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This past week at the legislature has been business as usual. Bills that were debated on the floor didn’t receive much ire as the majority were “clean-up” bills or pieces of legislation that aren’t considered to be controversial.
Some of the more interesting pieces of legislation that were debated on the floor this past week were:
LB143: This bill, originally introduced by Senator Tom Briese and now sponsored by Senator Danielle Conrad, would provide for year-round daylight saving time. The bill failed to make the next round of debate.
LB140: This bill, introduced by Senator Tom Brandt, provides for Czexh heritage license plates. With my maiden name being Vacek and knowing a little Czech myself, I am very happy to see this piece of legislation passed and was signed by the governor on Thursday.
LB285: This bill, introduced by Senator Lynne Walz, adopts the School Community Eligibility Provision Maximization Act. The act would require highly-eligible schools and districts in Nebraska to participate in CEP (Community Eligibility Provision), adding approximately 43 school / meal sites to the program and providing nearly 12,500 students access to no-cost meals at school. The bill is now on to the second round of debate.
My priority bill, LB829 passed the first round of debate on Tuesday morning. This bill seeks to end a loophole that insurance companies use in order to get out of coverage for colonoscopy screenings. This will help to reduce waste in the healthcare system and will allow patients to not be worried about coverage with the removal of polyps or other possible harmful entities.
On Thursday, I introduced LB822 to the Health and Human Services Committee. LB822 would have the State of Nebraska join the Social Workers Licensure Compact. This interstate compact will be enacted once 7 states join the compact. Interstate compacts are an incredibly important way to address the healthcare workforce shortage we are experiencing in Nebraska. In Nebraska, 29 counties don’t even have a licensed social worker and 88 of 93 counties are experiencing a shortage of licensed behavioral health professionals.. The compact reduces the licensure application time to process if a licensed social worker relocated from a member compact state. Compact member states share a database that includes disciplinary information and any pending investigations a licensed professional may have.
LB822 will make it easier for military families and others to come work in Nebraska without having to go through the whole licensing process again. The legislation allows telehealth services to occur in any member state of the compact. The hearing went well, with no opposition to the bill. Thank you to each person that wrote online comments in support for the bill.
Thank you for being subscribed to my weekly newsletter! If you know a friend or family member that is interested in receiving this newsletter, please have them contact my staff below. If you have any questions on legislation or about the legislature, you can call my office at 402-471-2627 or email my staff below.
Legislative Aide: Alex Maycher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrative Aide: Gabriel Hinrichs, email@example.com
Friends, the legislature is doing business as usual.
Throughout the week, mornings were filled with rigorous debate, with bills making their way through the first two rounds of debate. I’d like to highlight some of the best legislation that moved on to the next round of debate:
LB16: This bill modifies the State Electrical Board with the addition of two new members. It would provide for broad reciprocal licensure for persons licensed in other states, military servicemembers, and apprentice trainees. Attorneys, certain financial and accounting professionals, engineers and architects, real estate professionals, and law enforcement officials would be excluded from some provisions of the bill. The bill would also mandate a preliminary application process for persons interested in seeking occupational licensure in Nebraska. The bill is now on to the second round of debate.
LB308: adopts the Genetic Information Privacy Act. The act safeguards the privacy, confidentiality, security, and integrity of consumer genetic data. LB308 requires express consent for the sharing, storage, and usage of consumer genetic data by direct-to-consumer genetic testing services. The bill is now on to the second round of debate.
LB184: Provides that any statements made by the child-defendant at a hearing on a motion to transfer, or any statements made by the child-defendant to a mental health professional or other expert as part of the hearing process, cannot be used against the child in any other proceedings, other than for the motion to transfer. The bill is now on to the second round of debate.
On Friday morning, the legislature held debate for LB541. The legislation allows elections for public power to become partisan. An amendment added on specifically targeted MUD and OPPD. I’m very much against legislation like this that pushes for further partisanship in our electoral system. Senator Lowe claimed that when a voter sees a D or an R attached to the person’s name that they can make an immediate judgement about who the voter sides with more. This is an incredibly reductionist take that doesn’t consider the importance of policy beliefs. Our partisan system as of now is failing to deliver adequate results for the voters of ALL states. The bill received enough votes to move on to the second round of debate unfortunately. I’ll continue to support non-partisan elections as I believe that voters deserve far better out of their politics.
