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Last Wednesday marked the beginning of my second session representing District 7 in the Legislature. I am so excited to get back to work on behalf of the wonderful people of District 7.
On the first day of the legislative session, I was honored to be elected by my peers to serve as Vice Chair of the Executive Board, a role that will require the continuation of the bipartisan, consensus-forming approach that I have taken during my first two years in office.
Before discussing what my plans are for this legislative session, I want to take a moment to revisit all that we have accomplished in just two years. My work has been marked with a commitment to developing positive working relationships with Senators from every corner of our state and from a wide range of ideological perspectives. Together, we have been able to pass legislation and a budget that is fair to as many of our Nebraska neighbors and communities as possible.
I have been honored to serve on the Appropriations Committee under Chairman Stinner and Vice Chair Bolz, two great leaders, which has given me critical experience in having difficult conversations to resolve differences and find compromises to balance our budget and make smart investments for our future while best serving Nebraskans.
Last session, I introduced and unanimously passed my priority bill on payday lending reform, LB194. Working together with the Banking Committee and a bipartisan coalition of urban and rural senators, we came together around a common goal that is supported by nearly 90% of Nebraskans. Together we took a pragmatic approach to tackle this important issue and began to bring more economic fairness to working families in our communities.
My values driven and consensus seeking philosophy has also been demonstrated through my work as Vice Chair of the Legislature’s Planning Committee and as Co-Chair of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, where I have worked together with stakeholders on common sense, evidence based, cost-efficient juvenile justice reform. Just last year we took a huge step in child welfare and passed my bill to end detention for children under the age of 12 for good with a supermajority vote.
We are currently in the process of introducing bills (you can keep an eye on introduced legislation here), and on the second day of the session, I introduced LB50 & LB51. LB50 is a bill that will adjust state income tax brackets, creating an additional bracket of 7.84% for those making more than $100,000, and levy an additional 1% tax for those making more than $1 million and 2% for those making more than $2 million. I have always been an advocate for economic fairness, and my goal with this bill is to alleviate the tax burden placed on low income and middle class families and more evenly place it on our state’s highest earners. LB51 upholds free market principles and consumer choice by allowing Tesla to sell their automobiles in Nebraska for the first time. Over the next eight days, I plan to introduce many more bills that are important to the people of District 7.
On a personal note, the next couple of months will become even more exciting as my wife, Lauren, and I welcome our first child in the spring. Though nerve-wracking, I am so grateful to be able to bring our baby girl into a community as wonderful, loving, and caring as District 7.
All the best,