NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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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 3rd, 2024

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

This week’s column will discuss the current situation with the Second Amendment in both our nation and our state. Although LB 77, which authorized concealed carry without a permit in Nebraska, passed last year, our state needs legislation that will continue to protect our right to bear arms and the opportunity to defend ourselves in our homes, workplaces, and motor vehicles. Several bills have been introduced this session to protect the Second Amendment for Nebraskans. This includes Senator Brewer’s LB 1339 and Senator Hardin’s LB 1269.

Senator Brewer’s LB 1339 would broaden an exemption in state law regarding who can legally carry a firearm on Nebraska school property by adding off-duty and qualified retired law enforcement officers to the current exemption. Furthermore, school districts could voluntarily establish a written policy that authorizes security personnel to carry firearms, along with the required inclusion of qualifications and training.

Senator Hardin’s LB 1269 is a “Stand Your Ground” bill that would change Nebraska’s “Duty to Retreat” when it comes to using force in self-defense or defense of others. 11 states are duty to retreat states, and in Nebraska, the duty is required when in a public place or a vehicle, but it does not apply to your home or workplace. Thirty-eight states are considered stand-your-ground states; 30 by state statute, and eight by case law. Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wyoming all have stand-your-ground laws in statute.

When the founding fathers wrote our nation’s constitution, one of the most important rights they thought to safeguard was the right to defend themselves with deadly force if necessary. Because of this, they wrote the 2nd amendment which instituted the right for Americans to bear arms. In our current culture, this right is being questioned and reinterpreted.

As a rural Nebraskan, I know how important it is to District 1 citizens to be able to defend themselves against those who wish them fatal harm whether they are in their homes, businesses or vehicles. With this in mind, I fully support both LB 1339 and LB 1269. Nebraskans everywhere deserve the right to defend themselves no matter where they are and they deserve to be protected from facing criminal charges for doing so.

I look forward to continuing to discuss these issues in the coming weeks on the legislative floor. 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.

New Beginnings
February 20th, 2024

Last week, I was driving with my two-month-old son, Win, to our legislative session for the day. Win has joined me on the floor several times in session to make sure he is getting enough time with his mom. Without his visits, the 80-hour workweeks common during this time of year would render us near strangers until April. Everything that day had gone swimmingly. Win loves spending time with his “aunts” and “grandmas” in the Legislature and I’m hoping his experiences will convince him to pursue a different profession when he’s grown- my preference is for him to be a doctor, farmer, engineer… anything but a politician.

Babies rarely follow the schedules we would like; on this particular day, Win’s morning nap turned into fussiness during afternoon committee hearings. I excused myself from the hearing, changed and fed Win, and then walked the halls of the Capitol to coax him back to sleep. He snoozed for around fifteen minutes before I mustered the courage to re-enter the hearing room. Win’s peaceful slumber turned immediately into cries once we were seated. After three more failed attempts, the committee hearing came to a close. Our drive home back to Dunbar found me coming to a realization that had been in the back of my mind since the start of this session as a new mom: trying to juggle motherhood, a law practice, and the Legislature left everyone, especially my child, shortchanged.

You may have heard already, but I will not seek re-election in 2024. It has been the honor and privilege of my lifetime to serve each of you in our Legislature, but it is time for me to pursue a new chapter as a mom and attorney in the private sector. Even with another session left to complete, we’ve had some massive wins for Southeast Nebraska. I fought for funding for Peru’s levee repair and Falls City’s electrical upgrade, modernized our approach to state incentives for business growth in rural Nebraska, helped expand degree offerings at Peru State College, secured millions to expand internet access in rural Nebraska, and worked to complete long-needed projects, like finally resurfacing Highway 50.

I’ll spend the next months offering innumerable thank you’s, but thank you- whether we’ve agreed politically or not- for opening your doors, welcoming me to your communities, and entrusting me to serve you. In January 2025, District 1 will have a new state senator. Until then- I will keep fighting the good fight for Southeast Nebraska in our Legislature.

This week, I am excited to share with you significant developments in the continued efforts to improve childcare access across Nebraska, especially in rural communities. LB 1416, which adopts the Child Care Capacity Building and Workforce Act and the Family Child Care Home Grant Program, is a critical step toward addressing the need for accessible childcare across the entire state.

Introduced by Senator Bostar, and at the request of Governor Pillen, LB 1416 looks to strengthen childcare infrastructure through two key initiatives. The Childcare Capacity Building and Workforce Act grant program is designed to provide much-needed support to childcare providers, ensuring that families across the state have access to quality childcare. By prioritizing grant recipients based on criteria such as increasing childcare capacity for younger children, supporting the childcare workforce, and addressing specific county needs, LB1416 ensures targeted and impactful investments by addressing the most pressing needs of Nebraska families. Whereas the Family Child Care Home Grant Program focuses on tailored solutions for rural communities, recognizing the needs of all communities, especially those in a “child care desert.” This program encourages the establishment and use of “micro-centers” without over-regulations, thereby offering a flexible response to the differing demands for childcare.

