NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Carol Blood

Sen. Carol Blood

District 3

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 cblood@leg.ne.gov

SINCE LAST WEEK… 

Photo Credit: Lance Corporal Vincent White, U.S. Marine Corps
LB 138 passed through General File this past Monday morning. This bill adds 5 new honor plates for those who served and earned the Iraq, Afghanistan, Southwest Asia, or Vietnam War Campaign Medals, or earned the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.  Also included in the bill, is a new plate for those who have not served, but wish to show support for our military – this plate will sport the phrase “Support Our Troops.” Funds from the support plates go to the Veterans Employment Fund and will be used to recruit and retain the highly qualified workforce we hope will stay or come to Nebraska and participate in our economy. Many thanks to the 37 Senators who voted “Aye” to move the bill forward!
UNL Undergraduates Bring Research
and Creative Projects to the Legislature


R-L: Douglas DeBose, Jacob Scheele, Nichole Brady and Brook Mott

University of Nebraska
Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol 

UNL Undergraduate Research Day was held at the Capitol this past week. Staff from my office were honored to attend a breakfast at which 25 student research teams from across Nebraska presented research or creative projects they conducted under the guidance of faculty mentors. It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about some of the critical research activities taking place at University of Nebraska campuses, and how UNL UCARE helps shape the next generation of researchers, scientists, engineers and artists. Following presentations, the students enjoyed a visit to the Legislature and a tour of the Capitol. All 25 posters were put on display in the 1st Floor Rotunda.
Mayor Kindig and his Youth Leadership Council
On Monday, Mayor Kindig brought the Youth Council to Lincoln where I had the distinct honor of speaking with them about their Nebraska Legislature, why I decided to run for and serve in public office, and why it’s important for all of them, especially the young women, to consider a career in public service… maybe even in the Nebraska State Legislature.
Started by LaVista Mayor Douglas Kindig, the Youth Leadership Council is a program designed to encourage middle and high school students to become active in their community by participating in in local government. Students selected to the Council attend City Council, Board and Commission meetings where they see first-hand the process in action, and offer a young persons perspective on issues of local concern. If you know a LaVista teen who might be interested in being a part of Mayor Kindig’s Youth Leadership Council, please go here for more information.
Former Senators Visit the Legislature
Just before recess on Wednesday, we were visited by those who came before us. Former Senators from across the years and miles of our great state shook hands and chatted with friends and former colleagues. It was an honor to see them all!
April is National Safe Digging Month! 
NEBRASKA 811 Safe Digging 
“Know what’s below, Call before you dig”
To find more information about services provided by Nebraska 811 go here
Before you dig, please call 800-331-5666 or 811.
The Nebraska Family HELPLINE
One phone call can connect Nebraska families to the help they need when dealing with a child’s behavioral health problem. 1-888-866-8660 is staffed with trained counselors who are able to handle any problem, any time. Learn more here.
NOTE: Hearing & Speech-impaired callers may utilize telecommunications relay services by calling 7-1-1 or through your own personal relay service.
#TeamBlood #HelpisHere

Nebraska Medicine and the Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce Presents The Bellevue Offutt Runway Run 2019
Nebraska Medicine, The Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce and Offutt Air Force Base are proud to present the annual Runway Run which includes a 5K (3.1 mile) run including the runway.


Please join in celebrating our Air Force while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019
Check-in Time: Begins 6:00 am
5 K Race Begins: 7:00 am – Route Sweep 9:00 am
Starting Point: Run begins & ends at the Bellevue Public Schools Lied Activity Center – 2600 Arboretum Dr. (Intersection of Fort Crook Road and Hwy 370)
Registration Fees:
On/before April 18 – $25.00 (free shirt)
After April 18 – $30.00 (no shirt)
On-site Registrations: $40 – 5:45 am to 6:30 am (no shirt)
Register Here
Contact: Lisa Wilson 402-452-3901
Email: lisa@bellevuenebraska.com
More Information Here

RESERVE YOUR SEAT SOON FOR YOUTH UNICAMERAL!  

