NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Julie Slama

Sen. Julie Slama

District 1

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Welcome
January 8th, 2020

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 1st legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Julie Slama

Week of November 2nd
November 12th, 2020

District 1- Election Day has passed. There will be no more mailers, no more TV ads, and no more political yard signs for a while, and that’s something we can all be grateful for. I’m grateful, as well, to have earned your support to continue serving our region in the Nebraska Legislature. This has been a fraught and unprecedented election cycle for Southeast Nebraska. Regardless of who you voted for and regardless of your political affiliation, let’s move forward, together, to support policies that best serve our region. 

The same is true for elections at all levels of government. We are truly blessed in District 1 to have more qualified candidates for local office than we have seats available. Some races were decided by just a few votes. Regardless of the outcome, if you were on the ballot in November, please stay involved. Whether it’s putting your full effort into your newly-elected office or making your voice heard in another way if your candidacy was not successful, your work is just beginning. Our communities thrive when their residents are involved. Thank you, as well, to our hard-working county clerks and election officials. COVID-19 made it more difficult to ensure our polling places were fully staffed, and you stepped up to the challenge. Thank you for your work.

On a national level, the vote-counting continues. Though the winner has been called by most media outlets, legal challenges still remain. We must ensure that every legal vote cast in this election is counted. When the count is completed and legal challenges exhausted, we must move forward with our lives. Win graciously and lose with dignity.

After this contentious campaign cycle, we should most of all remember that we are Americans, Nebraskans, and District 1 residents. Although we might not always agree on how to achieve our goals, we all want what is best for our families and our communities. We must be willing to work with each other to make our region the best that it can be. Thank you so much for your support, District 1.

Let’s get to work!

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov 

Week of October 26th
November 12th, 2020

Press deadlines can be fickle things. Weekly columns must be submitted to newspapers by noon Monday for print and distribution from Wednesday to Friday. I’m writing this week’s column about 36 hours before the Election Night results are revealed. There’s no crystal ball handy for me to make a prediction on how Tuesday will go, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Voter turnout looks like it will be the highest it has ever been. For the first time, over 150 million people will have their say in our country’s future by casting a vote. Regardless of your party affiliation, we can all agree that high voter participation is a good thing. 

There’s a chance that by the time you read this column in your local newspaper, we still won’t know the results of the election. National pundits are claiming that it could all come down to a count of mail-in ballots or recounts in Pennsylvania, Florida, or even Nebraska’s Second Congressional District. Those counts could take days or weeks and face several court challenges. The 2020 election cycle has been one without precedent and such a close result would pretty well reflect how this year has gone. I hope that the prayers of our election administrators are answered and the election’s outcome is definitively concluded on Election Night.

I also hope that predictions of widespread rioting and violence don’t materialize. 2020 has been hard enough on our main street businesses. Those who decide to riot and destroy private property in response to an election result are no better than toddlers throwing tantrums in the middle of a grocery store. Those actions do nothing to help heal our country and move it forward.

On a local level, dozens of District 1 residents have answered the call to serve their communities by placing their name on the ballot. It takes courage to run for any office, and those who ran should be proud of their efforts, regardless of the outcome. Those who voted in this election should take pride in that action, as well. Please, stay involved in government even after the red, white, and blue decorations have been cleared and replaced with Christmas decor. Carved into Nebraska’s Capitol is the phrase, “The salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen.” Let’s work together to make sure those are more than just idealistic words carved in limestone.

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov.

Week of October 19th
November 12th, 2020

Election Day 2020 is right around the corner. On November 3 (or some point before, if you’ve chosen to vote early), we Americans can have a direct say in the future of our nation by exercising our sacred civic duty to vote. 

We hear campaign advertisements on TV and radio nearly every commercial break to promote races for Senate and Congress. By the time Election Day rolls around, I’m guessing we will all be able to list off Joni Ernst’s and Theresa Greenfield’s resumes and controversies by heart, thanks to our political ads overlapping with Iowa’s in the Omaha media market. Candidates for federal and statewide offices will be very familiar to you by the time you complete your ballot. However, can you name your candidates for school board? County commissioner? City council?

Many voters go to the ballot box knowing who they will vote for in federal and statewide races, but are taken aback by how many more local races are on the ballot that they had not studied. If you have not done so already, take some time to learn more about your community’s candidates for local elected office. Give the candidates a call or send them an email to see where they stand on issues important to you. 

Not only is it more likely that your vote could be the deciding one cast in a local race, it’s also far more probable that a local elected official’s decisions will have a direct impact on your life. Your local school board helps decide what you’ll pay in property taxes in a given year, your city council guides the future of your community, and your county commissioners play a pivotal role in your area’s infrastructure. Local elections have a lower profile than Presidential or Senate races, but the outcome of these local races will have a far greater direct impact on you, your family, and your community. Nebraska’s election dashboard, which contains handy information on candidates and other items on your ballot, can be found at this website: https://www.nebraska.gov/featured/elections-voting/

Regardless of who you vote for on November 3, let’s commit to working together for Southeast Nebraska on November 4, and every day thereafter. 

