NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Megan Hunt

Sen. Megan Hunt

District 8

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at mhunt@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 6th, 2021

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 8th 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.

Sincerely,
Sen. Megan Hunt

A day before the riot at the Capitol, robocalls were sent from the Republican Attorneys General Association, urging them to march on the Capitol to “stop the steal” and “continue to fight to protect the integrity of our election.”  Today (1.10.21) I filed a public records request to see to what extent public funds have supported Attorney General Doug Peterson’s membership of RAGA, including any impact those funds may have had in organizing support for the Capitol riot.

We need accountability for how these funds were used and for who is responsible. Those behind this dangerous attack an attack on the Capitol that left 5 people dead and directly targeted our elected representatives need to be condemned and punished. Every public official should agree: To let this insurrection pass without a full investigation would set a dangerous precedent for the future of our democracy.

————

Below is a copy of the request I sent to Attorney General Doug Peterson:

Mr. Peterson:

         This is a request under Nebraska public records law.

         Of course you are aware of the horrible events of January 6, 2021 in Washington D.C when hundreds of supporters of outgoing-President Donald J. Trump invaded the Capitol building.  Using social media and news outlets favorable to him, President Trump and others summoned and encouraged supporters to travel to Washington D.C. for a “MAGA Rally” to coincide with the ceremonial electoral vote counting and certification process that Congress was performing on that same day.  Shortly before the invasion of the Capitol, President Trump addressed the crowds of people who had assembled and told them that “[I]f you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore” and he urged them to move to the Capitol[1].  After being so encouraged, President Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol and caused significant property damage to the offices and the building, stole or defaced personal and public property, and created circumstances that resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer who was attempting to defend the Capitol and those who worked there.  Not only were these acts criminal and shocking, they were an international embarrassment and disgrace, compounded with the involvement and support of the President and other elected officials, and it was a dramatic challenge to our democratic system.

         Subsequent news outlets have reported that a number of groups and entities provided financial and logistical support to those organizing and coordinating the protest gathering in Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021.  One of these groups apparently includes the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA).  According to NBC News, a component or affiliate entity of RAGA, the Rule of Law Defense Fund (RLDF), funded a robo-call campaign to urge people to go to the Capitol on January 6, 2021 and, according to the robo-call recordings explained that “At 1 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal” of the election.[2]  Also, a website promoting the January 6, 2021 rally listed RLDF as a promoter and sponsor of the event.[3]

         According to its website, you are a member of RAGA.[4]  I am sure you would agree that the people of Nebraska have a right to know whether their public funds have supported your membership in this organization, including the extent their public funds may have supported the RLDF, and similarly the involvement and extent that their funds have supported any efforts you or your office may have had in organizing, encouraging, or providing any support of arranging attendance or disseminating information of the January 6, 2021 event in Washington D.C.  I am seeking documents relating to these questions.

         For purposes of this request:

  • “Documents” includes notes, memos, emails, text messages, faxes, letters or written items of any kind whether in paper format or electronic format, including recordings of virtual communications, video conferencing, or web conferencing.  This includes notes of telephone communications, virtual communications, or emails memorializing telephone conversations or virtual communications.
  • “RAGA” means the Republican Attorneys General Association. 
  • “RLDF” means the Rule of Law Defense Fund, an entity or subgroup or affiliate of RAGA.
  • “Your office” means the Attorney General’s office of the State of Nebraska and includes you, Doug Peterson, and all employees of the Attorney General office acting in their official capacity or on behalf of your office and/or the State of Nebraska.  This would include, but not be limited to, when you or such employee is using any state-owned or leased office space, computer, telephonic equipment, electronic communication device.  It would also include when you or any employee is not using state-owned or leased office space, but when you or such employee is accessing or using any computer, telephonic equipment, electronic communication device, database, or any other program or software that is maintained or provided by the state, regardless as to whether you or such employee is physically located in a state office building or on state-owned or state-leased property, such as when such employee is working from home due to COVID-19 protocols or for other reasons.  

