NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Heath Mello

Sen. Heath Mello

District 5

Welcome!

January 6th, 2016

Thank you for visiting the official website of Nebraska’s 5th Legislative District! I am honored to serve as your representative in the Nebraska Unicameral, and am committed to being an independent voice for South Omaha and Midtown in our non-partisan legislature.

I hope this website will allow me, and my staff, to communicate with you about the issues you care about and those affecting our community . Please check back often for important news and information. Also, feel free to use the contact information on the right to contact me with any issues or concerns you may have regarding public policy or your state government, and let me know how my staff and I may assist you.

Working for you,

Senator Heath Mello

LINCOLN, NE – Nebraska State Senator Heath Mello has been selected to serve on a national task force created by The Council of State Governments to help state policymakers remove employment barriers for people with disabilities.

CSG, in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures, organized the National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities to help state leaders identity barriers to employment at the state level and provide them with policy recommendations to address those barriers.

The effort is funded by the State Exchange on Employment and Disability, or SEED, initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

“People with disabilities face several obstacles when looking for employment,” said Senator Mello. “It is vital that Nebraska does what it can to ensure that hard-working Nebraskans, regardless of their disabilities, are successful in the workforce. This national task force will help states across the country remove barriers for these individuals and ensure that we create more a more inclusive workforce environment.”

Aside from his membership on the task force, Senator Mello has also been selected to serve as Co-Chair of the Entrepreneurship and Tax Incentives subcommittee.

The National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities consists of four subcommittees: Career Readiness and Employability; Hiring; Retention and Re-entry; Entrepreneurship and Tax Incentives; and Technology, Transportation and Other Employment Supports.

The task force convened March 19-20 in Chicago and will meet in Washington D.C. later this April. The policy recommendations will be unveiled at a policy academy during the 2016 CSG National Conference in Colonial Williamsburg, Va., Dec. 8-11.

The 2016 CSG President and Chair—Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Nebraska State Senator Beau McCoy, respectively—serve as co-chairs of the national task force.

About 54 million Americans live with a disability. But the majority of adults with disabilities are either unemployed or underemployed despite their ability, desire and willingness to work and contribute to the economy.

“This population has much to contribute in the workplace and in their communities,” said Elizabeth Whitehouse, the CSG Director of Education and Workforce Development. “The task force provides an opportunity for states to learn from each other and see the exciting and innovative policies and programs that make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.”

Founded in 1933, The Council of State Governments is the nation’s only nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that serves all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2016

For More Information:
Heath Mello, (402) 471-2710

OMAHA, NE – Senator Heath Mello (District 5 – South Omaha) issued the following statement on the Legislature’s vote to override of Governor Ricketts’ veto of LB 947:

“One of the challenges facing our state is our ability to stop talented and skilled workers from leaving Nebraska for career opportunities in neighboring states. With the passage of LB 947, Nebraska now joins a number of other states in allowing lawfully present, work-authorized residents to apply for professional and commercial licenses.”

“Now because of LB 947, lawfully present, work-authorized youth who have graduated from our schools and colleges can pursue careers that require licenses like nursing, engineering, or teaching.”

“This bipartisan bill passed because of a broad coalition across the political spectrum from Nebraska youth to the strong support from the business and agriculture community. I am grateful for the State Senators who looked past the divisive rhetoric and saw LB 947 for what it is – a proposal to strengthen Nebraska’s workforce.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2016

For More Information:
Heath Mello, (402) 471-2710

OMAHA, NE – Senator Heath Mello (District 5 – South Omaha) issued the following statement in response to Governor Ricketts’ veto of LB 580, a bipartisan proposal that would create the state’s first independent redistricting commission:

“I’m disappointed, but not surprised in the Governor’s decision to veto LB 580 and support more partisanship and less transparency in the redistricting process.”

“It is very clear from last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s independent redistricting commission, that Senator Murante’s and my LB 580 was constitutional under the federal constitution. While the Governor’s veto letter raised state constitutional issues, most of his claims had been clearly debunked during floor debate on the bill.”

“While there may be unique issues in Nebraska’s state constitution that need to be addressed, it is my hope that the countless Nebraskans who supported our efforts to reduce the political and partisan power involved in Nebraska’s redistricting process will continue to work to see an independent redistricting commission formed prior to 2021.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2016

For More Information:
Heath Mello, (402) 471-2710

OMAHA, NE – Senator Heath Mello (District 5 – South Omaha) issued the following statement in response to Governor Ricketts’ veto of LB 947, a proposal that would allow lawfully present, work-authorized immigrants access to professional and commercial licenses:

“I’m truly disappointed in the Governor’s decision to veto LB 947 and turn his back on the talented, highly-skilled residents of Nebraska who simply want to work in their trained profession and help grow Nebraska.”

“I am hopeful the Senators who voted for LB 947 will join me in overriding the Governor on this common-sense workforce proposal.”

Attached is a letter Senator Mello sent to members of the Nebraska Legislature in response to Governor Ricketts’ veto message and press conference:

LB 947 – Letter to State Senators 04.15.2016

 

For More Information:
Elizabeth Hertzler, (402) 471-2710

LINCOLN, NE – Appropriations Committee Chairman Heath Mello (District 5, South Omaha) issued the following statement in response to today’s Forecasting Board meeting:

“Today’s action by the Forecasting Board affirms the Nebraska Legislature’s previous decisions to prioritize responsible investments, focus on fiscal oversight, and maintain a strong ‘rainy-day’ fund in the face of budget uncertainty.”

“I am optimistic we will be able to maintain a healthy cash reserve, while addressing the cost of ongoing prison reform and prioritizing key infrastructure needs like roads and the Offutt levee project.”