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov 

 

Week of October 12th
November 12th, 2020

Achieving structural property tax relief is my top priority in office. Although many legislators and candidates say they want property tax relief, few know how they want to achieve it. Below, you’ll find my plan on how to combat high property taxes on a structural level.

The key to structural property tax relief in Nebraska is to change how we fund K-12 education. I’ll preface by sharing that I wholeheartedly support our public schools, and any claims to the contrary are false. School districts are largely supported by a mix of state and local funding. 60-75% of a District 1 resident’s property tax bill goes towards funding your local K-12 school district. State aid for K-12 education is calculated through the 30-variable TEEOSA formula. In the 2020-2021 school year, 86% of the state’s equalization funding was provided to the 20 largest school districts in the state, leaving the remaining 224 rural school districts with a mere 14% of state equalization funding. This funding disparity puts rural property taxpayers, students, and school districts at a structural disadvantage. TEEOSA must be replaced with a simpler state funding system that provides fair funding for all school districts.

Another large part of creating structural property tax relief in Nebraska is to change how our state as a whole spends money. Spending caps are critical to prevent spending spikes by entities with the authority to levy property taxes. We must also cut unfunded state mandates on local entities and cut our state’s wasteful spending to help our local communities from having to raise property taxes to make ends meet. 

Finally, I will push to change our often unpredictable market-based valuation system on agricultural land to a production-based assessment, so you are paying for what comes out of your land, not simply for the land that you own.

Many people ask me, “what about the gambling initiative?” Claims the gambling legalization initiative would provide meaningful property tax relief are false. Even the most generous estimates provided by supporters place new revenue dedicated to property tax relief at a mere $50 million annually. Nebraskans pay around $5 billion annually in property taxes. At best, the current initiatives would only provide a 1% cut to your property tax bill. The gambling initiative will not provide meaningful property tax relief.

My record in office shows a strong commitment to property tax relief. LB 1107, paired with the 2019-2020 budget and 2020 budget adjustment, provides $650 million in annual property tax relief. LB 1107 is the largest property tax relief bill passed by the Legislature in decades. LB 512, which passed in 2019, provides property tax relief to landowners whose properties have been damaged by natural disasters. LB 103, also passed in 2019, requires that all property taxing authorities host a public hearing and vote before they raise your property taxes.

Addressing Nebraska’s property tax crisis is a major undertaking, and I have both the experience and knowledge necessary to lead the charge for District 1.

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov

Week of October 5th
November 12th, 2020

On Friday, October 9th, the “Patriots, God, and Country Tour” stopped in Nebraska City. This group of retired veterans and first responders are driving their patriotic vehicles over 5,000 miles this fall in 36 days. They are traveling from Phoenix to Washington D.C. and passing through 22 states, including Nebraska.

Last Friday, the tour arrived in Nebraska City. The caravan of patriotic vehicles was impressive to visitors of all ages. Members of the tour guided groups of students to different vehicles, pointing out that each truck celebrated a different unifying aspect of our country, from the bravery of our first responders to the U.S. Constitution. I had a fantastic time visiting with these patriots and respect everything that they have done in service to our country.

The purpose of the “Patriots, God, and Country Tour” is to change the current rhetoric of the nation. In a time of division in our country, the group wants to remind the nation of the gifts and freedoms God has bestowed upon us. These include the liberties we have in the United States and the heroes that protect them both in our country and abroad.

This year has been extremely difficult and divisive for everyone in our nation. Election cycles in our state and nation have caused tempers to flare on both sides, and we may have a tendency to forget what unites us. We are one America and one Nebraska, regardless of political affiliation.

We come from different walks of life and political stripes in Southeast Nebraska, but there’s a common thread: we take genuine pride in our communities and want to see them succeed.

No agendas, no ulterior motives- just an honest desire to do what’s right. We may have differing ideas on how to best get there sometimes, but at the end of the day, we’re all in this together.

That’s something to be proud of, if you ask me.

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov 

Week of September 28th
November 12th, 2020

Fall is a busy time of year in Nebraska. Farmers across the state are getting to see the results of a long summer of growing their crops and are busy harvesting their fields before winter comes. Harvest is the most highly anticipated event of the year nearly every farmer, and involves weeks of heavy labor. However, the relief and reward of a successful harvest is indescribable, and is worth all the hard work that is put into this season.

