Sen. Seat Vacant
District 07


January 7th, 2015

Welcome to the official website of Nebraska’s 7th Legislative District! As your representative in the Nebraska Unicameral, I am committed to being an independent leader that brings your voice to the State Capitol.

I hope this website will allow me, and my staff, to communicate with you about the issues you care about. Please, let me know what’s on your mind by contacting my office, and check back often for important news and information.

Working for you,

Senator Jeremy Nordquist

Sen. Nordquist Announces Resignation

May 28th, 2015

Nordquist will serve as chief of staff to Congressman Ashford

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Contact, Jeremy Nordquist

Omaha, NE – Today, state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist announced he will resign his seat in the Nebraska Legislature on June 30, 2015 and begin serving as the chief of staff to Congressman Brad Ashford (NE-2) on July 1, 2015.

“It has been an honor representing the people of downtown and South Omaha in the Nebraska Legislature for the past seven years,” said Sen. Nordquist. “The Unicameral is a truly unique institution that facilitates thoughtful discussion and debate about critical issues facing our state. I feel blessed to have been a part of it.”

In the 2015 legislative session, Sen. Nordquist successfully passed legislation to allow immigrant youth to obtain a driver’s license in Nebraska. In 2014, Nordquist sponsored and led a successful petition drive to increase the state’s minimum wage to $9 per hour.

Sen. Nordquist’s legislative accomplishments also include enacting legislation to:
• reform state defined-benefit pension plans;
• incentivize the preservation and rehabilitation of historic properties;
• promote utilization of natural gas as a transportation fuel;
• expand telehealth services in rural communities;
• enhance health care cost transparency for consumers;
• establish school-based health centers;
• ensure cancer patients have access to oral chemotherapy treatment; and
• restrict access to tanning beds for teenagers.

As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Nordquist advocated for more direct property tax relief for homeowners and increased funding for early childhood education, health centers and higher education.

“I’m proud of these accomplishments that will strengthen Nebraska for generations to come,” said Nordquist. “I’m also very thankful to all of the great people around the Legislature that have helped me accomplish them.”

“Now, I am excited for the opportunity to help Congressman Ashford continue his bipartisan work on behalf of the families and businesses of the 2nd Congressional District,” Nordquist said. “Congressman Ashford is committed to breaking the gridlock in Washington and I will do everything I can to assist him in that effort.”

Sen. Jeremy Nordquist was elected to represent District 7 in the Nebraska Legislature in 2008 and reelected in 2012. Sen. Nordquist is the chairman of the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee and is a member of the Appropriations Committee and Rules Committee. In 2010, Sen. Nordquist was selected to serve as the chairman of the Health Committee for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). He now serves as a member of the NCSL Executive Committee.

Sen. Nordquist’s term would officially have ended in Jan. 2017. The vacancy will result in Gov. Rickett’s first appointment to the Legislature until the term expires. Former state Sen. John Synowiecki is currently the only announced candidate for the seat held by Nordquist.

Nordquist Proposes Drivers’ Licenses for Immigrant Youth

January 21st, 2015

Expresses willingness to work with administration

LINCOLN—Today, state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist introduced legislation aimed to help deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) recipients obtain drivers’ licenses in Nebraska.

“The issue in Nebraska today is we have young, talented people with DACA temporary relief who are allowed to stay here and obtain work permits, but our state is refusing to allow them to get a driver’s license,” Nordquist said. “In Nebraska, it can be hard or nearly impossible to get to work without a car. Why would we want to limit their abilities to work and contribute to our economy?”

DACA is a policy that was established in June of 2012, which allows individuals who demonstrate that they meet certain guidelines to be exempt from deportation for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and they also may be eligible for employment authorization.

The guidelines include that the individuals: were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday; have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making their request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS; are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

In August 2012, Dave Heineman, who served as Nebraska’s governor at that time, announced his decision to deny driver’s licenses to DACA recipients.

“We hope to work with the current administration to reverse this policy decision and bring Nebraska in line with all 49 other states,” Nordquist said. “As Nebraska taxpayers, we have invested thousands of dollars in K-12 and higher education for each of the nearly 2,300 DACA recipients. Without action on driver’s licenses, these promising individuals will take their education that we have invested in to one of the 49 other states with less barriers to their success.”

Dayana Lopez, of Omaha, is one of the 2,300 DACA recipients in Nebraska who is being denied a driver’s license.

“For the majority of my life I have called Nebraska home, and it’s a state that has provided my family and myself with a lot of opportunities,” Lopez said. “But for me personally, I don’t understand why Nebraska continues to be the only state that does not provide drivers’ licenses for DACA recipients.”

