By: David O’Connell
The main purpose of Boys’ State is for young men to learn about how the government works in the state of Nebraska. This idea finally started to appear early on the first morning in the weekly schedule when guest speaker Kate Bolz, representing the 29th district in the State Legislator, talked to a smaller division of boys elected to the State Legislator for the Boys’ State program.
Her presentation consisted of how she first began her career in government and how the unique system of a Unicameral Legislator in Nebraska works.
When Bolz first started to run as the District Legislator, she undertook lots of door knocking to reach out to voters, but because Nebraska has a Unicameral Legislature, she did not feel obliged to mention her political party when campaigning.
“I felt compelled that my talents would serve the citizens,” Bolz said.
Bolz had past experience in organizations involved with Down Syndrome and children’s Medicare funding and used her experience to entice voters.
Moreover, Bolz declared that she is a registered Democrat, but said that it did not matter in the capitol because it is a non-partisan legislator and that there is no majority or minority leader. In addition, she stated that there is no caucus for legislators running.
She further explained that the people of Nebraska act as the second house to the Unicameral Legislator by having citizens voice their concerns to senators. Because in a bicameral legislator, both houses have to approve a bill in order for it to be passed, and in Nebraska’s case, the people can voice their approval to a bill.
Cornhusker Boys State is randomly divided into two political parties, Nationalists and Federalists. The two parties start with a blank platform. Party members work to adopt “planks” of the platform at their conventions. Following the party conventions, candidates for various state offices offered remarks and answered questions from thier fellow citizens. The primary election, for everything except Governor, will be held on Tuesday June 5th.
Sen. Kate Bolz visited Cornhusker Boys State on Monday. Sen. Bolz discussed the unicameral legislature and how it works. In addition, she discussed some current issues facing the legislature and took several questions from the delegates. Sen. Bolz is from Lincoln and represents the 29th district.
The Cornhusker Boys State Unicameral Legislature is back in session. Forty nine delegates were elected to serve as senators. Senators will debate legislation throughout the week and have an opportunity to conduct business in the historic Warner Chambers at the Nebraska State Capitol.
One of the first tasks of the Legislature is to elect a speaker.
The second session of the Legislature involved many heated debates in order to priorities the most pressing issues by each committee. Committee Chairmen were elected to head each of the five committees and the Committee Secretary was in charge of reading aloud each bill on the table and amending any necessary changes to the bill if the committee chose to do so. Each committee had the responsibility of prioritizing their top three bills to move on to General File, where debate will take place regarding all of the priority bills.
Senator Nick Koehler is deep in discussion with his Committee regarding a bill to enhance the state education platform.
The second session ended by moving in to General File and debating our first two bills. Our Legislative session has the privilege of having 2016 Boys Nation Vice President, Choteau Kammel, to assist in showing our current Boys Staters the proper way each bill will be debated. There were some very heated debates and opinions expressed in our first two, but ultimately both of those bills were turned down, and for the time being, tabled indefinitely.
Senator Peter Owens debates the Internet Sales Tax bill in which he authored.
Our Senators are very excited to spend an entire afternoon debating the rest of the priority bills in General File at this time!