NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Julie Slama

Sen. Julie Slama

District 1

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at jslama@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 5th, 2022

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 June 20th
June 22nd, 2022

On Thursday, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Title IX. This short, one-sentence provision opened the door for women’s sports across the United States. Before Title IX passed in the 1970s, only 300,000 (or 7%) of high school athletes were women. In the past 50 years, the number has risen above 3.4 million– around 43% of all high school athletes.

The effects of Title IX also extended outside of high school and college sports. Of the 400 Americans that attended the 1972 Olympics in Germany, only 84 of them were women. Forty years later, at the 2012 London Olympic Games, American women outnumbered American men for the first time in history– both in participation and in medals. Title IX indirectly contributed to the athletic dominance of the United States on a global scale.

Participation in athletics has long-lasting benefits that transcend a student’s time in school. These benefits include a stronger sense of self-confidence in building relationships, a better understanding of oneself, a foundation for lifelong fitness, and an expanded capacity for empathy. Recent surveys have even shown that participation in high school sports is a better predictor of future success than grade point averages or standardized testing scores.

However, I am concerned about the current landscape of women’s sports, and how actions (or a lack of action) from policymakers could destroy the future of women’s sports altogether. Last year, the Department of Education issued a “Notice of Interpretation” stating that Title IX’s protections extend to “discrimination based on gender identity.” This has led to biological men competing in women’s sports- shattering the record boards and leaving young women behind.

Every girl in Nebraska should have an opportunity for a fair playing field. I was lucky to be coached in volleyball and track by some of the trailblazers in Nebraska high school girls’ sports. There are no plaques on any walls celebrating my athletic achievements, and I was far from ever being the “best of the best.” However, the discipline, commitment, and lessons learned during my time in youth and high school sports will stick with me for the rest of my life. 

District 1, you have my commitment that I will introduce legislation next session to protect the integrity of women’s sports in Nebraska. The future generations of young women competing in high school and college athletics depend on it.

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 June 6th
June 22nd, 2022

On May 3, 2022, a court employee leaked a draft opinion in the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson to the media. This draft opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, stated that the majority of the Supreme Court voted not only to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week ban on abortion but to completely overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood. Leaking this draft opinion of Dobbs was an absolutely unprecedented attack on the Supreme Court as an institution. The confidentiality of draft opinions is of the utmost necessity, and breaking that confidentiality is (at best) an undermining of our federal institutions. Even though this leak was abhorrent, pro-abortion activists cheered because they knew that it would lead to the intimidation of our Supreme Court justices.

Indeed, the leak of the draft Dobbs v. Jackson decision endangered the lives of every Justice on the Supreme Court. This week, a 26-year-old California man went to the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh with the intent to kill him over his pro-life views. This California man believed the best way to protect Roe v. Wade was to resort to the violent assassination of one of our highest federal officials.

Although this particular event is a terrible, extreme example of how radical pro-abortion activists act, this rhetoric of violence toward pro-life officials is not new. We should not fear when we are attacked by these extremists. Instead, we should strengthen our resolve to protect the unborn from murder and be proudly pro-life. But what does it mean to be pro-life?

Being pro-life means valuing the sanctity of life and understanding that abortion unjustly ends an innocent life. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, we have lost 64 million Americans and 200,000 Nebraska lives to abortion. Babies in the womb are babies and have no less value due to their location and stage of development. Standard embryology textbooks state that most of the baby’s organs form within six weeks’ gestation. By this time, also, a baby’s heart is developed and beating. At ten weeks, an embryo can feel pain. At eleven weeks, the baby begins to suck its thumb. Shortly after twelve weeks, the baby begins to move around the womb and make facial expressions. Abortion stops that baby’s heart, ending a human life that should be cherished.

Being pro-life means advocating for protecting the preborn. In the Nebraska Legislature, we have passed many laws that do just that in our state. In 2019, we passed LB 209 which expanded the information required to be provided during a medication abortion. In 2020, we passed LB 814 which banned the barbaric act of dismemberment abortions in our state. We, as a Legislature, will continue to push for bills to increase protections for our most vulnerable- not only for our preborn babies, but also for our children in need of streamlined adoption processes, equal opportunities for education, and safe homes and families in which they can grow and thrive. 

