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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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