Lopez said that Nebraska’s policy not only limits her ability to drive, but that it has also held her back from other opportunities that would have helped her to grow professionally.

“As a student and a worker, like so many other DACA recipients, it is difficult to depend on others for a ride,” Lopez said. “This bill will not only allow me and the more than 2,300 DACA recipients to drive, but will help us achieve our dreams to work, study and live in Nebraska.”

Norqduist and Pansing Brooks Introduce Economic Security Legislation

January 20th, 2015

Bills would provide sick and safe leave, increase EITC and tipped wage

LINCOLN—Today, state Sens. Nordquist and Pansing Brooks introduced a package of bills aimed to help Nebraska workers, including bills that would increase the tipped minimum wage and earned income tax credit (EITC) and also would require employers to provide paid sick and safe leave.

“Nebraskans are working harder than ever but are continuing to fall further and further behind,” said Nordquist. “It’s clear from the petition effort to raise the minimum wage that a vast majority of Nebraskans want their policymakers to stand up and fight for families struggling to make ends meet.”

LB 494 would increase the state’s tipped minimum wage from its current $2.13 per hour to 50 percent of the minimum wage by 2017—or $4.50 per hour.

“The restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the national economy, currently accounting for nearly one in 12 private-sector workers,” Nordquist said. “At $2.13 per hour, restaurant workers’ wages are lower than other occupational categories and 90 percent of restaurant workers nationwide do not receive paid sick days, paid vacation or health insurance through their employer.”

Nordquist also introduced LB 493—the Healthy and Safe Families Workplaces Act—which would allow employees to accrue a minimum of one hour of paid sick and safe time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year.

“Not only do paid sick days provide workers with the economic stability they need to care for themselves and their families, but it also results in reduced government spending on public assistance and promotes savings for employers,” Nordquist said. “There is a direct link between job quality and the long-term success and stability of a business. Poor job quality increases employee turnover costs and diminish service quality which can impact the success and profitability of a business.”

Recent poling shows that 61 percent of Nebraskans support requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees.

Pansing Brooks introduced LB 495 to gradually increase the EITC from its current 10 percent of the allowable federal credit to 15 percent by Jan. 2017.

“Research shows that the EITC provides work, income, educational and health benefits, not only to the recipients, but also their children as they do better in school, are likelier to attend college and earn more as adults,” Pansing Brooks said. “This is a modest increase that will pay off tremendously in the future by creating an incentive to work and breaking the poverty cycle.”

Nordquist Introduces Legislation to Grow Nebraska’s Bioscience Industry

January 15th, 2015

Bill would provide tax incentives, create block grants

LINCOLN—Today, state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, along with co-sponsors Sens. Davis, Mello, Schilz and Williams, introduced the Bioscience Impact Opportunity Act—LB 331—to encourage high-wage bioscience job opportunities in Nebraska through tax incentives and a newly created grant program.

“We want to encourage job creation in the bioscience sector because the average wages to those workers are well above those earned by their counterparts in the private sector and in other major industries,” Nordquist said. “While Nebraska has a sizable and diversified academic bioscience base, it has not kept pace with the growth at the national level.”

Nebraska growth in the major bioscience field totaled 9.2 percent from 2004-2008, while the national average during that same time period was 22.3 percent.

Neighboring states of Kansas, Iowa and South Dakota are recruiting life science companies to locate there by providing affordable lab space and establishing incentive programs that are not currently offered in Nebraska.

“As a relatively young industry, the bioscience community has delivered high wages and significant job growth for Nebraska,” said Phil Kozera, the executive director for Bio Nebraska Life Sciences Association. “The support provided in the Bioscience Impact Opportunity Act is advantageous to growing high-wage opportunities for Nebraskans throughout the state by supporting the expansion, retention, and recruitment of biotech companies and entrepreneurs.”

Nordquist’s bill would provide a transferable tax credit, which would include: a 10 percent investment credit; a six percent wage credit for wages that are paid at 150 percent of the average Nebraska wage; a sales tax refund for capital purchases; and a personal property tax exemption.

The bill also would create a bioscience block grant for expansion or start-up companies with ten or fewer employees, designed to foster employment, encourage research and development, investment in real property and improvement and investment in equipment and supplies. The grants would be governed by an 11 member board comprised of individuals who are experts in life sciences and are familiar with current research trends.

“The goal is to make Nebraska a national leader in biosciences, including agriculture, energy, animal and human health care and medical devices,” Nordquist said. “By promoting research and development in these areas, we can grow our economy and improve the quality of life for the citizens of our state.”