I support LB 1416 as is a well-crafted bill that should be part of a comprehensive solution to the childcare challenges facing Nebraska. This bill takes significant strides toward working to resolve the childcare shortage in rural Nebraska. It also acknowledges the diverse needs for childcare found throughout our state. This bill seeks to ensure that every child has and will have access to quality care, thereby fostering a stronger future for Nebraska’s rural communities and families.

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.

Springing Forward
February 7th, 2024

Every year on February 2nd, we celebrate Groundhog Day. This is an old tradition brought to us by our German settlers. Back in Germany, they turned to a badger to learn how much longer they had to wait for planting season, but once they moved to the United States, they couldn’t find the badgers they were so familiar with. However, they could find the groundhog, which they decided was similar enough to a badger that its meteorology could be trusted. Thus, Groundhog Day was born. As a state settled mostly by Germans, Nebraska has a special connection to this tradition—especially in our District 1 community of Unadilla.

Unadilla became the Groundhog Capital of Nebraska in 1988 with their beloved Unadilla Bill, a stuffed groundhog. Each year, Unadilla celebrates Groundhog Day with many festivities ending with a parade on Main Street and the crowning of Groundhog King and Queen. Though Unadilla Bill has retired after 33 years of service, he can still be visited at the Nitty Gritty Gas & Thrift Convenience Store in Unadilla. The community is now served by his successor Unadilla Billie.

This year, both Punxsutawney Phil and Unadilla Billie have predicted an early spring. Besides enjoying the warm weather, I’ve been working hard in our state legislature to ensure the residents of District 1 are represented and their needs are met. I will review a few bills that have been advancing various stages of debate.

Tuesday, LB 140 advanced to the final round of debate and awaits a final approval vote and the Governor’s signature. This bill would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to design a license plate celebrating Czech Heritage. This would be designed in consultation with the Czech Honorary Counsel of Nebraska. Due to my Czech heritage, I am particularly excited about this legislation!

LB 541 advanced from General File to Select File. In short, this bill would make public power district elections partisan. Electricity is the lifeline for businesses, schools, homes, farms, and more, powered by public power. Therefore, public power boards are one of the most critical governing bodies in the state. With such great importance, voters must be given a clear understanding of who they are voting for. I support this bill.

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.

The snow has finally stopped in District 1 and has begun to melt. Green grass is even poking out in some places! Through all of it, the Nebraska Legislature keeps moving forward. The first half of our days are used for floor debates with the second half of our days dedicated to committee hearings. But it’s not all just talk and argument, this past week we have passed about a half dozen bills along to the next round. Herein, I will highlight a few of the bills that I believe will benefit Nebraskans.

LB 308, a bill heard in the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee, advanced from General File to Select File. This bill adopts the Genetic Information Privacy Act. The act safeguards the privacy, confidentiality, security, and integrity of consumer genetic data. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing is a common practice, especially with companies such as Ancestry, 23andMe, and other genetic testing companies, gaining popularity. LB308 requires express consent for the sharing, storage, and usage of consumer genetic data by direct-to-consumer genetic testing services. This bill is critical as it ensures that the consumer is in control of their genetic data at all times.

LB 664, a bill heard in the Health and Human Services Committee, also advanced from General File to Select File. This bill allows the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of Medicaid recipients who do not reside in an institutional setting. This bill also allows the Attorney General to access the records of any resident living in a Medicaid-funded facility when investigating and prosecuting the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of that resident, regardless of whether that resident is a Medicaid recipient. Medicaid Fraud Control Units were authorized by Congress in the mid-1970s to investigate and prosecute the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of residents in Medicaid-funded facilities. This congressional mandate extends to all residents. However, contrary to federal authority, Nebraska’s statutes prohibit the Nebraska Medicaid Fraud and Patient Abuse Unit from reviewing or obtaining information concerning non-Medicaid residents in healthcare facilities without the patient’s consent or court order. This bill makes Nebraska’s statutes consistent with Congress.

LB 600, a bill heard in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, also advanced from General File to Select File. This bill expands the Economic Opportunity Program to include infrastructure improvements for smaller communities across Nebraska. This program is used to finance transportation improvements to attract business and business expansions by connecting them to the transportation network. This bill is critical to attracting private business and driving economic growth.

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.

Beginning on January 8th and continuing through to even now, southeast Nebraska has been hit with heavy snow leaving many Nebraskans stranded at home. District 1 has received about 15 inches of snow as well as low temperatures getting down to -20°! We have also seen high winds with a chill of as low as -50°.

In the past week, the Nebraska State Patrol has had a whopping total of 93 crash responses and 1828 motorist assists. Though some roads had to be closed due to drifting and high winds, the Nebraska Department of Roads has had crews working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week clearing and salting roads.

Schools in Auburn, Johnson, Tecumseh, and Nebraska City, including Peru State College, had to close their doors for almost the entire week, just after school started. However, our essential workers in law enforcement and medicine bravely and determinedly kept our hospitals open and our communities safe!

