How to Read a Legislative Bill

To help LWVGO members and community members to be active participants in the Nebraska legislature, we’re publishing guides to following our state senators’ activities in a series called Unicameral 101.

To kick this series off, see LWVGO Policy Director Peggy Adair’s guide to reading bills below.

The easiest way for a novice to learn how the legislature works is to pick one or two bills of interest and follow those bills through the process. Our legislature’s website, nebraskalegislature.gov, is very user-friendly and contains a wealth of information. To pick a bill, one can type in keywords on the “search bills and laws” page and bills will pop up that one can then read to determine if they are of interest.

To follow a bill, type in the bill number on the upper right side of the legislature’s home page. All of the information regarding that bill will pop up, including the name of the introducing senator, the committee assignment of the bill, the complete copy of the bill, any amendments, and where the bill is in the process.

Once you start looking at bills, you’ll notice that legislative bills have three styles of language, described below.

1) Language in current state statutes is displayed in regular type:

Cities of the metropolitan class shall have power by ordinance: … to prevent or regulate the rolling of hoops, playing of ball, flying of kites, the riding of bicycles or tricycles, or any other amusement or practice having a tendency to annoy persons passing in the streets or on the sidewalks or to frighten teams of horses; to regulate the use of vehicles propelled by steam, gas electricity or other motive power, operated on the streets of the city.  

(Ne. Rev. St. 14-102)

2) Language the introducing senator wants to add to current state statutes is displayed in underlined type:

(1) Body-worn camera means a device worn by a peace office in uniform which has the capability to record both audio and video of an interaction between a peace officer and a member of the public but does not include any device used by an undercover officer;

(LB1000)

3) Language the introducing senator wants to be stricken from current state statutes is displayed in strikethrough type:

The counsel of the state, your own and your fellows, you shall keep secret, unless called on in a court of justice to make disclosures.   

(LB1055)

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