Nordquist Introduces Women’s Preventive Health Package

January 8th, 2015

Estimated $28.5 million potential savings in Medicaid program

LINCOLN—Today, as a part of the Women’s Get Covered Week of Action, Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist announced he is introducing legislation that would require the state Department of Health and Human Services to submit a state plan amendment to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide medical assistance for family planning services for persons whose family earned income is at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

“States who have obtained family planning waivers have saved millions of dollars in their own Medicaid programs,” Nordquist said. “A focus on prevention in women’s health will create healthier families and communities and will reduce health care costs, as well as social and economic costs in the long run.”

The Legislative Fiscal Office estimates that this legislation would save $4.17 for every dollar spent, totaling $28.5 million.

Reports show that half of all pregnancies in the United States each year—more than three million—are unintended; by the age 45, more than half of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, while three in 10 will have had an abortion.

“We can improve the health of families in Nebraska by offering preventive health care services and empowering people to make healthier choices for themselves and their families,” Nordquist said.

Currently 29 states, including neighboring states of Iowa and Missouri, have obtained federal approval to extend Medicaid eligibility for family planning services to individuals who would otherwise not be eligible. Sixteen states operate their programs under a waiver from the federal government; 13 states operate their programs through a state plan amendment.

The bill also would appropriate $500,000 in fiscal year 2015-16 and FY16-17 to fund education and outreach as well as services for medically underserved women including: mammograms; breast examinations; pap smears; colposcopy; associated laboratory costs; and preventive health and family planning services.

“Good health comes from investing in prevention,” Nordquist said.

To sign up for health care coverage beginning in 2015 visit

Sen. Nordquist Addresses State Retirement Actuarial Studies

November 19th, 2014


Positive progress, but work left to do

Lincoln—Actuarial results released Monday show that the Nebraska’s School Employees Retirement Plan requires no additional contribution in fiscal year 2015 and is funded at 83 percent. The funding benchmark for a healthy retirement plan is 80 percent.

Today, we received positive news about that status of our state’s defined benefit pension plans,” said state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, chair of the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee. “It’s clear from the new actuarial results that the significant reforms we made to the School Employees Retirement Plan in 2013 under LB 553 have put that plan on a sustainable path forward.”

While some politicians in our state wanted to kick-the-can down the road and not fund our legal pension obligation, the Legislature supported my initiative to increase contribution rates on school employees and employers and reduce benefits for new employees,” said Nordquist. “In Nebraska, we take care of our financial obligations first. These reforms were important and reflect the fiscally responsible budgeting that Nebraskans expect.”

Nebraska’s Judge’s Retirement Plan requires an additional $750,000 for FY 2015 and is funded at 93 percent. Nebraska’s State Patrol Retirement Plan has a $3.9 million actuarial required contribution and is funded at 81 percent.

While all of our defined benefit plans are funded above the benchmark level for healthy plans, we still have work to do,” said Nordquist. “We are seeing a reduction in court fees collected into the Judge’s Retirement Plan. Also, the lack of growth in the State Patrol workforce has significantly contributed to structural problems in the plan that need to be addressed.”

The good news is that the Legislature is not afraid to step up and take fiscally responsible action to make the needed reforms,” said Nordquist.


Nordquist pushes for minimum wage increase

July 24th, 2014

LINCOLN—Today marks the five-year anniversary of the last time Congress raised the federal minimum wage to its current $7.25 per hour. Despite the growing level of worker productivity and cost of living increases, wages have remained stagnant.

“Raising the minimum wage helps working families, creates jobs and boosts communities and the entire economy,” said state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist. “The reward for hard work should be the ability to support your family and live off of your wages. Nebraska families don’t want a handout, they want to work and provide for their family. But the current minimum wage doesn’t allow them to meet their family’s basic needs.”

The minimum wage would be $18.67 per hour—nearly two and a half times the current minimum wage—if it had kept pace with productivity growth since 1968. In Nebraska, there are 32,000 workers who make at or below minimum wage. At $7.25 per hour, a worker working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year makes $15,080 per year, which is below the federal poverty line for families of two or more persons.

Recently released data from the Department of Labor shows that states that have increased their minimum wages added jobs at a faster pace that those that did not.

“With the federal minimum wage having fallen so far behind the pace of inflation and worker productivity, minimum wage workers today are making less than they did in 1968,” Nordquist said. “If Congress won’t raise the minimum wage, then Nebraskans all across the state will continue to take action to support working families in our communities and to grow our economy.”