The Unicameral Youth Legislature convenes June 9-12, 2019, and is open to all high school students. Registration includes lodging, meals (including lunch at the Governor’s Residence) and transportation from UNL’s East Campus to the State Capitol. The deadline to enter is May 15. The Greg Adams Civic Scholarship covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other scholarships are also available – for more information, visit here.
APPLY FOR A BOARD OR COMMISSION
It’s that time of year again when there are all kinds of boards and commissions in the state that are looking for dedicated citizens to serve. These positions are appointed by the governor and range in topics from Juvenile Justice to Geology. 
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please visit to the Governor’s website here. You will be able to find a listing of every board that has an opening, as well as a brief synopsis of what is involved. You can also find an application here. Our state is a better place to live and raise our families when our citizens step up and get involved.
MEET OUR INTERNS!
  Moriah Locklear
Our office has had the good fortune of having two very talented interns working with us this session. Moriah Locklear is a Ph.D. candidate at UNL and will be graduating in May of 2020, having already gotten her undergraduate degree from Ohio State. Moriah would like to pursue a career working in policy at the federal level after graduating from Nebraska. Since coming to my office, she’s been an invaluable asset when it comes to researching topics we brought this year and will be bringing next session.

  Ryan O’Grady
Ryan is a lifelong resident of Bellevue and a 2015 graduate of Bellevue East High School. He attended the University of Nebraska – Lincoln from 2015-2018, where he studied Secondary Education in the College of Education and Human Sciences. During the summers from 2014 to 2016, Ryan worked with ISEC Summer School students for the Bellevue Public School System. Family and pets aside, Ryan is most passionate about education and politics.

We are grateful to have both Moriah and Ryan as part of Team Blood!
We are here to serve the residents of District 3 and we are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you may have.
Did you know that there is a long list of items available for free to the public relating to the Nebraska Legislature? Here is a list of only a few that you might find interesting. If you are receiving this email digitally, you should be able to link to the information from your newsletter.
1. Unicameral Update
2. About the Legislature
3. Unicam Kids
4. Inside Our Nation’s Only Unicameral
5. Poster of Nebraska Senators
6. Membership & Committees Card
7. Lines of Government

For hard copies of these documents, please call my office at 402-471-2627 and we will be happy to place one in the mail to your home address.

Legislative Update, April 12
April 12th, 2019
SINCE LAST WEEK… 

It was a good week for two of my bills that will help Nebraska’s Military Families. LB6 allows for dependents of active duty military members who are accepted into a Nebraska college but then assigned to another state, to continue to receive in-state tuition and has made it through the first round of voting. This bill is one of ten priorities shared by the Department of Defense Military Community & Family Policy Office. Meeting these particular priorities will go a long way to helping Nebraska gain a “Military Friendly” designation. Our office will continue to work on this cause as Offutt Air Force Base is Nebraska’s #1 employer, not to mention that we want all Military Families to feel welcome in our great state.. We do not expect the bill to have any issues as we get closer to a final reading.

LB15, my hearing aid bill has moved onto the next phase, as it was advanced through select file this week. We also started the debate on LB138 on Thursday and will pick it up again on Monday. While the bill will create a couple of new license plates, including one that will honor Vietnam veterans, and a Support Our Troops plate, the real benefit is the fund that will be started from the proceeds of these plates that will be used to recruit veterans to stay in Nebraska and come to Nebraska when their tours are over. We have to stop the brain drain going on right now and this bill will help do that.

MEET OUR INTERNS!


Moriah Locklear
Our office has had the good fortune of having two very talented interns working with us this session. Moriah Locklear is a Ph.D. candidate at UNL and will be graduating in May of 2020, having already gotten her undergraduate degree from Ohio State. Moriah would like to pursue a career working in policy at the federal level after graduating from Nebraska. Since coming to my office, she’s been an invaluable asset when it comes to researching topics we brought this year and will be bringing next session.


    Ryan O’Grady
Another recent addition to our office is intern, Ryan O’Grady. Ryan is a lifelong resident of Bellevue and a 2015 graduate of Bellevue East High School. He attended the University of Nebraska – Lincoln from 2015-2018, where he studied Secondary Education in the College of Education and Human Sciences. During the summers from 2014 to 2016, Ryan worked with ISEC Summer School students for the Bellevue Public School System. Family and pets aside, Ryan is most passionate about education and politics. We are grateful to have both Moriah and Ryan as part of Team Blood!

