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Sen. Julie Slama

Sen. Julie Slama

District 1

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Week of April 15th
April 25th, 2019

During the most widespread and expensive natural disaster in Nebraska’s history, many voiced concern that we were not receiving the appropriate national news coverage for a catastrophe of this scale. Some assumed it was because coastal elites view us as “flyover country,” but my guess is something else was at play. Instead of looting and demanding government handouts, Nebraskans did what Nebraskans do during tough times: we pulled together. Our communities remained strong thanks to outstanding local leadership.

Local emergency managers led the charge throughout unprecedented flooding along the Missouri River this spring and will continue to do so as we move towards recovery. Their work behind the scenes deserves recognition. I’d like to take a moment to thank our emergency managers along the Missouri River and would encourage you all to do the same. In Nemaha County, Renee Crister; in Otoe County, Gregg Goebel; and in Richardson County, Brian Kirkendall have each risen to the challenge of ensuring public safety and navigating local, state, and federal agencies to keep Southeast Nebraska moving forward.

Local emergency managers are not the only ones who deserve gratitude for their work. County commissioners, mayors, city council members, and countless volunteers across District 1 have worked overtime during our harsh winter and spring to help those in need. Far smaller natural disasters have brought other parts of the United States to their knees, but when times get tough, Nebraskans get tougher. Thank you to everyone who has helped show our nation the sense of community which makes Nebraska the good life.

An administrative note before closing this week’s column- flood damage along I-29 has forced heavy traffic onto Highway 75. You have probably noticed additional police patrols, speed tracking trailers on the north and south ends of Auburn, and re-timed stop lights. My office has been in regular contact with NDOT, Nebraska State Patrol, NEMA, and FEMA to make the best of this situation. We ask for your continued patience and extra caution on Highway 75; Iowa officials estimate I-29 will be reopened in June.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:

Week of April 8th
April 17th, 2019

It’s difficult to believe that we are already in the fifteenth week of session. The Legislature is getting into the tough issues of this session, and I am encouraged at the progress we have made thus far. Last week, the Legislature found two creative solutions for flood relief in LB 512 and LB 334.

LB 512 is a bill relating to revenue and taxation. This is the Department of Revenue’s annual housekeeping bill that addresses multiple areas of tax laws. The standard cleanup bill expanded into a flood relief measure with an amendment, introduced by Senator Steve Erdman, that provided tax relief if a property is destroyed or damaged by a natural disaster between the assessment day and July 15. The owner may petition the county assessor, on a form prescribed by the Tax Commissioner, for a reassessment of the property’s value for that year. The county assessor may then file a petition on behalf of the property owner, and they will file a report of destroyed or damaged property with the reassessed value of any such property before July 20. A natural disaster may include but not limited to a fire, earthquake, flood, tornado, or any event which affects an area such that the Governor declares that area to be in a state of emergency.

LB 334 was another cleanup bill which turned into flood relief for Nebraskans. LB 334 intended to move $4 million from the Angel Investment Tax Credit Fund into other business development projects. However, thanks to an amendment presented by Senator Lou Ann Linehan and a compromise which will be finalized in the next round of debate, the funds will now go to the Governor’s emergency cash fund for flood repairs. LB 512 and LB 334, both of which I wholeheartedly support, illustrate the creative steps the Legislature is taking to help Nebraskans rebuild after our state’s costliest and most widespread natural disaster.

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:  

Week of April 1st
April 9th, 2019

Myths of Property Tax Relief

The top issue of the current legislative session is property tax relief. There’s no doubt about it: Nebraska is facing a property tax crisis. However, behind the grandiose rhetoric of “property tax relief” are a number of misconceptions, which I hope to address in this week’s column.

The state does not levy property taxes; they are levied by local authorities. As a result, the state can only take indirect measures to reign in the crisis. There have been a number of proposals raised in this session. One option is to simply raise taxes in other areas, such as adding taxes to bottled water, food, and other necessities. Some have commented that bottled water is a luxury good, which is rather tone-deaf considering several communities across the state, including Peru, are still dependent on bottled water in the aftermath of the flood.