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 May 23rd
May 27th, 2022

As we observe Memorial Day each year, it’s imperative to reflect upon the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who have given their lives in service of our country. While some Americans see Memorial Day as a three-day weekend spent camping, barbecuing, and going outside, we all need to remember the importance of this holiday. Memorial Day is to honor and extend gratitude to the men and women who died serving our country.

Every Memorial Day, I’m reminded of a verse from the Bible, John 15:13, which reads: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Indeed, the brave men and women we honor on this important holiday paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, and for that, we are all forever grateful.

So many of our neighbors in District One either are a member of the armed forces or have a family member or friend in the military. Some of these neighbors have loved ones that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country or have lost friends during their service. Memorial Day is the perfect time to say an extra prayer for those around us that might be struggling during this time.

Around 1.4 million members of our military have died since the Civil War.  That number is just slightly less than our state’s population. These soldiers were our sons, our daughters, our husbands or wives, grandparents, parents, and our friends. These soldiers were members of our communities and are missed. The grief that comes with this loss will never be forgotten. 

Memorial Day weekend is a time that many of us spend with friends and family, hosting barbeques and visiting cemeteries. We cannot forget the true meaning of this special day and may we never forget the freedoms we enjoy because of those soldiers who have died fighting for their country. There are many ways that we can honor the lost, from local events hosted across District 1 to a simple moment of prayer. The brave men and women that we recognize annually on Memorial Day are ultimate heroes, and I pray for their families and friends that they may find comfort knowing their loved one’s passing is a result of the utmost act of selflessness.  

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

 

We have one more day until the 107th Legislature, Second Session, ends. Through the late nights, the long weeks, and feisty legislative debates, the past sixty days flew by and we can claim many wins for District 1.

First, we passed my bill, LB 887 which would help Peru State College. Before the passage of LB 887, Peru State was the only state college limited to two different graduate programs. It did not make sense that PSC had to come to the Legislature for the approval of new programs. Now, Peru State will be able to have the flexibility they need to offer more degree programs and better serve the needs of Southeast Nebraska.

Next, LB 977 passed, appropriating $15 million dollars to Falls City to expand and strengthen its electrical grid. The electrical grid in Falls City has kept away many potential development prospects over the past couple of years and has hurt residents in the city. By investing this money into Falls City, we will be able to bring more businesses to the area, creating jobs and strengthening the economy of District 1.

In our annual budget, we allocated $5 million dollars to repair the Peru Levee. The Army Corps of Engineers designated the levee in Peru as eligible for federal funding to repair the damages from the 2019 flood. However, Peru needed to put in some local funding for this project to be successful. With the funding in the budget, Peru can bring those $ 5 million dollars to the table without having to raise taxes on its residents. Also, in our ARPA budget, we appropriated $20 million dollars to replace ambulances in rural areas. This will greatly benefit our volunteer EMTs and paramedics as they do their work to keep our communities healthy.

Finally, the Legislature passed LB 1241, which would help out rural law enforcement agencies statewide. This bill would remove the monotonous reciprocity program that out-of-state law enforcement officers must attend and replace it with a monthly reciprocity test. With this change, agencies will be able to get out-of-state officers employed more quickly. LB 1241 also included Senator Clement’s bill, LB 1270, which would adopt the Law Enforcement Attraction and Retention Act. LB 1270 would give cash bonuses to law enforcement officers in smaller agencies, which would give officers $1,500 dollars for staying with a smaller agency for one year, $2,500 dollars for staying for three years, and end at a $3,000 dollar bonus for five years of service. Although LB 1241 is a good start, there is still much to be done to help our rural law enforcement agencies and I plan on continuing my work supporting our men and women in blue.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be highlighting some of the big wins and losses that we experienced this year. Much got done this session, but there is much more to do next year.