State of the Judiciary Address
On Thursday the 25th, Chief Justice Mike Heavican gave the State of the Judiciary address with the other members of the Nebraska Supreme Court present. Chief Justice Heavican laid out what the Judicial branch has done to improve its staffing shortage. Heavican said, “I am happy to report that while we still have more than 100 vacancies statewide out of over 1,600 employees, we now exceed pre-pandemic staffing levels.” Due to the legislature increasing salaries in the judiciary branch, we have a judiciary that’s competitive in wages compared to other states. Chief Heavican discussed how important it is for Nebraska to continue to expand opportunities for probation, talking about how it saves Nebraskan’s tax dollars by claiming, “The average cost of incarceration in Nebraska is $41,000 per person per year, compared to the average cost of probation, which is $3,500 per person per year. Probation is the taxpayers’ friend.”
Chief Justice Heavican continued to discuss new developments within the court system, specifically problem-solving courts. These type of courts help for individuals to avoid jail time or prison time by having individuals that were found guilty of misdemeanors and lesser crimes to go through intensive community supervision, judicial interaction and rehabilitation. He noted, “Only 5% of individuals eligible for problem-solving courts in Nebraska are being served. With the correct infrastructure in place, problem-solving courts are positioned to be an ongoing and viable alternative to prison.” Chief Heavican proudly discussed the improvements with Language Access with Trial Court Services. This services isn’t just for different languages, but also helps those that are deaf or experience issues with communication. Overall, I believe the judiciary branch continues to see improvements each year, and we as legislators should continue to work with the judiciary to improve this branch of government.
Thank you for reading my weekly newsletter. If you have any questions about legislation or about state agencies, feel free to call my office at 402-471-2627. You can also contact my staff below. Have a great weekend!
Alex, Legislative Aide: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriel: Administrative Aide: email@example.com
Friends, last week and the majority of this week will be made up of rules debates. The structure of debate in the unicameral is meant to preserve the ability for true debate to occur. Circumventing necessary debate in order to achieve an agenda that’s not favorable to the majority of Nebraskans is something that weakens the institutions ability to create meaningful legislation. Deliberation and working with people and interest groups as well is necessary in order to produce effective laws. Luckily, this week will be the last week of rules debates which means we can move on to legislation.
I’m very excited for the upcoming week’s committee hearings. Next week, I have 6 bills scheduled for a hearing.. We’re looking to have as many people as possible write online comments in support for the legislation my office has introduced. If we can get even more folks to come testify in person that’s even better. Here are the scheduled bills below.
On the 22nd, the office will introduce LB827 in the Business and Labor Committee, LB829 in the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee and LB835 in the Education Committee.
LB827 adds new regulations for child performers in the entertainment industry new requirements for child performing arts permit, department of Labor has new requirements enforcing this.
LB829 insured patients will not be subject to additional charges for any medical service associated with a colonoscopy. This includes discovery and removal of polyps, lab services and anesthesia.
LB835 Allows Nebraska to join this compact (ICSP) for licensed school psychologists that are licensed in a member state to practice in Nebraska and vice versa.
On the 24th, the office will introduce LB’s 824 and 834 in the Health and Human Services
LB824 adopts the Dentist and Dental Hygienist Compact and change provisions relating to criminal background checks
LB834 allows a temporary license for postgraduate dental student who has proof of graduation to be able to practice dentistry at an approved residence site they are enrolled at
On Friday the 26th, LB830 will be introduced in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee
LB830 establishes the state tartan of Nebraska.
In order to watch the hearings listed above, click on the link below to watch the live stream from Nebraska Public Media.
If you are interested in testifying in person for any of these bills or submitting an online comment in support of these pieces of legislation, please contact my office by calling 402-471-2627 or contact my staff through email below:
Legislative Aide: Alex, firstname.lastname@example.org
Administrative Aide, Gabriel, email@example.com
Hello my friends,
The second session of the 108th Nebraska Legislature began last Wednesday. My office worked quite a bit over the interim to make sure we had good legislation ready to introduce on day one, and that’s what we did. We introduced 15 bills on day one, with 18 bills in total and one constitutional amendment.
The first week of session flew by very quickly, as senators introduced their own bills. This week should bring about more interesting conversations on the floor as the rules debates begin.
Before you read the bills below, please keep in mind to contact my office if you’re interested in testifying in support for legislation or writing a letter of support. You can call the office by calling 402-471-2627. You can also email my staff below:
Here are some brief descriptions of each bill.
