This past week started with my Sunday Symposium “Sex Trafficking – A Dichotomy” which had great attendance both from panelists and the public. Once again, I’d like to thank everyone for coming and making the event a great one. I hope the turnout for the next symposium is just as strong.The symposium has resulted in an amazing sharing of ideas from the public that will help to make our future legislation even stronger as we work to combat Sex Trafficking in Nebraska.
Monday morning saw LB85 advance through select file and is now on Final Reading. This means there is just one more round of voting before the bill will be sent to the Governor’s office for his signature and it will then become law. This bill would make it so anyone owing civil penalties to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission cannot run for, nor be appointed to a public office, until they pay those fines. I think this is an important piece of legislation and I am happy to see it get so much support in the legislature.
Obviously, people in Sarpy county have been greatly affected by road and highway construction over the past year. On Friday, March 24 at 8:30 AM, you will get your chance to hear about and give input towards the broader plan put forward by the Nebraska Department of Roads. The public forum will take place at Thompson Center at UNO, 6705 Dodge Street, Omaha, Nebraska. You can get the agenda for the meeting at the NDOR website by clicking on the “State Highway Commission/District 2 Program Hearing, Omaha” link or by calling (402) 479-4871. The agenda is on page 2 of the document.
For those of you who would like to learn more about some of my legislation, as well as legislation I have dealt with in my committees, I will be having an informational coffee with Senator Sue Crawford on Saturday, March 18 at 10am to 11am at the Bellevue Public Library. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in following what is going on in the legislature to come out and participate.
Monday will mark the 50th day of the legislative session. That means we will be well past the halfway point of my first session. As always, we are here to serve the residents of District 3. Don’t hesitate to call or email my office and we are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you may have.
High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth Legislature June 11-14. 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.
Senator Blood said, “It’s important for young people to get involved in programs like this, we need to foster civic engagement for our leaders of the future.”
Registrants are encouraged to apply for a Greg Adams Civic 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 to www.NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl or call 402-471-2788. The deadline to register is May 15.
This past week, we continued to see my LB85 work it’s way through the legislative process. The bill I brought forward that doesn’t allow anyone who owes penalties to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (NADC) to run for public office leaped another hurdle. The legislative fiscal office had suggested a fiscal note be attached to the bill. A fiscal note means the state must appropriate money in order to pay for a policy that is included in the bill. While this particular fiscal note was a relatively small $750, I understand that while the state is in a budget crunch like we’re seeing right now, every dollar counts. I spoke to the NADC and the commission’s very capable director told me the agency would be able to absorb those costs and wouldn’t need additional money. This means the bill will continue to have no negative fiscal impact on the state and it will be able to hold “bad guys” who don’t want to pay their fines accountable.
LB85 will be on the legislature’s floor again Monday morning as it goes through Select File and it should easily advance as it received 40 yes votes and zero no votes to advance on General File. Another of my bills, LB80 has officially become law! The bill which makes it easier for county attorneys’ and public defenders’ offices to recruit and retain legal students and law clerks and then promote them to full-time lawyers. This is a simple law that removes the kind of red tape Governor Ricketts talked about in his State of the State address. LB80 was voted through the legislature last week and Governor Ricketts signed the bill on March 7.
It wasn’t such good news for all of my bills this week. LB87 which would have been a big help to job development and renewable energy efforts in the state of Nebraska was Indefinitely Postponed by the Natural Resources committee. My bill would have raised the cap on net metering from 25KW to 100KW and would have allowed meter aggregation. Both of those steps would have been important when trying to show businesses that Nebraska can be competitive when it comes to innovation and green tech. I talked about how important this kind of initiative is in a recent interview with The Reader. Several well-paid lobbyists were against this and several other green energy bills that were also killed by the committee. While I’m disappointed the committee decided to take this action, you can rest assured that I will continue to fight that fight and will be bringing another bill on the topic in 2018.
This Sunday I will be holding my first symposium of the session. The topic is going to be “The Dichotomy of Sex Trafficking” and we’re going to be having experts from the criminal justice side of the issue as well as those who work directly with victims of this terrible practice. The symposium is of course, open to the public and will take place from 1:00 to 2:30 PM on March 12 at Bellevue University, in the John B. Muller building. (1000 Galvin Road S) on the lower level. If you’re free on Sunday, please do consider coming out and learning more about this issue.
Monday will mark the 45th day of the legislative session. That means we will be right at halfway point of my first session and there is still much to do. As always, we are here to serve the residents of District 3. Don’t hesitate to call or email my office and we are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you may have.
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).
Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 3rd legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.
You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.
Sen. Carol Blood