NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Sen. 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

Week of February 27th
March 9th, 2020

We will be taking a closer look at some of the mechanics for the remainder of the short session. This past week, we started full-day debate. At this point of the legislative calendar, debate begins at 9:00 AM each morning and adjourns around 5:00 PM. Late night debate will begin next week. The Legislature can go as late as 11:59 PM during late night debate.

We are over halfway through the 60 day session and have the most important issues of the session still to come on the floor, including property tax relief. On Day 40, which is expected to be March 12, we will discuss biennium budget adjustments. The current budget, set in 2019, continues through the end of this year, but state spending will be adjusted to reflect the surplus of revenues beyond the original budget. The budget adjustments have to be passed by Day 50 of the short session, which is currently scheduled for April 1.

There is no “consent calendar” legislation during the short session of a biennium. The consent calendar is a list of bills, which are typically apolitical cleanup legislation, that had no opposition in the committee hearing and advanced to the floor unanimously. Consent calendar streamlines passage by allotting 15 minutes of debate for each bill. 

Without a consent calendar this year, many of these noncontroversial cleanup bills are assembled into “Christmas tree” bills. This means that there is one “vehicle” bill with several bills amended into it that advanced from the same committee. Time in this session is extremely limited, and dozens of necessary bills would not advance without Christmas tree bills or the consent calendar. For example, this past week the Legislature advanced LB 881, which was a Christmas tree bill from the Judiciary Committee. LB 881 included ten other bills, many of which would have been included on the consent calendar if it had been available this year. Christmas tree bills generally average around four bills, but there is no official limit to the number of bills advancing from the same committee which can be included. 

Priority bills are also very important during a short session. The Speaker of the Legislature schedules all priority bills before any non-priority bill. Each Senator can designate one bill as his or her priority bill. It does not have to be one they introduced. Each committee gets to have two priority bills and the Speaker can have 25 that he prioritizes. In total, over 100 priority bills are allowed a pass to the front of the legislative line for floor debate ahead of non-priority bills.

Several strong bills advanced past the first round of debate last week. LB 755 advanced, permitting barbers and cosmetologists to provide their services to clients who are homebound. It also contained LB 825, which will add Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to Nebraska’s newborn screening panel. SMA is a disease which, if caught in early infancy, can be relatively harmless. If not caught in its early stages, the consequences can be fatal. LB 755 represents a solid combination of a rollback in excessive government regulation and the addition of a test to Nebraska’s newborn screening panel that will save lives. LB 965 was also advanced. This bill would establish a language assessment program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. LB 839 was amended into LB 965, which recognizes American Sign Language (ASL) as an official language of our state and permits schools to offer ASL courses to count towards world language credits. These bills all advanced with my support.

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 February 24th
March 9th, 2020

Committee hearings are officially over for this biennium, and we will now move to full-day debate for the rest of the session. Thank you, once again, to everyone who took the time to testify in committee hearings this session. Your voices are always appreciated in the important debates we undertake at the Capitol. This week’s column features some exciting news from the floor of the Legislature. LR 288, my priority resolution for this session demanding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers make flood control their top priority in their management of the Missouri River, passed 43-1 and will be delivered to our federal delegation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in the Pentagon.

LR 288 calls on Congress and the Corps to make flood control the top priority for the management of water systems under their authority in the Missouri River Mainstream Reservoir System Water Control Manual. Last year, a majority of flooding after the bomb cyclone did not come from local rainfall or snowmelt, but instead from water being released from dams upstream, such as Gavins Point. While releases from the dam are necessary to maintain water flow and dam integrity, the Corps of Engineers needs to be proactive in gradually releasing water flow early to lower impacts on residential areas and agricultural lands downstream. Infrastructure damages from the 2019 flooding are estimated into the billions, and while state and federal funds will help to offset this cost, the time it will take to fully repair our roads, bridges, and dams will continue to disrupt traffic and shipping, and the flooding damages to agricultural lands and equipment will have long-ranging economic impacts on the state of Nebraska.