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

Tax Relief Passes
April 8th, 2022

A couple of weeks ago, I provided an update LB 825, a tax relief bill that failed to get the necessary votes to break a filibuster. This week, the story is quite different. The same $1 billion structural tax relief package (focused on addressing our income, property, and Social Security taxes)  passed through the final round of debate this past Thursday!

First, LB 873 will lower our state’s highest individual income tax bracket rate by 1% over the course of three tax years. As mentioned a few weeks ago, most Nebraskans fall into our state’s highest tax bracket, since the threshold is only $29,000/year if you are filing single and $58,000/year if you are filing jointly. This cut will save Nebraska taxpayers over $340 million dollars each year when fully implemented.

Next, LB 873 will decrease our state’s corporate income tax rate on income in excess of $100,000 dollars by 1.41% over the next four tax years. This will put our corporate income tax rate in-line with our individual rate, which will encourage Nebraskans to start businesses in our state and attract businesses to our area. This provision will give over $415 million dollars back to our taxpayers by tax year 2026.

LB 873 also makes a number of changes to address our high property taxes. This bill creates a new income tax credit for community college property taxes, putting $195 million dollars in that income tax credit fund in tax year 2026. Also, LB 873 will set a floor for the Property Tax Credit Fund at $548 million dollars. Both of these funds, when their minimum is reached, will then continue to grow by 5% annually to provide long-term tax relief.

Finally, LB 873 completely exempts Social Security income from state taxes. Although it was the intent of the Legislature to phase out this tax by 2030, this bill will accelerate that timeline by five years, saving our retirees over $73 million dollars in tax year 2027. Because of LB 873, we have the opportunity to leave taxing Social Security payments in the past and join the 37 other states that exempt these payments.

All in all, in tax year 2026, this package totals $1.5 billion dollars in tax cuts for hardworking Nebraskans. And, although LB 873 does not go far enough for people to consider Nebraska a “low-tax” state, it is a strong start.

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.

Happy Spring, District One! We are less than one month away from the end of our legislative session, and the Legislature is starting to make a move on some pretty big bills. At the end of this week, we discussed and passed by priority bill on first round, LB 977, that would appropriate $15 million dollars to Falls City for them to secure redundant and resilient access to power.

Falls City has almost everything going for it to make it the perfect site to grow Nebraska’s economy—a ready site with access to rail, gas, fast broadband, and a large workforce within commuting distance.  In fact, it has a higher population within 100 miles than anywhere else in the state. The one thing they are missing there is access to the electrical capacity needed to grow.  

I have been working with Falls City Economic Development and Growth Enterprise (or EDGE), which has proactively secured options on more than 1000 acres of land situated next to both the BNSF and Union Pacific rail lines. The site is flanked by a natural gas pipeline and U.S. Highway 73.

Unfortunately, this site continues to lose out on potential development prospects because of our inability to secure redundant and resilient access to power.  

Not only is there no excess power to offer to a potential, transformative project, but, most concerning to me, the continuity of the electrical service they do have within the community is also challenged. Falls City has experienced numerous outages that affect the day-to-day lives of our citizens and businesses. In fact, the power went off during a recent girl’s high school district basketball game.

Without upgrades to our electrical infrastructure, there can be no growth. Falls City checks all the boxes for many potential game-changing projects, or could even serve as the location for our state’s first mega site– except they need access to electricity, and, frustratingly, they don’t have that. So they can’t compete, and they can’t grow.

As amended, LB 977 would use $15 million from the Cash Reserve Fund and transfer the money to the Site and Building Development Fund for expanding electrical system capacities and enhancing redundancy and resilience which is greatly needed. 

Because of the location of Falls City as a gateway to Nebraska, this infusion of dollars to District One will not only transform a community, but it will transform our whole state. I am ecstatic that LB 977 passed through the first round of debate, and I am excited to get this bill passed this year.

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.