The Volunteers of Lady’s Day Out
Lady’s Day Out at Silver Ridge Assisted Living 
Silver Ridge Assisted Living in Gretna was the setting for friends from Bellevue, Gretna, Millard, Omaha, and Papillion, to gather and give the women of Silver Ridge the gift of a manicure and conversation. There were smiles all around as these volunteers took time out of their busy Sundays to share with new friends. This is an ongoing project I began last year, and if you would like to join us in volunteering, please call our office at 402-471-2627. Volunteers only need bring their smiles and a willing heart to serve others.

April is National Save Digging Month! 
NEBRASKA 811 Safe Digging Poster Contest
On Monday April 8th I was excited to help welcome Safe Digging Poster Contest winners to the Capitol. One of the 12 winners from schools across Nebraska was Myla Aiello-Valenzuela, a fourth-grade student from Peter Sarpy Elementary in Bellevue. Myla and her father didn’t come to the Capitol alone, they brought along Myla’s teacher, Ms. Jennifer Huff, and her entire class. Following a short ceremony, the happy fourth graders received a world-class tour of the state capitol.  The winning posters from all 12 schools were on display in the main floor rotunda. Each school with a winning poster will receive an educational presentation by staff of Nebraska 811, a plaque, a bench for the school yard, and a new tree planted on school grounds. The day scheduled for the Peter Sarpy Elementary presentation and planting, is April 24th.

Congratulations to Myla, Ms. Huff, and the students of Peter Sarpy Elementary!

The Winning Poster by Myla Aiello-Valenzuela

“Know what’s below, Call before you dig”
To find more information about service provided by Nebraska 811 go here.  Before you dig, please call 800-331-5666 or 811.
Ms. Jennifer Huff’s fourth grade Peter Sarpy Elementary class. (Front row center is artist Myla Aiello-Valenzuela) 


LINEWORKER APPRECIATION DAY! 

Did you know that April 8th was also Lineworker Appreciation Day at the State Capitol? A Lineworker is a tradesperson who constructs and maintains electric power transmission lines, telecommunications lines and distribution lines. Their work is generally done outside and up high. On-the-job training to become a lineworker is available through IBEW-NECA Electrical Training Alliance or from employers. Besides working in a variety of weather conditions, electrical line workers have a physically demanding job that requires lifting, climbing poles and the trenching of underground cables. Lineworkers from across the state of Nebraska traveled to the Capitol to be honored by Governor Ricketts and with a display in the main floor rotunda by the welcome kiosk.
We have proudly checked #10 of the 10 Key Personnel and Readiness Issues Supporting Service Members and Families List as we moved LB6 (In-State Tuition Continuity) through General File on Wednesday. I am grateful to my peers in the Legislature for supporting this cause and to the the Military Community and  Family Policy Office at the Department of Defense (DOD) for their guidance. Onward and Upward!!! #TeamBlood
One phone call can connect Nebraska families to the help they need when dealing with a child’s behavioral health problem. 1-888-866-8660 is staffed with trained counselors who are able to handle any problem, any time. Learn more here.
NOTE: Hearing & Speech-impaired callers may utilize telecommunications relay services by calling 7-1-1 or through your own personal relay service.
#TeamBlood #HelpisHere

Nebraska Medicine and the Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce Presents The Bellevue Offutt Runway Run 2019
Nebraska Medicine, The Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce and Offutt Air Force Base are proud to present the annual Runway Run which includes a 5K (3.1 mile) run including the runway.


Please join in celebrating our Air Force while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019
Check-in Time: Begins 6:00 am
5 K Race Begins: 7:00 am – Route Sweep 9:00 am
Starting Point: Run begins & ends at the Bellevue Public Schools Lied Activity Center – 2600 Arboretum Dr. (Intersection of Fort Crook Road and Hwy 370)
Registration Fees:
On/before April 18 – $25.00 (free shirt)
After April 18 – $30.00 (no shirt)
On-site Registrations: $40 – 5:45 am to 6:30 am (no shirt)
Register Here
Contact: Lisa Wilson 402-452-3901
Email: lisa@bellevuenebraska.com
More Information Here

RESERVE YOUR SEAT SOON FOR YOUTH UNICAMERAL!  
The Unicameral Youth Legislature convenes June 9-12, 2019, and is open to all high school students. Registration includes lodging, meals (including lunch at the Governor’s Residence) and transportation from UNL’s East Campus to the State Capitol. The deadline to enter is May 15. The Greg Adams Civic Scholarship covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other scholarships are also available – for more information, visit here.

