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While it seems like the COVID-19 outbreak has caused the entire world to come to a stop, the 2020 Census is still underway and it is important every household participate in this nationwide count.
Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution requires a count of every person in the United States and five U.S. territories every ten years. The first census was in 1790 and it has been conducted every decade since despite the numerous challenges the nation has surely endured over the past 230 years. This year is no different and while we are facing some hard times, participating in the 2020 Census couldn’t be easier. For the first time in history, households can complete the census form online, by phone or by mail.
Why is participation in the Census important? The numbers gathered from the Census determine the flow of billions of federal tax dollars across the United State and its territories. Over $675 billion every year is given back to communities based on the census numbers to fund vital programs that involve housing, transportation, health care, education and employment, to name a few. Census numbers are also used to shape our congressional and legislative districts to ensure every citizen is equally represented.
Your household should have already received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census and may have received a census questionnaire as well. Eventually census takers will be visiting households that have not responded to ensure every person is counted. In an effort to protect census field workers from the novel coronavirus, the U.S. Census Bureau has pushed back the dates for household interviews to late May through mid-August. You can do your part in protecting individuals by responding to your invitation to participate now: https://2020census.gov/en/ways-to-respond.html
Be safe, but please, be counted!
While the Second Session of the One-Hundred and Sixth Legislature was moving at a steady pace, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has virtually ground everything to a halt. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people. Given the fact the Legislature has 49 members, it has been determined the session should be postponed for the time being.
Governor Pete Ricketts has issued guidelines on what part you can play in slowing the spread of this coronavirus and what you should do if you suspect you have been exposed. I highly encourage you to view these guidelines and to continue to monitor the information posted on the Governor’s website: www.Governor.Nebraska.gov. The website also includes links to the CDC’s COVID-19 page.
Please make sure any information you are accessing comes from a reputable source. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous operations that will take advantage of this outbreak. Avoid opening unsolicited emails and any attachments in particular. Before making any charitable donations, make sure the organization is authentic and read the Federal Trade Commission’s information on charity scams: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0074-giving-charity
Though the Legislature’s session is “recessed” for now, our offices will continue to operate to serve the citizens of Nebraska. My emails will be checked regularly and the office phones monitored during this unprecedented and ever-evolving crisis.
Sen. John Arch invites students to youth legislature
High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth
Legislature June 7-10. At the State Capitol, student senators will sponsor bills, conduct
committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only
The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students who have an
interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate or public speaking.
Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators and staff.
“This is an excellent opportunity to learn about our democratic system of government in Nebraska,” according to Senator John Arch. “By taking part in this program, students can
experience the challenges and opportunities granted to our elected officials.”
Registrants are encouraged to apply for a Greg Adams Civic Scholarship award, which covers
the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other $100 scholarships are
The Office of the Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature coordinates the Unicameral Youth
Legislature. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office
coordinates housing and recreational activities as part of the Big Red Summer Camps program.
To learn more about the program, go to www.NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl or call (402) 471-
2788. The deadline for registration is May 15.
As I write, we are just over one third of the way through the short 60-day session of the 2020 Nebraska Legislature. We continue to make progress on addressing our priority issues and carefully consider proposed bills that make changes to state policy.
Chief among the priorities will be to improve upon and replace the Nebraska Advantage Act which provides business incentives to grow employment opportunities for our citizens. The current Nebraska Advantage Act is set to expire after this year. Without some form of a business incentive program, Nebraska will be at a disadvantage when trying to retain current and attract new businesses. This would hurt our economy.
Other priorities will be passing a tax relief package that reduces our property tax burden and makes Nebraska more competitive on personal income and corporate taxes. We are also addressing shortcomings in our juvenile detention facilities and prison system, and we are preparing for the implementation of Medicaid expansion.
As a result of using fiscally responsible policies in previous years, the state is anticipating a budget surplus coming into the new year. Projections for 2020 indicate that we will continue to see modest economic growth in the state. There are many Senators who would like to take the budget surplus and use it for the expansion of programs and new spending. I support using the surplus to bolster property tax relief and increase our rainy-day fund. How we use the surplus will be another issue to be addressed.
This session I have introduced twelve legislative bills. Several are technical bills to update current statutes. These bills will help our government be more efficient, effective, and provide better services for Nebraskans.
Some of the bills I proposed and would highlight are:
• LB837 which will require the Department of Health and Human Services to seek available federal funds through the Family First Prevention Services Act to help childcare providers with the cost of federally-mandated finger printing and background checks for their employees. This is an important child safety issue as we have seen in the news over the past several years.
• LB886 is a patient protection bill that will require providers to be clear about their participation in government and commercial programs. It prohibits using the terms “accepts” or “takes” as it relates to insurance unless the provider participates in the network or product. The use of the terms can be very misleading to patients. They may believe that the provider participates in a network and will, instead, be responsible for the full bill, or higher portion of the bill, if the provider is out of network.
• LB1011 requires any hospital licensed in Nebraska to participate in Medicare. As a result of participating in Medicare, hospitals must provide quality data, accept a fee schedule for Medicare patients that limits the amount they can charge, and not balance bill to the hospital’s full charges. The requirement to participate in Medicare would reduce unanticipated bills and improve transparency to all patients that use that facility.
• LB1158 is intended to help adults who apply for Medicaid benefits to improve their employment status and income. This requires DHHS to ask anyone applying for the new expanded Medicaid program if they would like assistance in career development (finding a job, or better job). This is the first of what I hope will become a bigger effort of helping those in poverty improve their lives through the state’s assistance.
I am also a proud co-sponsor on several other bills aimed workforce development, growing our economy, retaining our Veterans, and improving the overall quality of life for all Nebraskans.
I encourage you to follow your Legislature at nebraskalegislature.gov and to share your thoughts on the measures being discussed. You are always welcome to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at (402) 471-2730.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you in the Legislature.
Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 14th 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.
Sen. John Arch
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