LB821 Special Needs Children and Military Families
-minimizes delays for children of active service military families to be enrolled in a new school district
-comparable services to the child are immediately in effect when they arrive as LB821 transfers their IEP or special education plan over
-with due process hearing parents fees are covered for witnesses and burden of proof is shifted to the state
LB822 Social Workers Compact
-allows Nebraska to join the social workers compact where licensed social workers in a compact member state can practice in Nebraska
LB823 PA Compact
-allows Nebraska to join the Physician Associates Compact to allow licensed PA’s of member states to practice Nebraska
-remove licensure hurdles when moving to a compact member state
LB824 Dentist/Dental Hygienists Interstate Compact
-Nebraska will become a member of dentist/dental hygienist compact where those licensed in these professions will be able to practice in a compact member state
-remove licensure hurdles when moving to a compact member state
LB825 Farmers of Color Opportunity Act
-a dollar for dollar tax break for grant organizations that give grants to farmers of color that can prove food production is their main source of income
LB826 Reduced Games and Park Passes for Veterans/Active Duty
-reduces the annual games and parks fee to $5 for active military members or veterans regardless of their state residency status
LB827-Child Labor and Entertainment
-adds new regulations for child performers in the entertainment industry
-new requirements for child performing arts permit
-Department of Labor has new requirements enforcing this
LB828 Apiary Bill
-update language to current Nebraska Apiary Act
-create Pollinator Task Force and provide certain duties for them
-establish a Nebraska Apiary registry
LB829 Colonoscopy Screenings
-insured patients will not be subject to additional charges for any medical service associated with a colonoscopy
-this includes discovery and removal of polyps, lab services and anesthesia
LB830 State Tartan
-establish the Nebraska State Tartan
LB831 Re-define Noxious Weeds
-update outdated and ineffective regulations to redefine what a noxious weed is and create an invasive species list to prevent further environmental degradation
-enforcement mechanisms include daily fine maxed out to %1500 with $100 a day
-prevents these plants being sold and planted but does not put new obligations on landowners
LB832 Juvenile Jurisdiction Military Children
-authorize acceptance of cession or retrocession of federal jurisdiction for juvenile matters
LB833 Prescription Drug Affordability Board
-creates a drug review board comprised of experts reviewing price of certain prescription drugs in the state
-Governor appoints the board members; limited to 15 prescription drugs available to review annually
LB834 Dental Residence License
-allows a temporary license for postgraduate dental student who has proof of graduation to be able to practice dentistry at an approved residence site they are enrolled at
LB835 Interstate Compact School Psychologists
-allows Nebraska to join this compact (ICSP) for licensed school psychologists that are licensed in a member state to practice in Nebraska and vice versa
LB911 Indian Child Welfare Act
-Require the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Probation Administration to make reports and collect data under the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act
LB976 Training for Judges
-Provide for an education and training program for judges and court staff specifically for child abuse and custody determinations
LB977 Military Anti-Discrimination
-Prohibit discrimination based on military or veteran status
LR275CA Ending Right to Work
-a constitutional amendment to repeal provisions prohibiting a person being denied employment because a person’s membership in a labor organization
Thank you very much for being subscribed to the newsletter. If you have any friends or family that you think would enjoy receiving this newsletter, please contact my Administrative Aide, Gabriel through his email firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll add them to the recipients list. Once again, thank you for being a subscriber and feel free to contact the office if you have any questions or concerns about legislation or if you have an issue that needs to be addressed with local or state government.
This past week was the beginning of all day debate, and it has been productive for the state. Senator Linehan’s omnibus bill, LB754 has seen the largest share of attention because an omnibus bill is a combination of multiple bills put together. Luckily, my bill LB38 is a part of this omnibus bill. LB38 will provide a tax exemption for federal annuities for Nebraska’s federal retirees. Previously LB873 provided vital tax relief on Social Security, and this year’s LB641 (included in this package) will further expand Social Security Tax Relief. However the tax relief is not equitable for Federal retirees. The debate about the overall omnibus has been good for the body. Being wrapped up in culture war debates can be exhausting for all involved and I am happy to see things start to move forward.