We have a duty as members of the Legislature to not only assist in repairing the damages from last year, but also seek measures to prevent flooding on this scale from becoming a yearly occurrence. Stories of struggle, hardship, and heroism were abundant during the aftermath of last year’s flooding, and we owe it to those who advocated for themselves and in support of long-term changes within the Corps for LR 288’s clear message that enough is enough. It’s my honor to stand with every person who has suffered as a result of the major flooding of the last decade to demand that the Corps prioritize flood control and update their levee standards for the first time in decades. My introduction for LR 288, which summarizes the experiences of those in our region during the floods, can be found on my Facebook page. The passage of LR 288 is a victory for all Nebraskans and is the first step towards a better approach for regulating flood waters on the Missouri River. To everyone who has reached out to my office in support of this change, please know that I hear you loud and clear; rest assured, the entire Nebraska Legislature hears you now, as well.

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 February 17th
February 24th, 2020

The final week of committee hearings has begun, and by February 27th, all 1,221 bills introduced in this biennium will have had its public hearing with the appropriate committee. What this means for the Unicameral is that full day debate will begin next March 3rd, allowing more time for floor discussion on the most important bills of the session. This week’s column will focus on LB 814, Senator Geist’s priority bill that bans dismemberment abortions in Nebraska.

The purpose of LB 814 is to end the practice of dismemberment abortions in the state of Nebraska, as well as to explicitly define what a dismemberment abortion is under Nebraska law. LB 814 defines a dismemberment abortion as any abortion in which, with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, a person purposely dismembers the body of a living unborn child and extracts him or her one piece at a time through the uterus through the use of any tool that slices, crushes, or grasps a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off. The current bill does not include suction under this definition, and exempts cases where the unborn child is already dead. By having a clear and detailed definition, this makes the law easier to enforce through a better understanding of the process and effects of the procedure.

What this bill also does is direct any legal issues at the physician performing the procedure, not the women. This also excludes nurses, secretaries, receptionists, and other non-physicians from liabilities if a dismemberment abortion is performed. Women, or their parents if they are underage, can also file for injunctive relief against any person who performs a dismemberment abortion. There are also protections in the bill for women to avoid bearing attorney’s fees, as long as their case is brought in good faith. Finally, women have the right to ask that their anonymity be preserved during any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding or action taken based on this act, with the court ruling whether or not their anonymity shall be disclosed if she does not give consent to public disclosure. 

Regardless of your stance on abortion, I think that we can all agree that ripping a living baby limb-by-limb from the womb is abhorrent. I support LB 814 and am proud to stand in support of pro-life legislation.

On a final note, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who has given public testimony at any point during this year’s session. Government is meant to work for the people, and that is easiest when the people are directly involved and let their voices be heard. We have had many bills in committee this session that could change the way Nebraskans live, so regardless of whether you have spoken out in support or opposition of a bill, I thank you for taking part in our process.

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 February 10th
February 20th, 2020

LB 1208 and LB 131

The last two weeks of committee hearings are upon us, which means that late night debate is just around the corner. The 482 total bills introduced this session will have each had a public hearing by February 27. The focus of the column this week will be two bills which originated in the Judiciary Committee that would potentially compromise the safety of our corrections officers and our communities. This past week, we heard testimony on LB 1208 which relates to restrictive housing, immediate segregation, discipline, and other conditions of confinement in state correctional facilities. 

 “Restrictive housing” is a term used within the Nebraska Department of Corrections when an inmate is moved from the general population to a more restricted setting with less contact with other inmates and less time spent outside the cell, typically due to attempted assaults on staff or other inmates. LB 1208 placed limitations on Department of Corrections’ use of restrictive housing with our most dangerous inmates, setting caps for the amount of days an inmate could spend in restrive housing and setting a minimum number of hours to be spent outside the cell each day.

Many leaders in corrections opposed this bill during public hearing because it would compromise the safety of staff and of the prisons as a whole. Dozens of staff members at TSCI reached out to my office, as well, to share their concerns with a bill that prioritized inmate comfort over staff safety. 