Furthermore, this option does nothing to address the root of the property tax crisis and has been attempted twice before since the implementation of the current school funding formula, TEEOSA (Nebraska Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act ), in 1990. Results were the same on both attempts- local spending spiked with the influx of revenue, and in two years, property taxpayers were again stuck footing the same bill. Raising taxes without addressing the base of our local spending issues might be wrapped up as “property tax relief” and topped with a neat bow, but this merely kicks the can down the road. Any tax hike without spending cuts, limitations, or changes to our school funding formula is not property tax relief.

The base of our property taxes crisis lies in Nebraska’s school funding formula and unchecked local spending growth. Many rural school districts do not receive state aid through TEEOSA. School districts without state aid depend solely on local property tax revenue to fund their schools. Farmers are facing an increasing property tax burden, paired with low commodity prices and tough weather conditions. This has pushed our farmers to the breaking point, while rural schools also struggle to cover necessary expenses. Our current school funding formula fails our rural school districts, rural students, and farmers. It must be adjusted or replaced if we want to see property tax relief.

My message has been clear since taking office: I will never support raising taxes without addressing the root of our property tax crisis. We’ve tried this route twice already, and it’s failed miserably both times. I’m following the Revenue Committee’s work carefully, and expect their proposal to advance to the floor sometime in the next two weeks. When it’s released, my column will focus on the potential tax package and my opinion of the bill. Nebraskans don’t need tax hikes as false hope; we deserve sustainable solutions.

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:

Week of March 25th
April 5th, 2019

Priority Bill – LB 593

Two weeks ago, the “priority bills” for this year were selected. A priority bill means exactly that, the bill has priority status and is generally considered ahead of other bills in debate. A senator may attach their priority designation to their own bill or to another senator’s. Each senator may select one priority bill, each committee may select two priority bills, and the speaker may select up to 25 priority bills. Priority bills, if advanced from committee, are guaranteed a discussion on the floor on General File.

My priority bill in LB 593, introduced by Senator Briese. I choose this bill because it would allow Nebraskans to protect the family farm from Medicaid liens. The basis of this bill is relating to medical assistance recovery. It would change and eliminate provisions relating to medical assistance reimbursement claims and liens, it would provide for retroactivity, harmonize provisions, repeal the original sections, and come with an emergency clause. In short, this is a highly technical, but important, bill.

Federal law requires state Medicaid programs to recover certain Medicaid benefits paid. This could include an individual’s estate for nursing facility services, home, and community-based services, and related hospital and prescription drug services. They also have broad authority to determine from what assets they seek payment and if they wish to recover payments for other Medicaid services. LB 593 would repeal provisions pertaining to the recovery of Medicaid costs, which are legally unenforceable, and makes these changes retroactive.

In short, LB 593 would allow farms to be “safe” from Medicaid liens.  LB 593’s goal is to repeal provisions pertaining to the recovery of Medicaid costs, which are an unenforceable “circuitous springing” lien. Federal law prohibits liens on property while someone is alive. This is the case except in two very specific circumstances which are described in former Senator Kuehn’s LB 542. The springing lien is unenforceable and not business friendly which makes it difficult to receive an operating loan.

LB 593 also requires DHHS to take action to recover reimbursable Medicaid costs if an individual dies owing reimbursable Medicaid before a certified copy of the death certificate can be issued. This provision has slowed the insurance of death certificate, and its repeal will increase efficiency in this process.

In conclusion, LB 593 allows the family farm to be protected from Medicaid liens. Both the Nebraska Farm Bureau and Bar Association testified in favor of this bill at its public hearing. LB 593 represents a necessary protection for our farmers. I understand that this is a very complex bill, so please feel free to reach out to my office with any questions.

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:

Week of March 18th
April 5th, 2019

Flooding- What’s Next?

