Monday, January 31, 2011

Results of preliminary poll of committee members who’ll consider LB 566

Etopia News today conducted a preliminary poll of the members of the Nebraska State Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee to gauge the climate surrounding Legislative Bill 566 (LB 566), a proposed law by Nebraska State Senator Paul Schumacher that would let Nebraska’s registered voters sign initiative and other official petitions electronically, online.

Senator Schumacher is on this committee, and, since it’s his bill, he will, of course, be working to get it approved by the committee.

Senator Scott Price, a small business owner and the Senator from District 3, said that “conceptually, I’m agreeable,” with the idea of letting citizens sign initiative petitions online, but that he had concerns regarding the cost of implementing the online signature-gathering system. He said he’d wait until the hearing on the bill to make up his mind.

Senator Rich Pahls, a retired educator who represents District 31, told Etopia News that he had “not made a decision [on the bill].” “I haven’t delved into it; it’s not on my list of priorities,” he said, adding that he would “see what happens in committee” at the hearing on the bill. He said he’d have more to say after the hearing.

A spokesperson for Senator Lydia Brasch, who represents District 16, said that her boss would “sit through the hearing” before making up her mind on the bill.

Staffers in the offices of Senator Charlie Janssen, a former Rescue Swimmer in the U.S. Navy who represents the 15th District, and Senator Russ Karpisek, owner and operator of Karpisek’s Meat Market and the representative of District 32, said they would check with their bosses about their views on LB 566 and call back with that information.

As mentioned in a previous Etopia News article about the bill’s prospects in the committee, Senator Bill Avery, who represents District 28 and chairs the committee, “is generally in favor of using technology to advance electoral processes,” and previously introduced a similar bill, according to committee Legal Counsel Christy Abraham.

Since it was after 5 pm Central Standard Time when the call to her was made, no one picked up in the office of Senator Kate Sullivan, who represents the 41st District.

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