We ended this week by taking up one of the most important bills that we will discuss this session– LB 825– a bipartisan compromise that would have been the biggest structural tax relief bill in Nebraska history. We came up one vote short of breaking a filibuster with 32 votes- but the proposal may come up in other bills before the end of session. This legislation would be pivotal in providing structural Social Security, Income, and Property Tax relief.

Originally, LB 825, introduced by Senator Lindstrom, would have simply exempted Social Security from state taxes. Last year, our Legislature passed a bill with the intent to phase out these burdensome taxes by the year 2030. With the passage of LB 825, the state would have shortened this window, and Social Security taxes would have been a thing of the past starting in 2025. We are currently only one of twelve states that still tax Social Security payments, making Nebraska an unattractive option for retirees.

Although LB 825 was originally intended to only eliminate our state’s Social Security tax, AM 2514 was brought to add other sustainable and much-needed tax cuts. The first of these is reducing the top individual income tax rate from 6.84% to 5.84%. Single Nebraskans only have to make $29,000/year to be considered in the highest tax bracket in our state, and married couples only have to make $58 000. Thus, most of our state falls into this highest bracket and needs relief.

LB 825 as amended by AM 2514 also would have given much-needed extra relief to the property taxpayers across our state. Under this legislation, we would have created a new refundable income tax credit for community college property taxes paid. Our current Property Tax Credit Fund only applies to the property taxes Nebraskans pay to public school districts. By expanding this fund to community college property taxes paid, we would have broadened where these income tax credits go and given more money back to our hardworking families.

Finally, AM 2514 would have incorporated a provision from another bill that sets the minimum level of the LB 1107 refundable income tax credit. In 2023, this amendment would have set the base level of the tax credit fund at $560,700,000 dollars. From there, the fund would have grown annually at the allowable growth percentage (which is based on inflation). 

During the debate on LB 825, we heard story after story of Nebraskans leaving our state because of our tax structure. Unfortunately, seventeen senators (solely from urban areas) decided that giving social security, income, and property tax relief to Nebraskans wasn’t worth the effort and couldn’t even be bothered to vote on the bill. Although extremely disappointing and a slap in the face to all Nebraska taxpayers, we will keep fighting until we get substantial tax relief and reform for our neighbors. The debate over LB 825, and the tax relief contained therein, is far from closed for this session. Stay tuned.

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.

Budget Week
March 17th, 2022

This week, we began to discuss our state budget adjustments for the year, which are contained in three bills: LB1011, LB1012, and LB1013. Although the entire budget is too comprehensive and complex to discuss in one column, I would like to highlight some of the allocations that will directly benefit Southeast Nebraska.

First, this year’s budget adjustments will transfer $30 million to the Rural Workforce Housing Fund. This fund was first enacted in 2018 as part of the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act and provides competitive matching grants to non-profit development organizations that administer workforce housing investment funds. The funds are invested into eligible projects that increase the supply and reduce the costs of workforce housing in Nebraska’s rural communities. Housing is scarce in rural Nebraska, and this record investment will pay dividends for Southeast Nebraska.

The proposed budget also includes a cash fund appropriation of $5 million to assist the Peru levee repair, which was destroyed in the 2019 floods. Since then, the Army Corps of Engineers has designated the Peru levee eligible for federal funding to repair the damages, but Peru needs to have local funding available upfront for this project. If this budget passes, it will help Peru to qualify for federal funds to help restore the levee and protect it from any future floods.

Finally, the budget includes significant salary increases for a variety of health care and social services-related jobs. Specifically, a total of $26 million dollars would be allocated to allow for a nursing facility provider rate increase of approximately 16%. A recent study of Nebraska nursing facility rates showed that an extra $126.9 million dollars would be needed for nursing facilities to offer competitive wages. This budget will fill in around 50% of the funding gap. Although this budget will not fill in the wage gap entirely, it will greatly benefit our nursing facilities in District 1, including Ambassador Health in Nebraska City. Our office received many calls in support of this increase, as it is long overdue. 

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.

We are two-thirds of the way through our short session. The rest of the session is going to fly by, and we are all eager to get legislation passed that helps our districts and all Nebraskans.

