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

OMAHA, NE – Building off the recent passage of LB 1012, Senator Heath Mello (District 5 – South Omaha) applauded the Federal Housing Administration’s announcement yesterday of PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) guidance that will expand access to energy-efficient improvements to homeowners and spur job growth in the clean energy sector. Yesterday’s announcement is the first federal housing policy recognizing PACE as a tax assessment that can co-exist along with FHA mortgages.

“We’ve known for years that the upfront costs for energy-efficient upgrades is one of the largest barriers preventing property owners from making meaningful improvements to their homes and businesses,” said Senator Mello. “By authorizing the City of Omaha, City of Lincoln, and the hundreds of cities across Nebraska to implement a new, strategic financing method through the creation of clean energy assessment districts, we can spur job-creation and the further development of the clean energy industry across Nebraska.”

This new guidance from the Federal Housing Administration provides clarity for cities across Nebraska when developing city ordinances creating Property Assessment Clean Energy districts and implementing PACE programs. During the passage of LB 1012, this guidance was discussed as a key component to ensure the proper implementation of PACE in Nebraska.

“Helping the private sector create quality, high-paying jobs has been a key priority for me during my eight years in the Nebraska Legislature,” Mello said. “With LB 1012 and the new FHA guidance, helping homeowners reduce their energy bills and increase the value of their property all while spurring the creation of new, high-skilled jobs is a ‘win-win’ for Nebraskans.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 19, 2016

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

OMAHA, NE – Senator Heath Mello (District 5-South Omaha), Chairman of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement on the Nebraska Department of Revenue’s June 2016 General Fund Receipts:

“As I stated previously in May, it is clear that crafting a state budget with minimal growth will need to be the focus of Governor Ricketts and the next Legislature.

Last month as a precaution, state agencies were asked to submit 8% of potential budget reductions during this upcoming biennium to provide Governor Ricketts and the next Legislature with more flexibility during the budget process.

Unlike many other states, Nebraska has responsibly maintained a ‘Rainy Day’ fund over the past five years to help weather unforeseen revenue declines like we saw this past year. This conservative approach positions the state to protect key investments in education and infrastructure despite revenue volatility.

While the Tax Rate Review Committee will meet later this month to discuss our current fiscal climate, I believe this unforeseen revenue shortfall requires all state agencies to begin re-evaluating all budget priorities for the upcoming biennium.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2016

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

OMAHA, NE – Senator Heath Mello (District 5 – South Omaha), Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement on the Nebraska Department of Revenue’s April 2016 General Fund Receipts:

“It’s clear from the General Fund receipts for last month that building a state budget with minimal growth will be the focus of the 2017 legislative session.”

“Because of the Legislature’s decision to maintain a healthy Rainy Day fund over the past four years, Nebraska is well-positioned to weather future revenue volatility like what we are seeing from the last few months’ receipts.”

“As we discussed this past session, very difficult decisions about state priorities lie ahead as state agencies begin building their budget requests for next year.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2016

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

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

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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