In early March, Nebraska was hit by the costliest natural disaster in our state’s history. Damages from the “bomb cyclone” and the subsequent flooding have already topped $1 billion. Southeast Nebraska was not spared by the Missouri River, with flooding in Peru, Brownville, Rulo, and Nebraska City.

The Missouri River shattered records in Brownville, Nebraska City, and Rulo. Meanwhile, Peru’s levee was breached in two places, flooding parts of town for the first time in generations. Piercing the darkness of this disaster has been light shown by Nebraskans in putting concern for their neighbors above themselves. As the floodwaters recede, many of you have asked, “What’s next?” and, “How can I help?” My hope is to address those questions with this week’s column.

Late last week, President Trump signed the federal disaster declaration for the state of Nebraska. This declaration qualifies Nebraska for federal disaster relief through FEMA. There are two types of assistance from FEMA – public assistance and individual assistance. Public assistance will repair damaged infrastructure, such as bridges and roads. FEMA will pay 75% and the state and local governments will each pay 12.5% of the costs. Local leaders are to contact their county emergency manager, who in turn contacts NEMA with their needs. Individual assistance is for businesses and individuals. It can be difficult to qualify for individual assistance, and Nemaha County is the only county in our district, thus far, which has qualified. There are a few things you can do to make the assistance application process a bit easier. This includes: document your losses- compile pictures and damage estimates, contact your insurance agency to help determine your eligibility, and document your income levels.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has pooled together their resources and set up new ones for those farmers and ranchers who were affected. If you are in need of hay, feed stuff, fencing materials, volunteer help, equipment, etc. – call 1-800-831-0550. If you are wanting to donate any of the above, call the same number. Notify your local FSA office of livestock losses within 30 days and document losses. The Emergency Livestock Assistance Program may financially assist with livestock feed losses, such as bales that are destroyed in the flood. The Emergency Conservation Program can provide some cost-share assistance to rehabilitate farmland and pasture damaged by natural disasters and help restore fences, contact your local FSA county office for this also.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau has also set up programs to help those in this time of need and recovery. People can donate to Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation at The Disaster Relief Fund will provide emergency aid to farmers, ranchers, and rural communities affected by storms and flooding. Apply at Farm Bureau members can seek and offer help at

Veterans who were affected by the flooding can contact your County Veteran Service Office to see if qualify for food, clothing and emergency housing.

For general assistance with home clean-up, cutting trees, removing drywall, insulation, flooding, furniture and appliances, or other physical labor-type jobs – call the Crisis Clean Up Hotline at (833)-566-2476. For assistance with food, shelter, clothing and personal goods – call 211.

Also, we may be #NebraskaStrong, but please do not be too strong to reach out for help with your mental health. There are resources available to help.

Nebraska Family Helpline- 1-888-866-8660

Nebraska Rural Response Hotline- 1-800-464-0258

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration- 1-800-985-5990Follow 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:

Week of March 4th
March 19th, 2019

Hot Topic Bills

We are now into the ninth week of session, and things are beginning to speed up in the Legislature. Many of you have contacted me about bills that have been heard recently, and I wanted to share my stance on the ones that have drawn the most attention.

LB 54 was introduced by Senator Lowe and I support it. This bill deals with changing provisions relating to carrying a concealed weapon. Thanks to a recent Nebraska court case, a person without a concealed carry permit who has lawfully purchased a gun must open carry the firearm at all times to prevent violation of our current concealed carry statutes.The main idea with LB 54 is to allow those who are transporting firearms for any lawful purpose to or from any place where such firearm may be lawfully possessed to keep their firearm unloaded and stored in a case. The case needs to be a hard-sided or soft-sided box, container, or receptacle intended or designed for the purpose of storing or transporting the firearm. The firearm can also be in the manufacturer’s original packaging. For example, if you are going or leaving a shooting range but you do not have your concealed carry, you will be able to follow the gun range’s rules of transport without being in violation of Nebraska state law. This is a common-sense bill which I support.