Nordquist, along with state Sen. Danielle Conrad and other various advocacy groups, recently collected 134,899 citizen signatures that were submitted to the secretary of state in favor of a ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage in Nebraska to $9 per hour by 2016. The ballot measure is likely to qualify for the general election ballot, providing registered Nebraska voters the opportunity to vote on a minimum wage increase this November.



Gov. Heineman Urged to Apply for State Paid Leave Analysis Grant

July 16th, 2014

LINCOLN—State legislators and community organizations including AARP Nebraska, The

Center for People in Need, Holland Children’s Movement, Nebraska Appleseed and

Voices for Children in Nebraska, have come together to urge Governor Heineman to

take advantage of an important opportunity to analyze the impact of paid family leave

for Nebraska workers and employers. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently sent

letters to state governors alerting them about an upcoming opportunity to apply for a

State Paid Leave analysis grant from DOL. According to the DOL, only 11 percent of U.S.

workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, while less than 40

percent have access to personal medical leave through employer-provided temporary

disability insurance.

“We cannot afford to ignore this issue any longer. As more women increasingly enter

the workforce and contribute significantly to the economy, the landscape of American

and Nebraska families is changing. Failure of government and business to adapt to these

changes creates significant and unnecessary financial burdens on our entire economy,”

state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist said. “Workers without paid leave often have no choice but

to take unpaid leave or quit their jobs when illness strikes or a child needs care. We

would like to work with Governor Heineman to study this issue that is so critical to

Nebraska’s economy and families.”

A June study by the National Partnership for Women and Families was conducted

ranking state policies that support new parents just before and soon after the arrival of

a new child. The study gave Nebraska an “F”, citing the fact that Nebraska laws do not

expand upon federal rights or protections for new and expecting parents as a key reason

for the rating.

Sen. Annette Dubas introduced a related bill the last legislative session by introducing LB

955—the Paid Family Leave Act—which would have created a family leave program that

provided income replacement to eligible workers for family care giving or bonding with

a new child. LB 955 was not enacted. As a result, state legislators and community groups

would like to take advantage of the opportunity to further study the impact of this issue

specifically on Nebraska families.

“The first few weeks after birth or adoption are so important for families and young

children. We need to ensure that Nebraskans are able to put family first during

significant life events without having to worry about how to pay the bills,” said Carolyn

Rooker, Executive Director at Voices for Children in Nebraska. “This study would be an

important first step in building more family friendly workplaces.”

It is required that the governor’s office submits the application and they only have 30

days to apply. The DOL gave the 30-day timeline as they must spend the $500,000,

available for up to five states, before the end of the fiscal year.

Health insurance enrollment deadline approaching

March 24th, 2014
State senators and stakeholders urge individuals to get covered
LINCOLN — State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, alongside fellow state senators, discussed the importance of getting health care coverage and the upcomingMarch 31 deadline for individuals  to enroll in a plan in the Marketplace for coverage starting in 2014. 
“My personal enrollment on was very simple and took me about 20 minutes,” Nordquist said. “The days of long insurance applications asking for your complete medical history are gone. Under the Affordable Care Act, I know that my application cannot be denied for a preexisting condition and, once enrolled, my policy cannot be taken away if I get sick.”
Nordquist said that as of the end of February, over 25,000 Nebraskans had enrolled in the Marketplace; thirty-seven percent were under the age of 35 and 87 percent had received some sort of financial assistance. 
Representatives from community action groups and federally qualified health centers also discussed the enrollment process and how to utilize appropriate resources to get health insurance coverage on the Marketplace.
“With only a week left to enroll, Community Action Agencies all across Nebraska are available to make the process as easy as possible for Nebraskans,” said Community Action of Nebraska Executive Director Amber Hansen. “Our experience has been that most people are pleasantly surprised by the ease and affordability of obtaining health insurance through the new Marketplace.”
The deadline for coverage to take effect in 2014 is Monday, March 31. Individuals who do not enroll by the deadline cannot get private health insurance inside the Marketplace until the next open enrollment period starts.
Individuals who remain uninsured may be subject to pay on their 2015 income taxes a fee of either one percent of their income or $95 per adult ($47.50 per child), whichever is higher. Health plans outside the open enrollment period can be purchased if certain qualifications are met for a special enrollment period.
“Last week alone, there were between 800,000 and 900,000 visits per day to,” Nordquist said. “Interest in getting health insurance coverage is peaking, so Nebraskans should enroll soon.” 
To get enrolled in the Marketplace, visit Trained navigators are available to assist individuals, families and small businesses purchasing health insurance coverage through the Marketplace. Local navigators can be found at or by calling 402-471-3714. Local help can be found throughout Nebraska by going to and clicking on the link “Find Local Help,” then entering a zip code.