Nebraska is an agricultural leader in the United States. As of 2019, nearly 45 million (44,900,000) acres of our state are a part of a farm operation, including both farming and ranching. This is approximately 91% of our entire state! Obviously, that makes agriculture an extremely important part of Nebraska’s economy. A study found that, in 2018, cash receipts from farm marketings contributed more than $21 billion to Nebraska’s economy, which was 5.7% of the U.S. total. 

Our farmers also help the economy in our own state. One out of every four jobs (25%) in our state is related to agriculture, as compared to a national average of 11%. Therefore, much of our employment is related to farming. Also, every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.28 in additional economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing and production. In 2018, the $6.8 billion in agricultural exports translates to $8.7 billion in additional economic activity.

District 1 itself is an important part of the agricultural superpower of our state. According to the USDA, last year, our five counties harvested an average of 53.63 bushels of winter wheat, 149.86 bushels of corn and 51.9 bushels of soybeans per acre! Our farmers work hard to boost our state’s economy and feed our nation’s residents, and now is one of the craziest times of year for them.

In our state, each farm operation works 982 acres on average, and our property taxes have negatively impacted our farmers to a great extent. They are simply too high. Here in the Legislature, I have been working hard to provide property tax relief to the farmers in District 1. The passage of LB 1107 in this past session will help to alleviate some of the burden that our farmers have faced, but I don’t want it to stop there. The only thing that our farmers should have to worry about is just that, farming. 

We should all be supportive of our farming communities at this time because, again, harvest can be a very stressful part of the year. Our farmers and their families will be in my prayers, and I wish all of them luck during this time!

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov

Week of September 21st
November 12th, 2020

September 21, 2020

Happy Fall! As the weather cools, it is a great time to get out in our communities and appreciate the season. There are many opportunities around our beautiful district to enjoy both this time of year and each other.

Indian Cave State Park has events on the second, third, and fourth week of October for its 25th Annual “Haunted Hollow.” On Friday nights at 7:30 p.m., there will be a Pasture Movie. Be sure to bring your chairs and blankets, and get ready to cuddle up and enjoy some Halloween classics, such as Casper, Halloween Town and Hocus Pocus. It will be fun for the whole family! 

On Saturday nights, the park will have a Haunted Drive-Thru for $15 a vehicle. The park will begin selling tickets on October 1st, and they will not be sold on site. Tickets are limited, so be sure to call 402-883-2575 to get yours as soon as possible! 

The park will have a Halloween Scavenger Hunt, which will be a ton of fun for everyone! Finally, the park is hosting a Campsite Decorating Contest on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th weekend of the month. Judging will be at 10 p.m on Saturdays, so be sure that you are there early enough to get your decorations up! 

Also, be sure to check out the Harvest Celebration in Nebraska City! Events are still on despite the recent fire at Porter’s and the Apple House Market. Events will include wine tasting, hard cider tasting, live music, and much more. Tickets for all the attractions and activities will be available to purchase at least one week in advance. New for this year, you are not required to have Tree Adventure admission to pick apples and pumpkins! Just go to the orchard and purchase as many bags as you need to pick apples to your heart’s content. Pumpkin picking is expected to begin early- to mid- October.

AppleJack activities during the Harvest Celebration will be spread out over three weekends instead of one to give our communities more time to enjoy the excitement. Get your fill on apple pie, apple cider, donuts, candy apples, caramel apples, and everything apple that you can imagine. AppleJack’s kick off weekend was this past week, so the fun is in full swing! 

I think that we can all agree that a great fall day also includes a great game. Our students at all levels are playing hard in football, volleyball, and other sports across our district. Be sure to go support your local school’s sports and cheer on our youth! Please double check the school’s most recent COVID protocols for athletic events to ensure admission is open to the public before attending.

Fall is a beautiful time of year, and it definitely is a time to get out and enjoy the outdoors before the chill of winter comes. Plan to join events in your community, so you can fully experience this season!

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov 

Week of September 14th
September 21st, 2020

Constitution Day

On September 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the United States Constitution, one of the most influential documents in world history. Last week, we celebrated the 233rd anniversary of the Constitution’s signing. That day and every day, we must work to preserve and protect our structural documents from those that wish to attack the very foundation of our system of government.

The Framers of the Constitution created our federal government with the people in mind. They had dealt with the tyranny of the British monarchy, facing excessive taxation without representation. After fighting a bloody war for independence, the Founders worked hard to formulate a system that increased the roles of individuals in the government and allowed the common man to have their opinion represented at the federal level.

The Framers made sure that every individual would be represented in the federal government. Through the Connecticut Compromise (also called the Great Compromise), the Framers created a government that represents the entire nation equally. The compromise created two houses of Congress: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Representation in the House would be based on the population of the state in question, and each state would contribute two delegates to the Senate, regardless of their population. This smoothed tensions between larger and smaller states that both desired to give their residents the best representation possible.