Another hot topic bill that I support is LB 657 that was introduced by Senator Wayne. This bill would adopt the Nebraska Hemp Act and permit our farmers to grow hemp as a crop. Hemp is defined as the cannabis plant which cannot contain more than 0.3 percent of THC. Industrial hemp cannot get a person “high”, and hemp is unsuitable for marijuana production. The 2018 Farm Bill that was recently signed by President Trump makes it clear that industrial hemp can be grown domestically as well as imported. LB 657 is supported by numerous organizations including Nebraska Farm Bureau and several farmers in our district. I support LB 657 and look forward to continuing my support of it on the floor.

Last Thursday, March 7, was the day for hearings in the Judiciary Committee for bills relating to the death penalty. The most controversial bill of the day was LB 44 (Chambers), which would eliminate the death penalty. I do not support LB 44. In 2016, Nebraskans voted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the death penalty. I will defend their decision and support the death penalty.

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:

Week of February 25th
March 19th, 2019

LB 58 & The 2nd Amendment

This week in the Legislature, the Judiciary Committee heard testimony on LB 58, which is a “Red Flag” law proposed by Senator Morfeld to remove firearms from those deemed to be a risk to themselves or others. As a proud gun owner and defender of the 2nd Amendment, I oppose this bill.

Although I believe current statutes can tie law enforcement’s hands in extreme situations, LB 58 is not a solution to their problem. LB 58 proposes the creation of Extreme Risks Protection Orders (ERPOs), which could be filed by those currently or formerly having a relationship with the person. This includes current or former spouses, children, current and former girlfriends and boyfriends, and law enforcement. The ERPO will be heard in court and a judge will determine if the order will be granted. If it is, all firearms that the person has “reasonable access” to will be confiscated for up to one year.

The court must find that there is a “preponderance of the evidence” showing that the person is a threat to themselves or others in order to grant the ERPO. This burden of proof is much easier to meet than the higher standard of “clear and convincing evidence”. In short, if the court finds that there is a 51% chance that the person poses a risk to themselves or others, their firearms would be confiscated. To be clear, the person does not need to be accused of a crime in order to have their firearms taken away under LB 58. This standard compromises due process and is far too low to confiscate an otherwise law-abiding citizens’ firearms.

There is also a question of where these confiscated firearms will be stored. A single ERPO could yield several dozen firearms, which would then be held by law enforcement for up to one year. Our facilities in District 1 simply don’t have the space or the resources available to accommodate the quantity of firearms that could be confiscated.

My greatest concern is the scope of the ERPOs. When successfully filed with the court, law enforcement may then take away any firearms that the person has “reasonable access” to. This could extend to any firearms within the person’s household. For example, if the person’s spouse has weapons in their possession, the spouse, who has done nothing wrong except for living under the same roof as the other person, could have their firearms taken away.

The 2nd Amendment is a cornerstone of our Constitution, but LB 58 treats it like an afterthought. I appreciate everyone who has contacted my office in the last few weeks to share their concerns about this bill. Rest assured, I will stand opposed to LB 58 and any other legislation that would take guns away from law-abiding citizens.

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:

Week of February 18th
March 19th, 2019

Property Tax Relief

It’s no secret: Nebraska is facing a property tax crisis. Obtaining sustainable property tax relief is my top priority in this session. Nebraska ranks 12th in property tax collections per capita according to the Tax Foundation. This session, there are a number of property tax bills seeking to relieve the property tax burden Nebraskans face. On February 14, the Revenue Committee heard three of those bills, LB 314 introduced by Senator Tom Briese, LB 497 introduced by Senator Curt Friesen, and LB 677 introduced by Senator Mike Groene.