 

         The materials I am requesting are limited to the time period of November 4, 2020 to January 10, 2021 except where noted below:

  1. Any documents including email, letter, phone message, or other communication with your office and RAGA, and with your office and the RLDF, and with your office and any individuals or organizations or entities acting or operating on behalf of RAGA and/or RLDF relating to discussion, planning, organizing, suggesting, or providing any support of the January 6, 2021 event in Washington D.C. described earlier in this correspondence.
  1. Any documents or records of public funds, including any invoice, contract, check, receipt, or contribution, or similar record to pay for membership or sponsorship or dues for RAGA, RLDF, or any person, organization, or entity operating on behalf of RAGA and/or RLDF for the time period of January 1, 2019 to January 10, 2021.
  1. Any documents including email, letter, telephone message or other communication between your office and Governor of Nebraska Pete Ricketts, or the Governor’s office, the Governor’s Budget Office, Governor’s Policy Research Office, regarding RAGA, RLDF, or any person, organization, or entity operating on behalf of RAGA and/or RLDF regarding the January 6, 2021 event in Washington D.C. described earlier in this correspondence.

         As you know, Nebraska state law requires a response to an open records request to be made within four (4) days of receipt. Please advise if you require additional time.

         When the documents relevant to this request are ready, you may provide them in electronic form or, if you are providing in paper form, please let me know and I will make arrangements in my office to access those.

         I look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,

Senator Megan Hunt,

District 8

CC:   Members of the Legislature

      Members of the press   

 

[1] https://time.com/5926883/trump-supporters-storm-capitol/

[2] https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/republican-ags-group-sent-robocalls-urging-march-capitol-n1253581

[3] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-08/republican-ags-group-disavows-staff-ties-to-pre-riot-march

[4]https://republicanags.com/ags/doug-peterson/ 

 

Constituent Survey

Click here to take the district 8 legislative survey!

Please encourage your friends, neighbors, family, and coworkers to fill out this survey as well. It is essential for your representation to hear from as many constituents as possible.

If you would prefer to have a survey mailed to you, please email your address to cross@leg.ne.gov and one will be sent to you. Thank you in advance for sharing your perspectives with me. I look forward to reading your surveys.

Virtual Town Hall Video

You can watch my full virtual town hall here. It is also posted on my Youtube and Facebook pages. 

I apologize for any inconvenience you may have encountered while trying to watch the event. Our first virtual town hall highlighted some issues for us, but they will all be fixed before our next event! Thank you all for watching and engaging with me.

Virtual Town Hall 10/25 – 2pm
October 19th, 2020

Join Senator Megan Hunt for her first Virtual Town Hall event! It will take place on October 25th at 2 pm. The event will be live-streamed via Zoom, Youtube, and Facebook on Senator Hunt’s pages.

Everyone is invited to attend the live stream via Facebook and Youtube. If you are a constituent, please register for the event via Zoom here. This will allow you to participate in the live Q&A at the end of the Town Hall. Questions can also be submitted by constituents and the general public by emailing them to cross@leg.ne.gov or calling them in at 402-471-2722 prior to the event.

Today, the Nebraska Legislature passed the Nebraska Fair Pay to Play Act. LB 962, introduced by Senator Megan Hunt, provides a path for college athletes to receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness rights.

“With more than twenty-five state looking at this issue, Nebraska has an opportunity to be a leader in providing economic freedoms to college athletes. College athletes are the only students on campuses across Nebraska that are prevented from earning money from their reputation as an athlete, or from their own skill and talent,” Hunt said. “The vast majority of college athletes, even those with scholarships, struggle to make ends meet because unlike their fellow students, they can’t leverage their skills to earn a living. LB 962 is our chance to align these athletes with the rest of the student population and restore their right to earn a wage for their talent and skills.”

The bill provides for all student-athletes enrolled in public and private four-year colleges and universities in Nebraska to earn money from endorsements, sponsorships, and any other activities related to their athletic skills,” Hunt said. “Under current law, athletes cannot participate in the modern economy and are barred from doing things as simple as posting a sponsored post on social media or coaching private lessons in the off-season.” The delayed implementation date of 2023 provides ample time for colleges and the NCAA to prepare for this change.

Nebraska the third state in the nation to enact name, image, and likeness rights legislation. “We are already leading on this issue, exemplified by the University of Nebraska which is already at the forefront of providing a name, image, and likeness program for athletes,” Hunt said. “By restoring college athletes’ rights, we’re sending a clear message to students across the country: you’re welcome in Nebraska.”

Dear friends and neighbors,

Today I requested State Auditor Charlie Janssen to perform a financial audit and investigation of the operation of Test Nebraska in order to ensure that the state funds are being properly and judiciously spent.