According to the hearing testimony of the Director of the Nebraska Department of Corrections, Scott Frakes, Nebraska was 2nd in the nation for the percentage of inmates held in restrictive housing in 2015. Of the 5,162 people incarcerated in NDCS, 685 were in restrictive housing, with 173 of those held in “administrative segregation”.  Over 45% of the people who are considered for placement in immediate segregation instead go to an alternative, less restrictive setting. The Department of Corrections has lowered the number of inmates in restrictive housing since that time by 60%, with a mere 273 inmates in restrictive housing today. Director Frakes also shared that LB 1208 would decrease prison safety and has the potential to increase risks to staff, inmates, visitors and the public at large. LB 1208 represents an initiative that would work only in a hypothetical world with unlimited resources for building facilities up to the most modern standards possible and the ability to double our staffing numbers at correctional facilities across the state. I oppose the bill because we must legislate based on current conditions, and those current conditions paired with the mandates of LB 1208 would put staff in danger.

Another corrections bill that is a carry-over from last session is LB 131. This bill, which I oppose, would allow dangerous felons back into our communities before the originally-scheduled completion date of their minimum sentence. The amended bill, which passed through committee with me as the only vote in opposition, would restructure sentencing to make felons eligible for release, in some cases after serving only a quarter of their original minimum sentence. In the first round of floor debate on this bill, it was shared that LB 131 was meant to address the prison overcrowding crisis in Nebraska. For me, releasing felons who have been convicted of heinous crimes such as sexual assault of a child, manslaughter, repeat DUIs, kidnapping, attempted murder, drug trafficking and human trafficking is far too high a price to pay for the potential of lowering our states incarceration rate by a few dozen people. I oppose this bill, and will continue to do so on the 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.

Week of February 3rd
February 20th, 2020

LB788 & LB900

Another busy week of hearings and debate has passed at the Unicameral, and as with every week it is my priority to keep everyone in District 1 informed on key legislation at the Capitol. This past week, two of my bills that will cut out unnecessary red tape and improve government efficiency were heard in committee. LB 788 and LB 790 will both assist in the goal of making the government work more efficiently and work more for the people.

LB 788 would amend the due date for the annual Worker Training Board Report from the start of the fiscal year (July 1) to the end of the calendar year (December 31). This report is submitted yearly to the Governor and details the activities of the program financed by the Nebraska Training and Support cash fund. The bill additionally makes it easier on contractors to become registered by amending the application fee away from a set fee of $40, and replacing it with a flexible fee of up to $40. LB788 will also cut back at unnecessary red tape by repealing three laws. First, the Employee Agency Laws states that no person, firm or corporation in this state shall open, operate, or maintain a private employment agency for hire or help without first obtaining a license from the Commissioner of Labor. We used a completely different employment model than we did when this bill passed in 1921, and only two Private Employment Agencies are currently licensed in the state. It is unlikely that either actually meets the requirement of the law, and it is unknown why either is even registered. Second, the Service Letter Law states that an employee of any public service corporation or a contractor who works for one may request upon discharge or voluntary quitting a service letter from the employer  including the service rendered by the employee, the duration of employment and the cause of discharge or quitting. Repeal of this law is being sought as it is redundant, because most information included in this law must already be provided for unemployment purposes. Finally, the High Voltage Law states that before any operations are to be performed within ten feet of any overhead high voltage conductors, or whenever any equipment in transit can come within four feet of any high voltage conductors, those responsible for the work done or moving of equipment shall be responsible for compliance with the law. Such person or persons shall notify the operator of the conductors and the Commissioner of Labor on forms detailing the time, place, duration, and nature of the work, as well as precautions taken against accidental contact. Neither the department nor OSHA has a record of receiving notification because of this law in the past ten years.

LB 790 is a bill that I introduced that authorizes the Department of Administrative Services to use group contracts entered into with political subdivisions of other states, and also authorizes the State Purchasing Bureau to take the lead in negotiating when collaborating with other government entities. Nebraska is currently a member of the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO), which is a non-profit focused on helping its members achieve success as public procurement leaders in their states. Currently, NASPO is made up of the central procurement offices in all fifty states, plus the District of Columbia and the territories of the United States. As a member, Nebraska has the ability to purchase off of and negotiate with Nebraska subdivisions such as cities for goods and services. This bill would allow the state of Nebraska to enter into similar contracts with subdivisions of other states for technology and other interests. As a member of NASPO, states can be designated as “lead states” for contract negotiation purposes, which can lead to lower prices of goods and more rebates for Nebraska as a lead state. However, under current statutes Nebraska cannot be named a lead state and LB 790 would change that. There are currently 23 states that are leading at least one project and another 13 states are leading more than one project. Passing LB 790 would be extremely beneficial to Nebraska, and gives the state another tool to negotiate and purchase products and give more opportunities for lower costs.