Inflation Reduction Act
With today being the deadline for early applications for IRA funding, it was nice to see Governor Pillen and NDEE respond to my letter that requested they take advantage of the available funding! Since it’s the early stages of obtaining funding, there are going to be more opportunities. I will continue to push that we take advantage of all available funding. Our state desperately needs to improve energy efficiency within homes. Insulation of homes would see a net decrease in the cost and usage of heating and air conditioning. We also would see a significant increase in job opportunities if we were to request as much of the IRA funding as possible with 10,000 possible new and good paying jobs. I’ll be looking at the actions of NDEE with great interest moving forward and will continue to challenge them to apply for as much available funding as possible.
Upcoming Community Events
All event flyers are posted below.
If you have any questions or concerns about legislation, please feel free to contact my office by calling 402-471-2627. You can also contact my staff directly:
Gabriel Hinrichs, Administrative Aide: email@example.com
Alex Maycher, Legislative Aide: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Carol Blood, District 3
This past week was made up of highs and lows. I wish to start this by discussing the lows of the week and what happened on the floor this past week. LB 574 had debate from Tuesday morning until 11:30 am yesterday. The cloture motion never would’ve happened if a senator wasn’t forced back to the capitol who’s recovering from sickness. Senator’s on the floor pleaded to have this bill reconsidered. I pointed out the inadequacies within the bill and how it fails to consider the ramifications such as cosmetic procedures and other medicinal practices. It also opens the state of Nebraska open to a long list of potential lawsuits. I’ll continue to fight tooth and nail for the trans youth and population of this state. This bill is about big government control and is unrelenting in its pursuit of controlling parental rights.
Yesterday, LB 9 and LB 559 were presented back-to-back in the Government, Veteran and Military Affairs committee. Dark money is a bipartisan issue. Politicians from both sides of the aisle despise dark money because the entities that create advertisements that are false can’t be corrected nor tracked. It undermines the will of the voters by giving voters factually incorrect information on candidates. LB 559 was received positively by the committee members as well. Having C-1 financial disclosure documents required for elected members of First Class cities to fill out is of great importance for the democratic values that this nation espouses. It’s an important thing for the electorate to know where people’s interests are. The bill also implements digital submissions for all C-1 one forms reducing costs and staff time and creating immediate transparency online for Nebraskans.
A Thank You
Some of you may have seen my post on Facebook about the wonderful piece of art sent to me by Andrea Tellechea, a 4th grader from my district. I wish to thank her once again. It’s now hanging up in my office.
Unicameral Youth Legislature
Another thing you may have seen on my Facebook was about the Unicameral Youth Legislature. This is a great opportunity for the youth of this state to be educated on the legislative process of the unicameral. Please notify the young people in your lives about this opportunity. You can find the information about the Unicameral Youth Legislature below.
Thank you all, it’s a honor to represent legislative district 3.
Happy Monday! This past week the legislature has seen a huge amount of time dedicated to debate on LB 753. I wish to broach upon a few other topics that need to be addressed at the legislature but also in our own communities.
As some may know, on the 3rd of March I introduced LR5. It’s a legislative resolution to ratify an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to regulation of child labor.
The resolution wasn’t brought up out of thin air. Since 2018, the United States Department of Labor has seen a 70% increase in child labor violations, including in hazardous occupations. Just recently a meatpacking facility in Grand Island, Nebraska was found to be employing 50 child laborers, some as young as 13 years of age. Many of these children worked late hours and in dangerous environments that were inappropriate and unsafe.Their childhood and their education were placed on the backburner. This bill wouldn’t eliminate the infractions by these corporations, but it would send a strong message to the rest of this nation. The first state to ratify this amendment for the first time in the past 86 years is Nebraska! We value our children and we value our own workers, that’s what this is about.
An urgent priority for my office is LB560. Time is short for Nebraska to take advantage of the $91,000,000 available to the state to ensure long-term sustainable job growth that can create prosperity for our working families; to help our families benefit from rebates on weatherization and energy-friendly appliances that result in energy savings; to support tourism by providing more car charging stations across Nebraska, and so much more. From our agricultural community to our manufacturers, this is a win for all involved and this complicated act offers funds to help both our rural and urban areas, their residents and businesses. The state of Nebraska has a deadline of March 31st to apply for the funds from the IRA with a ‘notice of intent.’
Please feel free to contact the office by calling 402-471-2627 if you have any questions about legislation or need any help with a governmental issue. Thank you all. It’s an honor to represent legislative district 3!
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