing Column

    The Fall Issue of Report on Business has dropped, watch your mailboxes. If you are working from home and want it delivered there, contact Chris. He will reroute it to any place you'd like. This issue focuses on energy - which continues to be an important sector of our state's economy. Included stories come from Marathon Petroleum Corporation and Minnkota Power Cooperative, with a submission from Lt. Governor Brent Sanford.   

    We launch this issue with GNDC Director of Communications, Amanda Remynse's quarterly column. 

    The Missing Column to the Fall Report on Business Issue: A Tagalong's Guide to Nebraska

    This past summer my husband had a work conference in Lincoln, Nebraska. I went along for the fun and to get out of town for a bit. This event annually changes locations and also provides a spouse track for tagalongs like myself. In reviewing the potential options, I was excited about a tour of the state capitol building. Nerd-alert, yes, but excited nonetheless. The idea further sparked an idea to reach out to the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, whose office was within walking distance of the capitol.
    Now, GNDC has a great relationship with local chambers throughout our state. We exist well together because we each serve distinct roles, but to “compare notes” can be difficult as we have different goals and deliverables. I was happy that the NE team had some time to meet as we live in “similar” roles in our respective states.

    Here’s some of what I learned during this meeting and during my capitol building tour:

    • Nebraska has a unicameral system – meaning they only have one house in their legislature
    • There are 49 senators who are all non-partisan
      • Their party affiliations aren’t noted on the ballot.
      • Some candidates make their party affiliation known by registering as Republican or Democrat but this is not required.
      • This un-affiliation means that primaries can result in potential “same party” candidates both going for the seat.
      • The NE Chamber used the phrase “independent broker” as senators do not caucus and each has their own agenda to promote or prompt for their constituents.
    • There are term limits put in place. Senators can serve two terms (8 years) but then are required to take 1 term off.
      • This does not eliminate candidates from re-running for their seat again after the “break” term, which starts the two-term cycle over again (it happens)
    This fascinated me further when we got to talking about how sessions worked:
    • They have a session every year but they differ in length. Odd-years are 90-days versus the shorter even-year sessions, 60-days.
    • All bills must be introduced in the first 10 days of session and are limited to single subjects.
    • Every bill gets a committee hearing but that does not guarantee a floor vote. 
    Now I can talk to you about the physical structure; the rotunda, the bulletproof glass in the chambers, the sower on the top (which ironically serves as an unintended lightning rod), the progress of the building and what this has meant for the aesthetics, but that may get a little too nerd-a-riffic.

    This trip and this visit made me a bit introspective on our state system which is boiled down to 2 chambers, 141 legislators, a current supermajority, and 80-days every 2 years. When you strip out these fundamentals and listen to the business issues, ours are not that different than what I heard from the Nebraska team. They, too, are working on policies that promote or protect their business climate which further benefits the state's growth and economic success.
    Sure, we talked politics at play as well as how we operate during and between sessions but at the end of the day, it all boiled down to how we promote our members’ voices because the work we do, the fights we take on, matter to the success of business who continue to choose our state.