Both bills will improve the state of Nebraska, and both are beneficial for increasing government efficiency. LB 788 will make it easier for contractors to gain certification with the state and cut out unnecessary or outdated practices. LB 790 improves the State’s ability to cooperate with other states while gaining additional cost savings.

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 January 27th
February 20th, 2020

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Next week, LR 288 will have its public hearing. For the first time in Nebraska’s history, members of the public will have the opportunity to publicly express their concerns regarding the Missouri River’s management by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before the Nebraska Legislature. Some of you may have seen the statement posted to my Facebook page on Sunday, January 27. For those of you who did not, my concerns about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mismanagement of the Missouri River are outlined below.

From 2011 onwards, our region of Southeast Nebraska, Northwest Missouri, and Southwest Iowa have experienced several major floods. For example, the town of Hamburg, Iowa, has experienced three “100-year” floods in the last decade.  This is due to a number of factors, including poorly-timed releases from dams in the Upper Basin of the Missouri Rivers, outdated levee standards that largely have not been overhauled in 80 years to reflect modern runoff trends, and a failure by the Corps to adequately lobby for the changes it has deemed necessary since the 1993 floods. 

There has recently been an agreement announced between the governors of Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas to split the cost of a study with the Corps on how we can prevent future flooding. This should not be necessary. The Corps has had decades to address flooding and now surrounding states are forced to use our tax dollars to pressure a federal agency to do its job.

This “study” will take around three years to complete and several more years after that to implement. It is designed to collect data which the Corps should already have. Moreover, conclusions from this study will likely lead to the exact same recommendations that have been unsuccessfully supported by the Corps for nearly three decades. 

My Facebook post made it up the chain of command with the Corps, and Major General Scott Spellmon, the Deputy Commanding General of the Civil and Emergency Response Projects and nominee to be the next national Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, gave me a call last week to discuss my concerns. However, my position on the Corps’ failure to take actions to mitigate flooding along the Missouri River remain unchanged.

My resolution, LR 288, intends to send the message to Congress and the Crops to reprioritize flood control on the Missouri River. LR 288 is set to have a public hearing on Wednesday, February 5th in the Natural Resource Committee. If passed by the Nebraska Legislature, this resolution will be a public condemnation of the Corps inaction and will be delivered to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Pentagon and Nebraska’s federal delegation.

In addition to LR 288, my office continues to lobby the federal government for adequate flood recovery resources and adoption of proactive measures to mitigate future flooding, work with my colleagues in the state government to mobilize our resources to help our area recover, and meet with local officials to assess needs and best position District 1 for the most recovery funding possible. We are not out of the woods for potential 2020 flooding, and the relationships built now will continue to benefit our area for the years of recovery left before us.

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 January 20th
February 20th, 2020

LB 58 & LB 816

We are now into the third full week of session. The first ten days have passed, so there will be no more new bill introduction for this session. There were 482 bills introduced, with six of them being mine. Hearings have also begun and will go until February 27th. Each bill will receive a public hearing just like in previous sessions. I’d invite each of you to consider testifying on bills which interest you.

Many have contacted my office asking for my opposition on LB 58 and LB 816. Rest assured, I oppose those bills and any other attacks on the Second Amendment without due process. As a concealed carry permit holder myself, I am proud to support and defend the Second Amendment.

LB 58 adopts the Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which is otherwise known as a “Red Flag Law.” This bill would allow a court to intervene in cases when a person has been accused of potentially being a threat to themselves or others. At a hearing in which the accused does not have to be present, the court can order law enforcement officers to seize the accused’s guns for up to one year. The cost of enforcement is very high. The fiscal note for this bill on the state level indicates in FY 2019-20 the cost of implementation is $415,500 and for FY 2020-21 the cost is $114,750. According to the Supreme Court, in order to implement LB 58, as introduced, work on other important Judicial Branch IT projects will be delayed. The Crime Commission has estimated that the cost of such a database would range from $400,000-$600,000 over a 2-year period of time. Moreover, our county law enforcement officials would be forced to seize and store the firearms of a person who has not been accused of a crime or given due process. This represents another unfunded mandate on our counties, who could be left to store hundreds of firearms, or destroy them if space was unavailable.

