I wanted to write you all with an update on the accomplishments that I made on your behalf this legislative session. Despite the economic crisis affecting us all, your state government balanced the budget without raising your taxes. Difficult cuts were made and as a result your government is leaner than ever before.
Here is an outline of accomplishments this session:
LB 502 (Cook) – Health care careers are high paying and in demand. This law adds a health care employer to the State Workforce Development Board and adds a duty for that board to develop a plan to reduce the current shortage of health care workers in the state and create these high-paying careers.
LB 406 (Cook) – One-half ofNebraska counties have a shortage of primary care physicians. This law allows for physicians who may have left the practice of medicine to raise a family or to serve as a medical volunteer to have a means to become re-licensed to practice in the State ofNebraska.
LB 329 (Cook) -Nebraska’s energy code was outdated. This law adopts the most current national building standards that will save home and building owners up to 30% on their energy costs. LB 329 gives Nebraskan owners and renters the highest standards of energy efficiency.
LB 543 (Cook) – LB 543 helps the almost one in ten Nebraskan families, elderly, and people with disabilities who struggle with food insecurity. This law enrollsNebraska in a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach program operated through a public-private partnership and funded byNebraska non-profits. LB 543 also removes an existing policy that prevented Nebraskans in need of temporary nutrition assistance from building long-term assets that will help them out of poverty.
LB 152 (Lathrop) – My priority bill this year, this law saves each of our local trauma-care hospitals up to one million dollars per year. At a time when these critical institutions are taking severe cuts, LB 152 ensures that hospitals are reimbursed fairly when they care for Nebraskans injured at work.
LB 628 (Cook) – This law enables political subdivisions (counties, cities and public utilities) to donate surplus vehicles toNebraska non-profit organizations. Our local governments and utilities can now donate surplus vehicles toNebraska non-profit organizations. These vehicles will aid in the missions of our non-profits and provide reliable transportations to those in need.
LB 500 (Cook) – This law ensures no one is burdened with a criminal record for the simple and common act of hanging an air-freshener or a parking permit from their rear-view mirror.
In addition to my introduced and prioritized legislation, the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature tackled other tough issues.
Metropolitan Community College’s proportion of state aid increased significantly under a compromise funding formula resulting from a full two years of intense work on the issue. This will help keep your property taxes down and provide Metro with the resources they need to train and re-tool our workforce for the future.
Nebraska’s Commission on Industrial Relations (CIR) was subject to a thorough and fair reform which will save taxpayer dollars while preserving collective bargaining rights for public sector employees.
The decennial redistricting process occurred this year. While I am personally disappointed with the changes in the 2nd Congressional District removingBellevue and Offutt Air Force Base, our Legislative District showed strong growth in the U.S. Census and remains a vibrant community.
I am extremely proud to have introduced, prioritized, and passed these laws. Each of them addresses the real needs of our State and key priorities of Legislative District 13. Thank you all for your support and input throughout the session. As always, it is an honor to represent you.