APPLY FOR A BOARD OR COMMISSION
It’s that time of year again when there are all kinds of boards and commissions in the state that are looking for dedicated citizens to serve. These positions are appointed by the governor and range in topics from Juvenile Justice to Geology. 

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please visit to the Governor’s website here. You will be able to find a listing of every board that has an opening, as well as a brief synopsis of what is involved. You can also find an application here. Our state is a better place to live and raise our families when our citizens step up and get involved.
We are here to serve the residents of District 3 and we are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you may have.
Did you know that there is a long list of items available for free to the public relating to the Nebraska Legislature? Here is a list of only a few that you might find interesting. If you are receiving this email digitally, you should be able to link to the information from your newsletter.
1. Unicameral Update
2. About the Legislature
3. Unicam Kids
4. Inside Our Nation’s Only Unicameral
5. Poster of Nebraska Senators
6. Membership & Committees Card
7. Lines of Government

For hard copies of these documents, please call my office at 402-471-2627 and we will be happy to place one in the mail to your home address.

 

Legislative Update, April 5
April 5th, 2019
Since Last Week… 

Full day debate started this past week, though the legislature felt like it was stuck in neutral for the first few days. Finally, on Wednesday afternoon we started moving through the agenda again. That included my bill, LB15, which moved through General File with a 39-0 vote from the body.

This is an important bill that will help the children of Nebraska in need of hearing aids, better able to afford them. Insurance coverage is vital to the health of a child, including the ability to hear. I’m thrilled that the bill has gotten through the first round of debate and seems headed for passage.

Nebraska Celebrates Public Health Week

Public Health Care was the topic of a two-day event sponsored by The Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors (NALHD), the Public Health Association of Nebraska (PHAN) along with Nebraska Appleseed. Speaking at a press conference to announce Public Health Week at the Capitol and National Public Health Week was David Humm, BS, MST, Health Promotion & Outreach Division Manger at Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (in photo above)  Among speakers at the Public Health Conference were health directors from across the state including Wisner and Fremont, who discussed their agencies’ responses to recent flooding and other health-related issues.

Nebraska Medicine and the Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce Presents The Bellevue Offutt Runway Run 2019

Nebraska Medicine, The Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce and Offutt Air Force Base are proud to present the annual Runway Run which includes a 5K (3.1 mile) run including the runway.


Please join in celebrating our Air Force while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019
Check-in Time: Begins 6:00 am
5 K Race Begins: 7:00 am – Route Sweep 9:00 am
Starting Point: Run begins & ends at the Bellevue Public Schools Lied Activity Center – 2600 Arboretum Dr. (Intersection of Fort Crook Road and Hwy 370)
Registration Fees:
On/before April 18 – $25.00 (free shirt)
After April 18 – $30.00 (no shirt)
On-site Registrations: $40 – 5:45 am to 6:30 am (no shirt)
Register Here
Contact: Lisa Wilson 402-452-3901
Email: lisa@bellevuenebraska.com
More Information Here

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

On Thursday, April 4th, I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow senators, survivors, activists and advocates to support Senator Machaela Cavanaugh as she announced April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Nebraska. The theme for this month is “I Ask” to emphasize the importance of positive consent and to help change the conversation around sexual assault and rape. Senator Cavanaugh introduced her proclamation to bring attention to the issue of sexual assault and to help assure the state will continue steps in the direction of prevention.
Hanging with some of my favorite Real Estate people at breakfast on Friday. The Nebraska Realtors have done a lot of good things for Nebraska. Keep up the great work!

RESERVE YOUR SEAT NOW! 
The Unicameral Youth Legislature convenes June 9-12, 2019, and is open to all high school students. Registration includes lodging, meals (including lunch at the Governor’s Residence) and transportation from UNL’s East Campus to the State Capitol. The deadline to enter is May 15. The Greg Adams Civic Scholarship covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other scholarships are also available. For more information, visit here.

