OK, this isn't quite settled, but Mike Flood could be heading back to the Legislature.

No final decision yet on whether he'll be a candidate next year, but he's considering it now.

If — or when — that happens, that would be a very big deal.

Flood, who served as Speaker of the Legislature for six years, was a skilled legislator who knew how to make things happen — and how to sometimes prevent things from happening. 

He knew how to resolve a deadlock and how to broker an agreement, often with a closed-door discussion.

If he decides to seek election to the District 19 seat as current Speaker Jim Scheer, also of Norfolk, winds down his second and final legislative term, you could safely bet that Norfolk voters will be returning him to the legislative body that he left after bumping into the constitutional limit of two consecutive terms.

And he'd be following the same path that another skilled legislative veteran, Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha, chose in 2018.

Lathrop returned to a seat in the Legislature this year and jumped immediately into the challenging task of leading legislative efforts on prison reform while becoming actively, and collaboratively, engaged in a wide array of issues.

Senators immediately installed him as chairman of the Judiciary Committee and Lathrop quietly built relationships and trust with his new colleagues. 

Flood is a Republican; Lathrop is a Democrat; they respect one another; they know how to get things done; there is power and promise and potential in the prospect of having that veteran duo back in the Legislature together in 2021.

After more than six years on the sidelines while he built the News Channel Nebraska state TV network and strengthened a string of radio stations that he owns, Flood — who is also an attorney — is weighing a return to the Legislature to which he was first elected when he was 29.

Remarkably, he was first chosen as Speaker at age 31.

Flood helped fashion compromise agreements on issues like reforming the Commission on Industrial Relations and moving the State Fair from Lincoln to Grand Island, clearing the path for development of Innovation Campus.

And he was at the center of agreements to more quietly resolve contentious issues like stem cell research and pro-life concerns. He sponsored the legislation that effectively ended late-term abortions in Nebraska.

There was more, lots more — and there may be more to come.

* * *

Legislative redistricting chatter already has begun a couple of years in advance of the deed.

It'll occur in 2021 following the 2020 federal census and the battle may center on an attempt to hold the urban gain in the Legislature to one senator instead of the two senators anticipated by changing population figures.

That would require some creative fashioning of new legislative districts.

The Legislature's executive board will appoint nine senators to a redistricting committee, with no more than five affiliated with the same political party.

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That same committee will fashion the shape and political nature of new congressional districts and that could help determine the winner of some future elections to the House of Representatives.

There'll be a scramble to get on that committee and an effort to designate heavy-hitters for a task that will have huge political implications for the following 10 years.

And when the lines are drawn, there will be an elephant in the room.

A donkey, too.

* * *

Finishing up:

* Democratic State Chairwoman Jane Kleeb told Boys State and Girls State high school students that she and her husband, Scott, are still making payments on their college loans. Kleeb said there ought to be a new system of interest-free college loans for today's students.

* Kleeb, who is writing a book titled "Harvest the Vote: How Democrats Can Win Again in Rural America," also told the students she once was a Young Republican.

* Allen Beermann, Nebraska's former secretary of state, has informed members of the Nebraska Press Association that he will be retiring as its executive director in 2020.

* A question that's being debated now: Does a person, a waitress with an untreated, deteriorating and perhaps even fatal medical condition who is eligible for health care coverage under the Medicaid expansion initiative approved by Nebraska voters last November, have a legal cause of action against the state when it is delaying her coverage and treatment for nearly two years after that vote? The state argues it will take that long to establish an effective and approved administrative structure to implement the change.

* After all that's happened, there's no way to overestimate the importance of the Bill Moos hire.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.


Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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