My priority bill, LB 977, is a historic infrastructure investment for District 1. This bill would invest $15 million to Falls City for an upgrade to their electrical grid. Falls City has missed out on many economic opportunities because of its electrical grid, and many residents have had frequent power outages. During the pandemic, when everyone was at home, this issue only worsened. By investing in this upgrade, we will add redundancy and reliability for Falls City’s electrical system and provide the infrastructure necessary to draw new businesses to Richardson County. This will create countless job opportunities for our District 1 residents, and strengthen our economy. 

This week, LB 977 was advanced unanimously out of the Appropriations Committee and placed on the floor for General File. I am eager to keep working on this bill until it gets across the finish line. Our district deserves the same access to reliable, growth-oriented infrastructure as our large cities.

LB 887, my bill to expand Peru State’s master’s degree offerings, advanced to final reading without objection. The Appropriations Committee-approved budget also included $5 million to repair Peru’s levee, still damaged from the 2019 floods. This has been a very strong session in the Legislature for Southeast Nebraska.

The biggest news from our Legislature this week relates to our gun rights. Sen. Brewer’s Constitutional Carry bill, LB 773, faced an eight-hour filibuster from Thursday to Friday. On Friday morning, LB 773 received 33 votes to advance to the second round of debate. Once LB 773 received the necessary 33 votes to end the filibuster, three senators- Blood, Day, and McCollister- switched their votes from “Present, Not Voting” or “No” to “Yes.”

Fortunately, enough senators support our Second Amendment right to bear arms and voted to end the filibuster. We have a long few weeks in front of us, but I promise to you that I will continue advocating for our district and working to grow the Good Life in Southeast Nebraska.

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.

Full Speed Ahead
March 7th, 2022

This week marked the last week of hearings for the 107th Legislature. Next week, we will begin full-day floor debates. Previously, during hearing days, we had floor debates in the mornings and hearings in the afternoon. This column will highlight four of my bills that advanced this week during morning debate.

First, the Legislature debated and advanced LB 887 on Tuesday. This bill would authorize Peru State to offer more graduate programs, along with making minor changes to the Nebraska State College System statutes. Peru State College is the only state college or university that must come to the Legislature for approval of new advanced degree programs. It is high time that Peru State gets the flexibility to offer more degree programs so they can better serve the needs of Southeast Nebraska. LB 887 advanced on a 37-0 vote to the second-round debate.

Last year, I introduced LB 204, which would add sex trafficking and sex trafficking of a minor to the Sex Offender Registry. This is a common-sense bill that would allow Nebraska to treat sex trafficking the same as we treat other sex crimes. LB 204 was amended into Senator Pansing Brooks’s LB 1246 on Wednesday and the bill passed with a 41-0 vote. It is also onto the second round of debate.

Finally, the Legislature advanced two of my bills, LB 846 and LB 1017 on Thursday. LB 846 would allow a bank board of directors to submit its annual audit to the Department of Banking within 120 days after the end of the calendar year. The current requirement is 90 days. This bill was recommended to me by several banks in District 1. LB 1017 would authorize a trustee to pay or reimburse a settlor for income tax liability that arises as a result of income earned on assets held in trust. These two bills were part of a larger banking package of bills, LB 707, which passed on a 36-0 vote.

The rest of session will fly by, considering there are only 24 more legislative days left. Starting next week, we will go into full-day floor debate, with evening debates starting in two weeks and covering issues from Constitutional Carry to providing more property tax relief. 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

 

Sen. Julie Slama

District 1
Room 11th Floor
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2733
Email: jslama@leg.ne.gov
Search Senator Page:
Topics
Archives
Committee Assignments
    Banking Commerce and Insurance
    Executive Board
    Judiciary
    Nebraska Retirement Systems
    Reference
Search Current Bills
Search Laws
Live Video Streaming
View video streamView live streams of floor activity and public hearings

Streaming video provided by Nebraska Public Media

Find Your Senator