APPLY FOR A BOARD OR COMMISSION
It’s that time of year again when there are all kinds of boards and commissions in the state that are looking for dedicated citizens to serve. These positions are appointed by the governor and range in topics from Juvenile Justice to Geology. 

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please visit to the Governor’s website here. You will be able to find a listing of every board that has an opening, as well as a brief synopsis of what is involved. You can also find an application here. Our state is a better place to live and raise our families when our citizens step up and get involved.
We are here to serve the residents of District 3 and we are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you may have.
Did you know that there is a long list of items available for free to the public relating to the Nebraska Legislature? Here is a list of only a few that you might find interesting. If you are receiving this email digitally, you should be able to link to the information from your newsletter.
1. Unicameral Update
2. About the Legislature
3. Unicam Kids
4. Inside Our Nation’s Only Unicameral
5. Poster of Nebraska Senators
6. Membership & Committees Card
7. Lines of Government

For hard copies of these documents, please call my office at 402-471-2627 and we will be happy to place one in the mail to your home address.

The Heart of Madison DeMeo 

L-R: Bellevue Mayor Rusty Hike, Senator Sue Crawford – Dist.45, Madison DeMeo, Senator Blood 

I was proud to join Mayor Hike, Senator Crawford, and the DeMeo family, as Madison received her award from U.S. Cellular.

From a very young age Madison has been interested in making her community a better place for all, especially those in need of a little help. At the age of 9, Madi, as she likes to be called, began selling Halloween candy she didn’t care for to friends and neighbors. With the money raised, she purchased non-perishable food items to donate to the Bellevue Food Pantry.

In the six years that have passed, Madi has raised more than $6,000 to support local causes, including the Food Pantry and The Alzheimer’s Association.

For her hard work and dedication Madi was recently recognized by U.S. Cellular as one of their top 16 Under Sixteen and became a recipient of $10,000 to go to a her charity of choice. I am glad Madi DeMeo is a part of our community and look forward to seeing much more from her in the years to come.

On March 7th, I introduced Legislative Resolution (LR) #39 to formally recognize the accomplishments of Madison DeMeo. You can read the Resolution here.

These are your roads and bridges, Nebraska!
Tell them what you think.

NDOT District 2 Program Hearing – State Highway Commission Meeting
This meeting is open to all members of the public. Future Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) highway improvement projects will be discussed at the meeting and public attendance and participation is highly encouraged.

Date and Time:
March 22, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.
Location:
University of Nebraska – Omaha
Thompson Alumni Center
6705 Dodge Street
Omaha, NE

For more information, please contact: Jason Prokop at 402-471-4567 or Jason.prokop@nebraska.gov

 

2019 State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Report

Advance copies of the State Treasurer’s annual Unclaimed Property Report are out and we have on in our office. The 2019 report represents $19,835,822 in NEW unclaimed property.

This report will be included in 16 Nebraska newspapers, as required by State Statute.
Here is the schedule for publication:
Sunday, March 10, 2019 – Omaha World Herald, Schottsbluff Star Herald
Saturday, March 23, 2019 – Beatrice Daily Sun, York News-Times, Columbus Telegram, Fremont Tribune
Sunday, March 24, 2019 – Lincoln Journal Star
Friday, April 5, 2019 – Holdrege Citizen, McCook Gazette, Sidney Sun-Telegraph
Saturday, April 6, 2019 – Alliance Times Herald, Hastings Tribune, Kearney Hub
Sunday, April 7, 2019 – Grand Island Independent, North Platte Telegraph

If you just can’t wait to claim your piece of the lost loot, you may check for unclaimed property at any time online here.

 

L-R: Senator Blood, Emily Barrson

 

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Announces its Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest Winner

In a ceremony held at the State Capitol on Tuesday, Governor Ricketts handed out awards to the top four winners in the NEMA Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest. Earning the top prize was 10-year-old Jack Barrson, son of Emily and Robert Barrson of Papillion. For his efforts Jack was awarded a $125 gift card and will have his poster professionally framed. His poster will become a part of the NEMA 2020 Calendar. Jack was unable to join the ceremony as he  is spending his Spring Break in Washington, D.C..      