TestNebraska is comprised of a number of out of state companies with little prior experience in mass testing, contact tracing, or pandemic treatment. TestNebraska promised to administer 3,000 tests a day. However, throughout June, the average daily test rate has been 1,200 – considerably less than half of the stated goal of 3,000 daily tests.

I appreciate that we are in an unprecedented time in our state with respect to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. But in our current budget situation, a $27 million award with barely any debate and no competitive bidding needs to be looked at closely. In short, I want to know whether Nebraskans are getting their money’s worth and whether the millions we are paying these companies are actually going to testing Nebraskans for COVID-19.

A report generated by the Iowa State Auditor of their similar TestIowa program, which is administered in partnership with the same companies behind TestNebraska, found that TestIowa took “pointless risks” and increased liabilities to the state. Related to the claims of accuracy, in mid-June of 2020 a number of investors sued one of the TestNebraska companies (Co-Diagnostics) in Utah federal court alleging that executives had misrepresented their Logix COVID-19 test as being “100% accurate” and that company directors, officers and scientists “made continual, knowing and willful misstatements” about their COVID-19 test to inflate the Co-Diagnostics’ stock price.

I have urged the State Auditor to consider these areas of focus in any audit performed of Test Nebraska:

  • Is the quantity, or rate, of testing sufficient to justify our state spending this kind of money to TestNebraska
  • Is the quality, or accuracy of the testing similar to or consistent with other testing being done in Nebraska by area hospitals or clinics?
  • What is the actual rate of accuracy of the testing of TestNebraska?
  • What measures or efforts were taken to protect Nebraskan’s private health information that is collected by TestNebraska?
Read the Request to the Nebraska Auditor
 

As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov. Please continue to wear a mask, maintain a 6′ social distance between others, and stay home as much as possible. I will continue to do everything I can through policy to keep you and your family safe, but without wider government leadership, you must choose to do what’s best for your own health.

Keep safe,
Meg

Changes to Unemployment
July 12th, 2020
Dear friends and neighbors,

Last week, Governor Ricketts announced that he was bringing back job search requirements for unemployed Nebraskans earlier than planned. Is that great? No — during this pandemic, this is not what’s best for Nebraskans. In the most economically robust of times, many people make convincing arguments for the need to ensure that the unemployed are motivated to continue to seek jobs, but that is not where we are today. My office has been contacted daily by Nebraskans who are confused and distraught about these new requirements. For example, many workers who are temporarily laid off with the expectation that they will be rehired do not want to waste time searching for jobs they do not intend to keep. On the flip side, employers don’t want the hassle of processing applications and training new employees who may not intend to stay. With this order, Governor Ricketts has introduced unnecessary friction into an already anxious economy. It doesn’t help.

But it’s where we are. And here is no hope for the Legislature to do anything to stop this. So let me help you understand it.

The Department of Labor has put together a helpful FAQ for workers who have been furloughed or have been working intermittently for their employer during this pandemic. It also includes Q&A for employers on how they can let the department know if they have employees on furlough that they want to bring back, and includes a form that employers can use to ask for an extension if needed.

Work Search FAQs for Workers
Form for Employers to Request an Extension
 

As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov. Please continue to wear a mask, maintain a 6′ social distance between others, and stay home as much as possible. I will continue to do everything I can through policy to keep you and your family safe, but without wider government leadership, you must choose to do what’s best for your own health.

Keep safe,
Meg

Community Cares Act Grants
June 29th, 2020

Grants Available to Community Orgs

Dear friends and neighbors,

The Department of Health & Human Services is pleased to announce three funding opportunities for charitable organizations and providers. Please share this information with anyone who you think could benefit from it. The first grant application opens on Monday, June 29.