It took a lot of discussion and debate to get voters the rights that we can express freely today. For instance, it was originally proposed that the President would be selected by a popular vote of the people. However, the delegates agreed on a system known as the Electoral College, which we still use today. This decision helped benefit states like ours by ensuring that power is distributed geographically instead of centered on one area of the country.

As Benjamin Franklin left the Pennsylvania State House after the final meeting of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, he was approached by a woman who asked him what sort of government the new country would have. Franklin replied, “A republic, madam. If you can keep it.”

In the document that the Framers created over 200 years ago, they achieved their goal of creating a Constitution that allows voters to choose who they want to represent them. Every vote counts, and with Election Day right around the corner, we can all take advice from Mister Franklin as we do our civil duty to keep our republic that our Founding Fathers worked so diligently to create.

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov.

Week of September 7th
September 21st, 2020

Letter to the Big Ten Conference

This past week, 28 of Nebraska’s 49 state senators signed onto my letter to Big Ten Conference Commissioner Keven Warren urging the B1G to transparently reconsider its decision to cancel fall sports. 

“We are writing you today to urge the Big Ten Conference to transparently reconsider its decision to cancel the fall football season. 

Other major conferences have proven over recent weeks that football and other fall sports can be conducted safely. Big Ten athletic programs have led the way for player safety by ensuring student-athletes have access to regular testing and are under tight physical distancing controls. Five weeks ago, conference leaders released updated and enhanced testing, quarantine, and isolation policies. These efforts have been successful at preventing the spread of COVID-19, yet the conference disregarded this success by canceling the fall season anyway.

The University of Nebraska’s student-athletes, coaches, and administrators have overwhelmingly expressed support of a fall sports season. The Big Ten Conference’s fall sports cancellation, especially while other major conferences have successfully prepared to return to action, placed our student-athletes at a disadvantage to their peers on and off the playing field. Big Ten member institutions also stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars that support vital student scholarships and programs. 

Safely returning to play this fall has support from players, parents, coaches, and fans in the state of Nebraska. Therefore, we respectfully ask that you reconsider your decision and work with our university leaders to allow sports to resume this fall.”

This letter had bipartisan support from many of my colleagues. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren’s son is playing football this fall at Mississippi State, so it would certainly be my hope that if convincing evidence existed to cancel the fall sports season, the Big Ten would make that information publicly available for all to know. If that evidence doesn’t exist, we owe it to our student athletes to give this season a shot. Falls sports represent both an irreplaceable time in these athletes’ lives and a multi-million dollar segment of Nebraska’s economy, supporting hundreds of jobs. Conference leaders will be voting again on the fate of the falls sports season this week. Let’s hope, this time, the vote is transparent and evidence-based.

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov.

Week of August 31st
September 21st, 2020

Labor Day & Law Enforcement

While many of us celebrated Labor Day with friends and family, our essential workers remained on the front lines to provide critical services. Our corrections officers, military personnel, health care professionals, and other first responders deserve our thanks for their work every day to protect our society. Through unprecedented challenges, selfless leaders have answered the call to serve District 1 and keep us safe. This week’s article will focus on a group of brave men & women that have found their very profession in the crosshairs of a political debate: our law enforcement officers.

Many cities and towns around the country are considering “defunding the police,” and moving those resources elsewhere. This is an idea that absolutely boggles my mind. At a time in our country marked by riots and unrest, there are some arguing to defund the very men and women who are tasked with keeping the unrest under control. 

Seattle’s “autonomous zone” provided a case study on why law enforcement officers are absolutely necessary. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan permitted protestors to force out law enforcement and barricade themselves into what she referred to as “a block party.” Life within the autonomous zone was anything but sunshine and good feelings, however. Decades-old business were pillaged, infrastructure was decimated, and serious crimes were not investigated. The autonomous zone had descended into anarchy by the time it was finally broken up by federal officials. 

There are also those who argue that social workers should be the ones responding to calls of a person suffering from mental distress, rather than the police. We better understand the devastating impact of mental illness now more than any other time in our country’s history, but a social worker entering a potentially dangerous situation by themselves is a recipe for disaster. Imagine an unarmed social worker attempting to disarm a person who, in the midst of a manic episode, has put a gun to their spouse’s head.

Violence against law enforcement officers even occurs in Nebraska. On August 26th, Lincoln police officer Mario Herrera was killed in the line of duty. Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line each day to protect our communities. It’s usually a thankless job, but today I’d like to send a message to our law enforcement officers across District 1: thank you.

If you see our local officers around town, please take some time to thank them for their service to District 1. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the negative news in our world today- the best thing we can do is spread our own positive message in response. At a time where some lawmakers want to defund the police, I’m proud to defend our brave men and women in blue.

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov.

Sen. Julie Slama

District 1
Room 11th Floor
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2733
Email: jslama@leg.ne.gov
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