Congratulations Jack, and very well done!

 

Unicameral Youth Legislature  You are invited!

High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth Legislature June 9-12. At the State Capitol, student senators
will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral.

The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students who have an interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate or public speaking. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators and staff.

Registrants are encouraged to apply for a Greg Adams Scholarship award, which covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other $100 scholarships are also available.

The Office of the Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature coordinates the Unicameral Youth Legislature. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office coordinates housing and recreational activities as part of the Big Red Summer Camps program.

To learn more about the program go here, or call (402) 471-2788.
The deadline for registration is May 15.

More Bill News

Earlier this week three of my bills were officially made law!  LB7, LB11, and LB115 were all signed by the Governor!

LB115 allows dependents of active duty military personnel accepted into a state college or university, but are then transferred out of Nebraska, to still get in-state tuition. This is important to military family members who want to go to one of our colleges and universities, but could be scared away by the high cost of out-of-state tuition.

The bill also puts us one step away from being fully compliant with the DOD’s list of what a state must do in order to be designated “military friendly.” That designation is extremely important when it comes to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission discussions regarding which bases will close, and which will remain open. Another round of discussions regarding base decommissioning is going to happen sooner rather than later, and it is important to Nebraska and the country, that Offutt remain operational.

Another of my bills is on its way to the governor’s desk –LB8, my medical director flashing lights bill passed Final Reading without a single “no” vote on Friday the 15th.

APPLY FOR A BOARD OR COMMISSION

It’s that time of year again when there are all kinds of boards and commissions in the state that are looking for dedicated citizens to serve. These positions are appointed by the governor and range in topics from Juvenile Justice to Geology.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please visit to the Governor’s website here. You will be able to find a listing of every board that has an opening, as well as a brief synopsis of what is involved. You can also find an application here. Our state is a better place to live and raise our families when our citizens step up and get involved.

MEET OUR TEAM

Dee Austin-Administrative Aide
Senator Carol Blood, District 3
Oliver VanDervoort-Legislative Aide

We are here to serve the residents of District 3 and we are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you may have.

Did you know that there is a long list of items available for free to the public relating to the Nebraska Legislature? Here is a list of only a few that you might find interesting. If you are receiving this email digitally, you should be able to link to the information from your newsletter.

1. Unicameral Update
2. About the Legislature
3. Unicam Kids
4. Inside Our Nation’s Only Unicameral
5. Poster of Nebraska Senators
6. Membership & Committees Card
7. Lines of Government

For hard copies of these documents, please call my office at 402-471-2627 and we will be happy to place one in the mail to your home address.

We have just a few more weeks in the legislative session and we are busy. We’ve had multiple nights where we’ve been in debate from 9 in the morning until 10 at night. The state’s business must be done though and while I don’t agree with everything that has passed, everyone is working hard in their own way to make sure they are representing their constituents. When you look at the partisan gridlock that is going on in Washington, we clearly don’t have those kinds of problems going on here. Now we just need to get on the same page on many of they things we should be supporting.

It was an active week for all and an active week for my bills, including my priority bill, LB 685, which passed Final Reading. Considering the bill has never received “no” vote at any stage, it appears it’s headed for passage once the Governor signs it. LB685 provides a funding priority for special-needs military dependents under the Developmental Disabilities Services Act. This would specifically add dependents of active duty military members who are severely developmentally disabled to the list of treatment priorities kept by the DHHS. In essence, this would allow prioritized treatment for those who need it most but are not covered by Tricare. We were very careful to make sure this isn’t coming at the detriment of others who also need services.

One of my other bills,  LB735 , is part of the Urban Affair’s Committee priority bill, LB873. My part of the bill would provide for interlocal agreements regarding nuisances. Currently, municipalities have the authority to regulate and enforce nuisances within their borders. This would build on this legislative authority by allowing municipalities to enter interlocal agreements with a county to provide for cooperative action to remove or prevent nuisances. Interlocal agreements have always been a great way to save manpower and funds here in Sarpy County. We had a good debate on LB873 and it appears that my little section of that bill is something that is acceptable to the body as a whole. Because LB873 has so many moving parts, there will be another day of debate next week before it moves onto the next round.