Among the many provisions in LB 314, the bill seeks to collect internet sales taxes from sellers, both with a physical presence in Nebraska, and those without, to submit sales tax if the company has gross revenue sales exceeding $100,000, or 200 or more transactions in the state. LB 314 also seeks to raise revenue through increases in alcoholic beverage taxes and cigarette taxes. Certain items and services currently exempt from sales tax will be taxed beginning January 1, 2020. Items such as motor vehicle repair, dry cleaning, personal care services such as haircuts, massages, and tanning, and pet related services would be subject to tax, as would candy, soft drinks and water. Membership and admission fees to zoos and aquariums would lose their tax exemption under LB 314. Among the provisions that would affect businesses is a change in provisions for S Corporations and limited liability companies. A documentary tax stamp increase is also proposed in LB 314. Provisions regarding special education funding, income taxes in the TEEOSA formula, and the property tax credit cash fund are also contemplated in the bill. LB 314 has the support of many educational groups across Nebraska.

LB 497, Senator Friesen’s version of property tax relief, has some provisions similar to Senator Briese’s LB 314, but also has its own attempt at relief. Under LB 497, as in LB 314, alcohol taxes and cigarette taxes will be increased. Sales and use taxes are imposed on certain services, as well as food for home consumption. The elimination of the tax exemption for membership and admission fees is also a component of LB 497.  

Under LB 497, the School District Property Tax Authority Act will have phased in a minimum state aid guarantee over three years. This aid is to equal 50% of basic funding as determined by the TEEOSA formula. LB 497 also phases in a reduction in the value of ag land for school district purposes, and lowers the local effort rate in TEEOSA. This bill will also establish an annual maximum property tax authority for each school district, and requires a one-time credit to the state’s Cash Reserve Fund of $150 million. LB 497 has the support of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, as well as the Nebraska Agriculture Leaders Working Group.

Finally, Senator Groene has proposed LB 677. In LB 677, a reduction in the maximum levy for school districts would be imposed. School district property tax relief would be available for school systems that qualify. If school districts are receiving aid, they must decrease the amount of estimated taxes to be raised in the proposed school budget by 25% of the property tax gap for the fiscal year that the school is receiving aid. A school district is allowed to override this reduction. However, to do so, they must have ⅔ of the board members vote to do so, and the board must identify the purpose of such funds from the override and a public hearing must be held. Option enrollment relief correction is provided under LB 677. To qualify for this relief, the school district must not qualify for school district property tax relief and the net option funding for the local school system cannot be greater than 90% of the preliminary calculation of state aid.

Along with these three bills, there are also three constitutional amendments that propose property tax relief. Those constitutional amendments are LR3CA, LR5CA, and LR8CA.

In short, my opinion on each bill and constitutional amendment is the same: none of them, standing alone and without amendments, are the best options for sustainable property tax relief for Nebraskans. Many of my colleagues agree, and the Revenue Committee is working on a compromise that combines the best parts of many of the bills and amendments presented. Revenue Committee Chair, Senator Lou Ann Linehan, expects a property tax package to be advanced out of Committee by mid-April. Rest assured, your voices are heard. I will fight for long-term property tax relief on the floor of the Legislature.

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:

Week of February 11th
February 20th, 2019

Back To The Basics; How A Bill Becomes A Law

You may be familiar with the Schoolhouse Rock song explaining how a bill becomes a law on the federal level, but the process is a bit different in the Nebraska Legislature.

All legislation begins with an idea. A potential bill could be proposed to the senator by citizens, businesses, or government agencies. The senator’s staff will then draft a proposal to change a current statute or create a new one based on that idea. The proposal is then taken to bill drafters, who work in the Capitol, to transform it into the proper format.

After a few rounds of drafting, the bill is ready to be introduced on the floor. The first ten days of the legislative session are dedicated to introducing bills on the floor. The Clerk reads the title of each bill for the record. This session, there were 739 bills introduced, which is a new record.

Each bill then goes through the Fiscal Office, where they estimate the legislation’s anticipated financial impact. There are three different calculations for this process; one is by the Fiscal Office, the second is by the Governor’s Budget Office, and the third is by the impacted state agency.