This weather has me, and all Nebraskans, grateful for our first responders, road crews, tow truck operators, and all the good samaritans who have been rescuing stranded motorists, clearing the roads, and even shoveling our sidewalks! This is what being Nebraskan is all about!

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 685094604; telephone: 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov.

This legislative session is in full swing, and we are nearly through the bill introduction period! This week, I would like to address a critical issue that touches the heart of our state’s security and prosperity – the land ownership by foreign adversaries and future initiatives to address this concern.

The surge in foreign-owned land in Nebraska, now exceeding 791,000 acres, is important and cannot be ignored. This figure represents a large portion of our state’s farm and ranch property, but also raises concerns about the use and control of our agricultural lands, thereby threatening food security. While part of this increase can be partly attributed to land leased for wind energy by companies with some foreign ownership, the underlying concern still remains – the influence of foreign entities, especially those from adversarial nations like China, Iran, and Russia, on our treasured agricultural land and resources.

The growing concern about the foreign land ownership is not merely about the amount of land, but more so about the identities and intentions of the owners. In response, watch out for new bills this session (such as Senator Hardin’s LB 1120) targeted at preserving Nebraska’s agricultural land for potential threats, particularly from entities of nations that may not share our democratic principles, or respect our sovereignty.

I am dedicated to safeguarding the integrity of our agricultural lands in a manner consistent with the welfare of Nebraska and the United States. It is of utmost urgency that we fortify our defenses against foreign influence, preserve the sanctity of our agricultural strength, and maintain the security of Nebraska and the entire nation. With this said, I will be sure to keep you informed on upcoming hot-button issues and the bills impacting Nebraskans.

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.

Session Beginnings
January 5th, 2024

January 3rd marked the first day of the 2024 legislative session. I am more eager than ever to be in Lincoln fighting for District 1. Although there have been a few new faces, including Senators, staff, and committee leadership changes, I will continue to serve as the Chairman of the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee. I will also continue serving on the Executive Board and the Natural Resources Committee.

The first item of debate on the agenda will be on proposed rule changes. The rules debate establishes the procedures and protocols for the future of the legislative session. We have had 34 rule changes introduced by various Senators. To be clear, I will NOT support a Rules Package that does not contain a public vote on committee chairs. Votes in the Nebraska Legislature shouldn’t happen in secret. This one is a no-brainer for me.

LB 575, introduced by Senator Kathleen Kauth, of which I am a proud co-sponsor, establishes the Sports and Spaces Act. The Sports and Spaces Act provides protections for single-sex spaces, such as girl’s bathrooms and changing rooms. This bill also seeks to prohibit the participation of biological males in K-12 athletics designated for biological females and would prohibit biological females from competing in interscholastic K-12 athletics designated for males, with the exception that biological females may compete in interscholastic athletics with biological males where no other opportunity to compete with biological females exists. This bill protects both the fairness and opportunity in girls’ sports and the privacy and dignity of all students.

As more issues continue to arise, remember this: Nebraska’s unique Unicameral Legislature relies heavily on the citizens of the State of Nebraska. Ensuring that members of the public have the opportunity to have their voices heard is vital to the legislative process. I will inform you of upcoming hot-button issues and bills that will impact 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.

As we embrace the spirit of Thanksgiving, it is a great time to celebrate and honor the
extraordinary members of Southeast Nebraska who have made substantial contributions to our community. Not only are the stories of commitment and service motivational, but they also serve as a testament to the strength of Nebraska.

Leslie McIntosh, an outstanding teacher at Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca Middle School, has earned the Milken Educator Award. Her innovative teaching approaches and successful projects, such as the “Summer Blast” program, demonstrate her dedication to improving student learning and community participation. I am thankful for teachers like Leslie, whose passion and creative teaching significantly improve students’ lives and build our community, exemplifying the true spirit of educational excellence.

In the world of sports, we bid farewell to Rick Janssen, an NSAA referee who retired after a distinguished 47-year career. Rick’s last game represented the end of a journey distinguished by fairness, sportsmanship, and genuine passion for the game. His long-standing commitment to refereeing has left a long-lasting imprint on the Nebraska sports community. A special thank you to Rick Janssen for his decades of dedication in sports officiating, which has left a legacy of fairness and enthusiasm that will be remembered for years to come.

I also want to recognize K9 Officer Mack’s retirement and the work of his handler, Sgt.
Christopher Richardson, from the Nebraska City Police Department. Mack is leaving around five years of valuable service and is well-known for his remarkable talents in drug detection and tracking. Sgt. Richardson’s and Mack’s relationship is a touching example of loyalty and teamwork. I am thankful for K9 Officer Mack and Sgt. Christopher Richardson for their unwavering dedication to keeping our community safe, and I wish Mack a happy and restful retirement.

As the holiday season approaches, so does the legislative session. In the coming weeks, I will begin a series highlighting the legislative process. This will shed light on how laws are crafted and passed, and the critical roles we play in shaping the future laws of our state. In the meantime, we wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday 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.

Sen. Julie Slama

District 1
Room 1117
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2733
Email: jslama@leg.ne.gov
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