Another of my bills, the Physical Therapists Compact bill, was attached to LB731 – which is one of the Health and Human Services Committee’s priority bills. My part of that bill was LB 681. This is very similar to my nursing compact from a year ago. It allows physical therapists from compact states to come into Nebraska and practice here without applying for an entirely new license. Should it pass, this will be another tool for helping military spouses who are therapists and want to get to work as soon possible. The bill passed the first round of debate and is now headed for Select File.

LB692 was a bill I brought forward that requires the Department of Corrections to start doing a regular staffing analysis. LB 692 was amended into a broader Judiciary Committee package folded into LB841. The bills requires the Department to complete a comprehensive analysis of its system-wide staffing needs and provide a report of such analysis to the Legislature by September 15, 2020, and asks for a revised analysis at least every 6 years thereafter. It advanced to Select File on Thursday morning. In order to identify future budget items, such as staffing, it is important that the department “measure what they treasure,” and have a keen understanding of current and future employee needs. Ultimately, this will help with the safety and security of both staff and inmates as well as set a firm foundation of information for future budgets.

Another bill that is very important to me is LB 682. This bill was placed on our “consent calendar” because it is so common sense and non-controversial. It has gone through the first round of debate and I fully expect it to eventually become law. LB682 provides consumer protection and civil relief for service members and provides a duty for active duty military and the National Guard: This bill would make it so that an active duty member of the military or National Guard that receives order to move out of Nebraska may do so without having to worry about paying early termination fees on contracts for services like cable, phone or gym memberships. It’s only fair that if a service member has no choice in their deployment, he or she should not be held accountable for the decisions of their superiors.

Off the legislature floor, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Thursday, March 29th is Vietnam Veterans Memorial Day. This country wouldn’t be the same without them and I applaud their service and their sacrifice. I would also like to personally say, “welcome home.”

As President Nixon once said,  “No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.”

My first session in the Nebraska Legislature was both productive and educational. As promised, I hit the ground running with a group of bills that were especially important to the residents I serve in District 3. I’ve listened to your concerns and questions.

I took that information, pushed up my sleeves and got to work. Four of my bills are now law and many others will hopefully be debated on the floor next session. I am thrilled to be your Senator and will continue to work hard on your behalf.

LB 80: Provide for Unclassified Service Under The County Civil Service Act

LB 80 will make it easier for county attorneys’ and public defenders’ offices to recruit and retain law students and law clerks in order to eventually promote these employees to full-time lawyers within the office. This is a relatively simple law that has removed red tape and takes away an unnecessary hurdle. Governor Ricketts challenged Legislature in his State of the State address to work toward eliminating hurdles to employment by removing unnecessary red tape that prevents our residents from gaining employment here in Nebraska. I accepted that challenge and worked toward that goal.

LB 88: Adopt the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact and the Nurse Licensure Compact and change and eliminate other provisions relating to the regulation of Health Professionals

 

LB 88 was introduced as a bill that allowed military souses the ability to obtain temporary licensure in Nebraska in over 30 professions under the Uniform Credential Act. As a body, we were able to make this an even more powerful bill that included additional provisions.

Additional language authorized Nebraska to join the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact; updated provisions for licensure and practice requirements within the current Nurse Practitioner Practice Act; allows licensed practical nurses to provide intravenous therapy and eliminates the Licensed Practical Nurse-Certified Practice Act; and amends portions of the state’s Nurse Practice Act to allow Nebraska to join the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact that will take effect when 26 states have joined or on December 31, 2018.

Additionally, it removed a requirement that nurses educated in a foreign country pass a specific examination or hold a certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. Now, an applicant is required to pass a board-approved examination and provide a satisfactory evaluation from a board-approved foreign credentials evaluation service. LB 88 also removes a requirement that a licensed audiologist obtain a second, specialist license in order to sell hearing aids.

For so many of our military spouses the routine is to move, certify and repeat. This has created career obstacles for many of the military spouses relocating to Nebraska. This is an especially concerning topic for many of our District 3 families.