LB 816 would increase regulations on shotguns and rifles, under the guise of “suicide prevention.” This bill would mandate that information be provided to the purchaser regarding firearm safety and suicide prevention and require suicide prevention training. LB 816 includes that any sale, purchase, or transfer of a designated firearm occuring at a gun show shall be reviewed or conducted by a licensed dealer to ensure compliance with the Firearm Transfer Certification Act. There is absolutely no data to back that increased regulations on long guns makes any impact whatsoever on suicide rates. In fact, according to FBI reports, a mere 25 people have died by rifles or shotguns since 2010. The cause of death, whether it be accidental, murder, or suicide, is not noted in the statistic. This represents a mere 5% of firearm deaths in Nebraska during that period.

My role on the Judiciary Committee allows me to analyze and add my opposition on the record to bills which attack the Second Amendment, as all bills dealing with firearms are sent to that committee. This is especially handy if those bills come to the floor for full debate, as my research and preparation in committee provide a solid foundation on which to focus my floor strategy.

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 January 13th
February 20th, 2020

LB 153 & Property Tax Proposal

In the first week of debate, the Legislature considered carry-over bills from last session including a few priority bills that did not make it to the floor before we adjourned sine die. Senator Brewer’s LB 153 at the request of the Governor was one of these bills. LB 153 would allow a 50% exemption for military retirement benefit income. The bill was advanced to Select File with a 46-0 vote with 3 Excused – Not Voting. This is a fantastic step in the right direction for Nebraskans veterans. I am excited to get this across the finish line and signed by the Governor to make our state more competitive in veteran recruitment. 

The Revenue Committee on Tuesday introduced their new plan to reduce local property taxes. LB 974 will have its public hearing on January 22nd. Senator Linehan and the Revenue Committee have worked tirelessly on this bill and I am hopeful to see a positive outcome, as achieving property tax relief remains my top priority for this session.

The current proposal would increase state aid for rural schools to reduce reliance on property taxes without raising income or sales taxes or eliminate any sales tax exemptions. The current property tax credit relief fund would also remain intact. State revenue is expected to exceed the forecasts by at least $100 million every year for the next three years. 

This bill seeks to increase state aid to local schools by about $520 million over three years. It would cut down between 13% to 15% of your property tax bill. New state aid would be introduced for non-equalized rural schools based on a per-student basis. This would ensure that every school would receive state funding. This will increase state aid for more rural school districts while the larger schools will see more of a modest increase. Your property tax bill will be reduced over three years because of cuts the taxable valuation of your property paired with spending controls. For agricultural land, it will fall from 75% to 55% of actual value; for homes and commercial, it will fall from 100% to 85% of actual value. 

Six of the eight Revenue Committee members signed on as co-sponsors of this bill. Governor Ricketts has voiced his support for the “framework” of the bill. Speaker Scheer has reiterated his push for major tax proposals at the beginning of session which will allow more time for consideration rather than waiting until near the end of the 60 days. Given that the bill’s hearing is next week, my best estimate is that the bill will likely come to the floor in early February.

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 January 10th
February 20th, 2020

LB 1208 and LB 131

The last two weeks of committee hearings are upon us, which means that late night debate is just around the corner. The 482 total bills introduced this session will have each had a public hearing by February 27. The focus of the column this week will be two bills which originated in the Judiciary Committee that would potentially compromise the safety of our corrections officers and our communities. This past week, we heard testimony on LB 1208 which relates to restrictive housing, immediate segregation, discipline, and other conditions of confinement in state correctional facilities. 

 “Restrictive housing” is a term used within the Nebraska Department of Corrections when an inmate is moved from the general population to a more restricted setting with less contact with other inmates and less time spent outside the cell, typically due to attempted assaults on staff or other inmates. LB 1208 placed limitations on Department of Corrections’ use of restrictive housing with our most dangerous inmates, setting caps for the amount of days an inmate could spend in restrive housing and setting a minimum number of hours to be spent outside the cell each day.