After the bill’s fiscal impact has been analyzed, it is assigned to a committee by a nine-member Reference Committee. There are 14 standing committees to which bills can be assigned, ranging from Agriculture to Urban Affairs. The workload assigned to each committee can vary greatly. For example, Judiciary had 144 bills referenced to it for the current session, while Agriculture only had 21.

All 739 bills will have a public hearing where citizens have a chance to express their opinions to the committee by testifying. Each testimony is transcribed to be part of the official record. After the hearing is completed, committee members take a vote to send the bill to general file with or without amendments, indefinitely postpone the bill, or take no action. Less than half of the bills introduced will make it through this stage.

If the bill makes it out of committee, it is sent to General File. This is the first time the full Legislature can debate and vote on bills. Senators can consider amendments proposed by individual senators or by the committees. After floor debate, it takes 25 votes to adopt amendments or move a bill to the next stage. If a filibuster, which may last for as long as six hours, takes place, 33 votes are required to end discussion and force a vote.

Bills that survive the General File vote advance to Enrollment & Review, where bills are checked for technical and grammatical accuracy.

The second stage in floor debate, Select File, comes next. This step consists of another debate and the voting stage, while also allowing another opportunity for amendment. Debates in this stage are typically capped at three hours. After Select File, bills are sent back to Enrollment & Review for further corrections before Final Reading.

Final Reading is the last step before a bill is sent to the Governor’s desk. This step requires the bill to be read aloud in its entirety by the Clerk and face a final vote by the body.

Once a bill lands on the desk of the Governor, he has five days to sign or veto the bill. The Legislature can override this veto with 30 votes.

If a bill is signed by the Governor or receives enough votes to override a veto, it will become law three calendar months after the Legislature adjourns. In certain cases, the law can take effect before that date if it contains an emergency clause or a specified operative date.

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:

Week of February 4th
February 11th, 2019

In recent weeks, it’s come to light that some members of the U.S. House of Representatives cannot name the three branches of government, magnifying the shortcomings of our country’s civics education standards. The State of Nebraska has in statute three areas of assessments, Math, Science, and English, that our students are tested on throughout their school years. There are no such assessments for our civics education curriculum. When a child graduates high school, community stakeholders can rest assured that the student has met the necessary benchments in Math, Science, and English. After the pomp and circumstance of graduation fades, however, that same student will walk into a voting booth. No standards have been put into place to ensure that voter has a basic grasp on how his or her nation’s government works.

In 1949, Nebraska’s civics education expectations were codified in statute. Since then, minimal changes have been made to this statute, and it shows. Under current statute, “Americanism” Committees are charged with examining the social studies curriculum offered in a school district and making sure that curriculum is aligned with the standards established by the Nebraska Department of Education. My update to this statute, LB 399, renames the Americanism Committee to the American Civics Committee. Under LB 399, the renamed Committee will also hold a minimum of two public meetings annually, with one of those meetings open to public comment about the direction of the district’s civics curriculum.

One of the ways our students could be assessed in their knowledge of American history and civics through LB 399 is by taking the civics portion of the naturalization examination given to all future citizens. This examination would be given to students no later than eighth grade, and a second time no later than eleventh grade. Because the only persons having knowledge of a student’s score on this examination is the student’s parent or guardian, the scores in aggregate would be passed on to the Committee on American Civics, who would in turn provide a report to the school board on its findings and recommendations gained as a result of those exam scores.

The final component of LB 399 is the removal of a criminal penalty for those school districts or teachers who are not abiding by the civics education statute and moving enforcement under the Nebraska Department of Education. Yes, we currently have a statute on the books that makes failure to satisfactorily teach civics a Class III Misdemeanor, punishable by up to three months in jail. Though certain parts of LB 399 have experienced varying levels of opposition, removal of this criminal penalty has received universal support.

I am hopeful that LB 399 will be voted out of committee soon and advance to the floor, which is no small feat. It’s an honor to lead the charge for updated civics education standards in our state.

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:

Sen. Julie Slama

District 1
Room #11th Floor
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2733
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