DHHS says they are committed to prioritizing funds for underserved communities, including areas of high poverty and areas disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Community CARES Stabilization Grant

  • One-time payment of at least $12,000 for charitable organizations and eligible provider organizations. Applicants must have sustained increased costs and/or lower revenue/income due to COVID-19. Total allocation: $40 million
  • Applications open: June 29-July 6, 2020
  • To apply: http://dhhs.ne.gov/CommunityCares

Community CARES Response and Recovery Grant

  • Competitive grant opportunity for non-profits and eligible provider organizations that will help children, families and communities respond to and recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Funding can be used for homelessness prevention assistance, shelters, meal delivery for individuals with food access barriers, telehealth resources, PPE, community health services, behavioral health services, sanitation of public spaces, and more. Applications must include measurable outcomes. Funding is subject to federal grant subrecipient requirements and must be expended by December 30, 2020.
  • Awards expected to be in the range of $50,000-$2,000,000.
  • Total allocation: $43 million
  • Applications open: July 1-8, 2020
  • To apply: http://dhhs.ne.gov/CommunityCares

Community CARES Healthy Places Grant for Child Care Centers and Places of Worship

  • Funds will be used for the purchase of PPE and cleaning supplies. These health and safety supplies will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across Nebraska. Total allocation: $2 million
  • Applications open: July 6-12, 2020
  • To apply: http://dhhs.ne.gov/CommunityCares
As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov.

Keep safe,
Meg

Dear friends and neighbors,

Hello Nebraskans, and especially my friends in District 8. Are you looking for an opportunity to serve? In Nebraska, our Governor has the power to appoint leaders for many of the state’s agencies, boards, and commissions. Those organizations may be as large as DHHS or the Department of Education, and as small as the Brand Committee or the Boiler Safety Code Advisory Board.

Each appointment is confirmed by the Legislature during a confirmation hearing. In my committees of Government, Military, and Veteran’s Affairs, Urban Affairs, and General Affairs, we have held confirmation hearings for several appointed positions. These hearings go through the same process as bills: the appointee answers questions from senators on the committee, and then members of the public are invited to testify in support, opposition, or in a neutral position on the appointment. The committee then votes on whether to send the appointment to the full Legislature, which debates the appointment and then votes on final confirmation. Most appointees are very well-qualified and well-vetted and sail through the process to begin serving the public.

These appointments on commissions and boards are an important way for citizens across the state to bring their expertise to policies and decisions made by our state government. I encourage you to consider serving, and to occasionally check the Governor’s webpage to see if there is an opening that is a good fit for you or someone you know. A list of current vacancies and the application form can be found at the following link! I would love to see more of my constituents, and more Nebraskans statewide, active in their local governments.

Please check this list out! See a complete list of the openings currently seeking applicants here.

Complete an online application for a board or commission here.

As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov.

Keep safe,
Meg

Dear friends and neighbors,

Today brings us historic news from the Supreme Court. In a landmark ruling, our nation’s highest court affirmed the rights of LGBTQ+ workers by finding that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. That means that a person cannot be fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a big deal.

Today is a victory for LGBTQ+ workers all over our country, especially in Nebraska where we have fought for years at the state level to enshrine these protections into law. We owe our gratitude to Aimee Stephens, Donald Zarda and Gerald Bostock, the LGBTQ+ workers who brought these cases all the way to the top. Sadly, only one of the three plaintiffs is still with us today — Don passed away in 2014 and, just this May, we lost Aimee, too. They deserved to be a part of this moment and we owe them so much thanks.

This much-needed win also comes in the midst of two epidemics: COVID-19, and racial violence, answered by the Black Lives Matter movement. A guarantee of employment protections like these couldn’t come at a better time, but it is not enough. I find myself happy about this Supreme Court decision, but not resting and not even really relieved. This is one long-overdue step in the fight for equality and fight against violence toward the LGBTQ+ community, which disproportionately affects Black people and people of color. We have to recognize and dismantle all policies that embolden those who stand on the side of inequality, and that work is not done.

I am the first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to the Nebraska Legislature in its 165-year history. To me, that is a dubious honor, because that much time should not have passed before we had a single person offering representation to our community at the state level. In 2020, we must elect more people from our LGBTQ+ community and continue to expand the diversity of representation across all intersections of identity and experience at the state and local level. The government doesn’t work for all the people until it reflects all the people.

In Nebraska, we must still pass LB627, Senator Patty Pansing Brooks’s priority bill to enshrine LGBTQ+ workplace protections at the state level and mirror federal law. This will be my expectation of my colleagues in the Nebraska Legislature.

Every person should have the freedom to work hard, earn a decent living, and provide for their families. Those aren’t just Nebraska values – they are American values.

As always, please let me know if I can be of any more assistance. Email is the best way to get in touch with me, at mhunt@leg.ne.gov.

Keep safe,
Meg

Sen. Megan Hunt

District 8
Room 1523
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2722
Email: mhunt@leg.ne.gov
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