Many leaders in corrections opposed this bill during public hearing because it would compromise the safety of staff and of the prisons as a whole. Dozens of staff members at TSCI reached out to my office, as well, to share their concerns with a bill that prioritized inmate comfort over staff safety. 

According to the hearing testimony of the Director of the Nebraska Department of Corrections, Scott Frakes, Nebraska was 2nd in the nation for the percentage of inmates held in restrictive housing in 2015. Of the 5,162 people incarcerated in NDCS, 685 were in restrictive housing, with 173 of those held in “administrative segregation”.  Over 45% of the people who are considered for placement in immediate segregation instead go to an alternative, less restrictive setting. The Department of Corrections has lowered the number of inmates in restrictive housing since that time by 60%, with a mere 273 inmates in restrictive housing today. Director Frakes also shared that LB 1208 would decrease prison safety and has the potential to increase risks to staff, inmates, visitors and the public at large. LB 1208 represents an initiative that would work only in a hypothetical world with unlimited resources for building facilities up to the most modern standards possible and the ability to double our staffing numbers at correctional facilities across the state. I oppose the bill because we must legislate based on current conditions, and those current conditions paired with the mandates of LB 1208 would put staff in danger.

Another corrections bill that is a carry-over from last session is LB 131. This bill, which I oppose, would allow dangerous felons back into our communities before the originally-scheduled completion date of their minimum sentence. The amended bill, which passed through committee with me as the only vote in opposition, would restructure sentencing to make felons eligible for release, in some cases after serving only a quarter of their original minimum sentence. In the first round of floor debate on this bill, it was shared that LB 131 was meant to address the prison overcrowding crisis in Nebraska. For me, releasing felons who have been convicted of heinous crimes such as sexual assault of a child, manslaughter, repeat DUIs, kidnapping, attempted murder, drug trafficking and human trafficking is far too high a price to pay for the potential of lowering our states incarceration rate by a few dozen people. I oppose this bill, and will continue to do so on the 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.

Week of January 6th
January 13th, 2020

The second session of the 106th Nebraska Legislature has officially begun. We are in the midst of the first ten days of session, which is the only time that Senators can introduce bills. I introduced six bills and one resolution on the first day of session. You can read all bills introduced and follow their status on the Legislature’s website. My bills for this session focus on addressing issues within our district and repealing other statutes to make our government more efficient.

LR 288 is a resolution to urge Congress and the United States Corps of Engineers to reprioritize flood control as a top priority for the management of water systems under their authority in the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System Water Control Manual. This resolution has already received bipartisan support and will be a chance for the Legislature to publicly endorse a plan to prioritize the lives and livelihoods of people downstream with improved flood control.

LB 788 pertains to the Department of Labor. This bill would change a report date from July 1 of each year to December 31 of each year, and would also change an application or renewal fee. This is a clean-up bill for the Department of Labor which repeals over a dozen statutes that are outdated and unused.

LB 789 cracks down on those who violate school bus stop signal arms. This bill would allow a school bus driver to report violators of the school bus stop arm with local law enforcement. Law enforcement could then investigate those reports and issue a citation if the investigation proves a violation has occurred. 

LB 790 is a bill introduced on behalf of the Department of Administrative Services. The bill expands the Department of Administrative Services’ negotiating powers and will save taxpayers millions in excess spending if passed.

LB 791 is a bill to expand the Livestock Animal Welfare Act. If a person is convicted of livestock abuse or neglect and the court orders such person to not own or possess a livestock animal, LB 791 adds that person could not own or possess any other animal, including pets. 

LB 792 gives our law enforcement officers another tool in their fight against methamphetamines and other hard drugs by allowing them to aggregate amounts of the drugs sold to them in sting operations to upgrade their charges. This bill combats the issue of meth dealers habitually being arrested one day, then back out on the streets the next.

LB 793 cracks down on entitlement fraud by bringing it to the same level of crime as theft. Statutes to outline the penalties for theft were updated nearly a decade ago with LB 605, but the same changes were not made for fraud to entitlement programs, like Medicaid and food stamps. This created a loophole in our statutes that needs to be closed with LB 793.

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
Phone: (402) 471-2733
Email: jslama@leg.ne.gov
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