When PCS orders arrive, spouses must uproot their careers and attempt to find jobs in their new state. If a spouse chooses to stay in their current position, it can mean being separated from their family.

Offutt Air Force Base has a powerful economic impact on eastern Nebraska. We must work hard to honor our military and their families by creating policy that not only embraces their needs, but also helps our state when there is another round of BRAC-Base Realignment and Closures.

Over 15,689 base jobs and another 7,796 local jobs depend on the Legislature to make smart policy that supports our goal to prevent Offutt from a potential base closure.

LB 85: Provide a requirement for persons seeking appointive or elective office.

LB 85 is a bill that prohibits any person that has outstanding civil penalties issued by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission from filing for election to public office.

If a candidate disputes that they have outstanding civil penalties and has an appeal pending, they will still be allowed to file for office if they file a surety bond in favor of the state while the appeal is pending.

When we continue to address issues, such as nonpayment of NADC fines, we foster an ethical, moral culture that also expresses certain behaviors have consequences. This bill provides statute

 

LB 86: Change Provisions Relating to Opening Bids

LB 86 eliminates the requirement relating to bids for county bridge contracts. No change was requested in reference to changing any transparency for the public on this issue.

This bill allows the bids to be opened outside of a board meeting and does not force the contractors or other interested parties to sit through other discussions.

The issue is about expediency and not making contractors or the public sit through discussion of issues not pertaining to the bids. The county board will still deal with the bids but they simply will not need to be present at the opening of these bids.

The awards are always going to be made at an open public county board meeting and the bids will be readily accessible and viewable by the public.

This is a simple bill that helps to uncomplicated the process and not waste time that can be spent on more important agenda issues that serve the public.

What Is Our Office Working On For 2018?

We have worked all summer on a vast array of topics and crafted multiple bills that we hope to bring forward in January.

One of our more important efforts is our military families initiative. Working closely with the Department of Defense, our office continues to strive to remove hurdles for our military families when it comes to employment and to offer needed policy that allows better access to services here in Nebraska.

This initiative includes a proposed Medicaid Waiver for military families that have complex medical conditions not covered by TRICARE. It will help to protect the families from having to wait longer than may be necessary and provide service to their children with disabilities.

The military initiative also includes state enhancement to the service member’s civil relief act (SRA). Although service members are protected as consumers through the federal SCRA; the federal law does not protect service members concerning obligations that occur while on active duty. This bill will provide additional consumer protections that can mirror and expand the federal SCRA.

Also included are three interstate compact bills that include Physical Therapists, Psychologists and APRNs. Interstate compacts make it easier to get licensed in multiple states and empower those interested to reach more patients in rural and underserved communities. It also removes additional hurdles for potential employment for military spouses.

Yet another aspect of our Military Families initiative is our Realtor’s Licensing Bill. This bill allows for an exemption for military spouses from licensing fees if transferred to Nebraska and already holding a license from another state.

We are also working with the Nebraska State Court Administrator’s office to potentially waive the fee for military spouses who are practicing attorneys that transfer to Nebraska with their spouse.

We hope to craft several additional bills this session as part of our initiative, but feel we are off to a great start.

We have three bills that pertain to Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a new concept to many people, but one that has become a popular peer-to-peer exchange platform. Our office enthusiastically supports many of the wonderful aspects of blockchain technology as it has created the backbone of a new type of Internet. Originally created for the digital currency, Bitcoin, there is a long list of potential uses for this tech.

However, with new technology, there are often stumbling blocks that need to be addressed to protect the public. It is important to have state statute updated to keep up with any changes that may affect Nebraska residents.

Upcoming Hearings
January 30th, 2017

We have several bills that will have hearings this week. LB 81 (Handgun Permit Fees Bill) will be heard in the Judiciary Committee on February 2nd, LB 84 (DWI Bill) will be heard in the Judiciary Committee on February 3rd and LB 365 (Public Records Bill) will be heard on February 2nd. We encourage you to review these bills and if you would like to send letters to support or oppose the topic or would like to testify in person, please contact our office immediately so we can make sure your voice is heard at the hearing(s).

Sen. Carol Blood

District 3
Room #1021
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2627
Email: cblood@leg.ne.gov
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