NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Sen. John Arch

Sen. John Arch

District 14

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Second Session in Full Swing
February 20th, 2020

Greetings,

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 jarch@leg.ne.gov or call my office at (402) 471-2730.

Thank you for the privilege of serving you in the Legislature.

Sen. John Arch

District 14
Room #1306
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2730
Email: jarch@leg.ne.gov
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