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 26, 2016 

 
For More Information:
Rachel Meier, (402) 471-2710

LINCOLN, NE – Today, Senator Heath Mello (District 5 – South Omaha) introduced legislation that would make it easier for home owners to make energy efficient updates to their home.

LB 1012, the Property Assessed Clean Energy Act, would authorize municipalities to create energy assessment districts and provide property-assessed loans through outside financing to residential and commercial property owners for energy efficient updates to the property. As introduced, LB 1012 is a bipartisan effort that has 10 co-sponsors from both urban and rural areas of the state.

“The upfront costs for energy efficient improvements is the single largest barrier preventing property owners from making meaningful upgrades to their homes and businesses,” said Senator Mello. “By authorizing cities to implement an alternative financing method through the creation of energy assessment districts, we can spur the further development of the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, while creating new jobs across the state.”

“Creating good-paying jobs has been a key priority for me during my eight years in the Nebraska Legislature,” Mello said. “Helping homeowners reduce their energy bills and increase the value of their property all while creating new, skilled jobs is a “win-win” for Nebraskans.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 15, 2016

For More Information:
Elizabeth Hertzler, (402) 471-2710

LINCOLN, NE – Today, Senator Heath Mello (District 5 – South Omaha) introduced LB 928, a bill to strengthen Nebraska’s wage discrimination law.

This legislation is part of a larger effort nationally to close the wage gap between men and women. Of the 45 states with a version of an equal pay law, Nebraska is one of six states that currently exempt certain businesses from complying based on the number of employees they have.

“A majority of states have wage discrimination protections in place for men and women to be paid equally for comparable work, regardless of the size of their workplace,” said Senator Mello.

LB 928 would modernize Nebraska’s wage discrimination law by removing the current employee size exemption and modifying key definitions to improve enforcement. Last session Senator Mello passed legislation – with overwhelming support from the Legislature and the Governor – updating the laws to support pregnant women in the workplace. This bill continues or efforts to modernize Nebraska’s labor laws.

“Our economy and our families are strengthened when all Nebraskans can work, provide for their families, and pay taxes. LB 928 updates Nebraska’s equal pay laws to make sure they are applied fairly,” said Senator Mello. “It provides clarity and uniformity for the business community and wage fairness for more women in the workplace.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2016

For More Information:
Rachel Meier, (402) 471-2710

LINCOLN, NE – Today, Senator Heath Mello (District 5 – South Omaha) introduced LB 889, The School Readiness Tax Credit Act.

“Investing in the children who build with blocks today and the workforce who nurture them in their most important early years of life is sound long-term policy for building our economy long into the future,” said Senator Mello.

Senator Mello’s School Readiness Tax Credit Act is modelled after a successful package of tax credits that began in Louisiana in 2008. The following package of credits is designed to address the high cost of child care and increase access to high quality early childhood programs:

– Parent Credit
– Early Childhood Program Credit
– Early Childhood Workforce Credit
– Business-Supported Credit

The tax credits support Nebraska’s youngest children with emphasis on 42% of all young children from birth through age five considered at risk of failing in school.

“School Readiness Tax Credits will support a high-quality child care industry that is a key work support for families, the businesses that employ them, and also the healthy development of children to ensure they start school ready to learn,” said Senator Mello.

The School Readiness Tax Credits are directly aligned and in support of Nebraska’s Step Up to Quality program created in 2013.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2016

For More Information:
Rachel Meier, (402) 471-2710

LINCOLN, NE – Earlier today, Senator Heath Mello (District 5, South Omaha) introduced LB 836, legislation to provide benefits to the families of law enforcement, firefighters, and correctional officers killed in the line of duty.

“Every day, thousands of Nebraska law enforcement, firefighters, and correctional officers go to work and put their lives in harm’s way for the sake of public safety. It is critical that we as policymakers do everything we can to ensure the financial stability of families of first responders through the In the Line of Duty Compensation Act,” said Senator Mello.

“If passed, the In the Line of Duty Compensation Act would provide a benefit that we hope and pray every day that we will not need. The harsh reality is that it will happen and when it does the family of the fallen hero will be given much needed financial assistance,” said John J. Francavilla, President of the Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police.

While the benefit is near the average of annual law enforcement compensation, it is only a one time payout. This compensation can provide for the immediate needs to families of those Nebraskans who pay the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

“Other states in our region and across the country have recognized the importance of compensating our first responders and those who put themselves at risk to protect the public; it is time for Nebraska to do the same,” said Senator Mello.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2016

For More Information:
Elizabeth Hertzler, (402) 471-2710

LINCOLN, NE – Earlier today, Senator Heath Mello (District 5, South Omaha) introduced LB 835, legislation on behalf of Attorney General Doug Peterson to strengthen Nebraska’s consumer protection laws.

Attorney General Doug Peterson said, “We are very encouraged that Senator Mello is offering LB 835. This bill, if passed, will help significantly strengthen Nebraska’s consumer protection laws.”

“Fraudulent and consumer scamming practices are becoming more sophisticated. LB 835 will protect against minor Identity Theft by allowing parents to place a credit report freeze, and also enhance our ability to go after those who practice fraud in the area of charity solicitation. Our Consumer Protection Division looks forward to passage of this bill in order to better protect Nebraskans,” said Attorney General Peterson.

“LB 835 is an important modernization of Nebraska’s consumer protection laws,” said Senator Mello. “These changes will strengthen our Attorney General’s ability to conduct investigations and aid our citizens in protecting their information.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2016

For More Information:
Elizabeth Hertzler, (402) 471-2710

Sen. Heath Mello

District 5
Room #1004
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2710
Email: hmello@leg.ne.gov
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