NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Lydia Brasch

Sen. Lydia Brasch

District 16

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 lbrasch@leg.ne.gov

The Legislature’s Redistricting Committee will conduct public hearings on the proposed redistricting maps on Friday, May 13th.  Maps are available for viewing on the Redistricting Committee’s webpage at http://news.legislature.ne.gov/red/category/maps/.  The times and locations for videoconferences are as follows:

Friday, May 13, 2011  (9:00 a.m.)

Northeast Community College

801 East Benjamin Avenue

Maclay Building Room 167A

Norfolk, NE 68701  

 

Columbus Public Library

2504 14th Street

Second floor

Columbus, NE 68601 

 

Omaha State Office Building

1313 Farnam

Room 207

Omaha, NE 68102 

 

Vocational Rehabilitation Center

1517 Broadway

Suite 131

Scottsbluff, NE 69131 

  

Friday, May 13, 2011   (1:00 p.m.) 

Hastings Public Library

517 West 4th Street

Second Floor

Hastings, NE 68901 

 

ESU #16

1221 West 17th Street

Front Room

North Platte, NE 69101 

 

McCook Community College

McMillen Hall Room 213

1205 East Third Street

McCook, NE 69101 

 

Alliance Public Schools Main Administration Building

1604 Sweetwater Avenue

Alliance, NE 69301

May 11th, 2011

The state’s biennial budget was the focus of earnest debate as we considered eight bills that make up the complete budget package.  The Appropriations Committee put together a fiscally responsible budget proposal that was built upon consensus.  At the beginning of the session the state’s projected budget shortfall was nearly $986 million dollars.  For the next two years, the budget calls for a conservative growth of 2.6% and a transfer from the Cash Reserve fund of $256 million to balance the budget.  The proposed budget takes into account state spending reductions from other bills including LB 383, to eliminate state aid to cities, counties, and natural resources districts, and LB 235, a decrease in state aid to education.  Federal stimulus funds were previously used for Medicaid and state aid to education, both seeing cuts, yet increases of state funding.  Additionally, budget cuts include reductions to state agencies, health and human services provider rates, and public assistance.  We debated the $7.1 billion budget on both General and Select File last week, and the bills are now waiting for a final legislative vote before going to the Governor.   

The Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR) was the subject of serious debate on May 4.  Completing our first “late night” of debate, we discussed LB 397 and the proposed amendments for seven hours.  Changes to this public employees bargaining system have been a concern for several years, and with economic woes facing our communities and state, reform of this unsustainable and often unreasonable process is essential.  LB 397 is a result of the Business and Labor Committee, chaired by Senator Lathrop, and meetings with other affected groups. I share the views of Governor Heineman that CIR reform is necessary, and LB 397 is a step to make these changes, but we will need to continue our work on this legislation to ensure meaningful change.  America’s workers in all sectors – public and private – are important.  The services of public employees, such as education and public safety, are invaluable.  However, we must also consider the bottom line and that these public employees are hired by citizens.  Certainly their work merits a respectable and competitive wage, but we have to find a reasonable and affordable approach. 

In comparison to other states, Nebraska is seated quite well fiscally and with regards to employment opportunities.  We must bear in mind that the private sector provides many of these jobs, as well as the tax base for funding our public jobs and government obligations.  As elected representatives, I believe we have a responsibility to ensure that the people’s money is spent wisely and services are provided for adequately.  This is the balance that we are seeking to find with reform to the CIR.  

This weekend, I enjoyed a wonderful and enlightening National Day of Prayer Supper in Arlington with Washington County constituents. It was also enjoyable and inspiring attending the West Point Community Theater Red Carpet gala celebrating their 2nd successful year of growth and rejuvenation.  Families fill this theater located in a restored historic building that simply refused a final curtain call. This work in progress is being accomplished by the vision, hard work, talents and generosity of this community and their “will do” spirit! Take a bow, and be proud of your hard work and the rewards that will flourish for generations to come! I look forward to learning of and seeing more re-energized community accomplishments across our entire District!

A valuable Friday briefing with Rose Jaspersen of the Nebraska Enterprise Fund in Oakland proved to be interesting learning about the many resources and services they help provide to businesses. Worth looking into for growing businesses!

Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

May 5th, 2011

On Thursday, April 28 we passed bills on Final Reading and voted to override the Governor’s veto on LB 600.  LB 600 adopts the Nursing Facility Quality Assurance Assessment Act and is widely supported by nursing homes in District 16 and statewide to allow facilities to pay the state an assessment for Medicaid and then receive federal reimbursement.  Because of increased costs of services and a reduction in reimbursement rates, LB 600 is important legislation to keep these facilities open and to avoid rising costs for private pay residents.  I supported the veto override, which requires 30 votes.  LB 600 passed receiving 44 votes.

LB 589 was the subject of debate on April 27.  This legislation is of interest to many communities in our district and across the state as it deals with closing state highways for special events.  With thirty days notice to the Department of Roads, LB 589 allows towns to close off a section of the state highway within city limits for a special event.  This is a change from current practice that requires towns to submit an application to the department for approval.  An amendment was adopted that specifically states that the host town accepts liability for the road and the public during the course of the event.  LB 589 was advanced to the second round of debate with my support.

The Legislature considered LB 463, a bill to address student truancy.  Introduced by Senator Ashford, LB 463 establishes policies for intervention when a student has excessive absences from school, except in the case of documented illness.  The end goal is to ensure the education of at-risk youth.  LB 463 is on Final Reading.

As debate continues on priority bills and we are just over a month away from adjournment, I want to update you on the status of my priority bill, LB 690.  LB 690 remains in the Judiciary Committee.  The bill, which requires parental consent for minors seeking an abortion, has received support from many citizens, and we have worked closely with Americans United for Life, Family First, and Nebraska Catholic Conference to ensure that the language is constitutional and maintains the best interest of young women.  An attorney general’s opinion provided affirmation of the bill’s constitutionality, and we are continuing to work with the Judiciary Committee members to solidify the votes needed to advance LB 690 to the full Legislature for debate.  I appreciate all of your support and encouragement throughout this process.

Over the weekend, I enjoyed great company at the Cuming County Feeders Association banquet and reception.  We were honored to have two fellow senators present. Senator Deb Fischer, District 43, and chair of the Transportation & Telecommunications Committee who is the sponsor of LB 84 was a guest.  Many in attendance expressed support for LB 84 to fund roads.  Senator Dave Bloomfield, our good neighbor in District 17, also attended the banquet with his wife, Dee, supporting our feeders.  As windy as the weekend was, we also accomplished some early planting in our district!  Named his official “shuttle driver,” driving my husband, Lee, from the field to equipment, Lee worked planting corn while the sun was shining. Everyone, in the fields and on Main streets, welcomed a sunny sky for a change! It was nice to see many of you, home in Bancroft, at the banquet, and around the district over the weekend. 

Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

April 25th, 2011

With only weeks remaining in this legislative session, we passed more bills on Final Reading the afternoon of April 20th, including LB 235, state aid to education.  Please let me know of your questions and comments on legislation before us as we will be covering much ground in the remaining weeks, including re-districting, reforming the Commission of Industrial Relations, and the budget, just to mention a few major issues to be debated.

Roads funding was the subject of debate again as LB 84, Senator Fischer’s proposal to designate a portion of the sales tax to funding our roads, was considered on the second round of debate.  Several alternative amendments were discussed during the eight-hour debate to simply declare intent to designate funds for roads, cap roads funds, pull money from the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund, or to bracket the bill.  These proposed amendments were defeated, and the only amendment to prevail was Senator Fischer’s amendment to scale back the portion of sales tax dedicated to roads from half of a cent to a quarter of a cent, amounting to about $65 million for roads annually beginning in 2013 for the next twenty years.  I heard from many of you in support of LB 84 who have been waiting for better roads for the last twenty plus years and believe this is a priority moving forward for both public safety and economic growth.  I voted in support of LB 84, now on Final Reading.

Hunting and fishing rights were the subject of debate on Monday, April 18th as the Legislature considered a constitutional amendment, LR 40CA, introduced by Senator Pirsch.  LR 40CA will give Nebraska citizens the opportunity to vote on protecting hunting and fishing rights during the 2012 general election.  Many of you expressed your support of LR 40CA and giving voters the chance to decide if hunting and fishing warrants constitutional protection.  For this reason I supported advancing LR 40CA to the second round of debate and believe that these long-standing recreational and wildlife management practices merit such protection.

LB 386, introduced by Senator Heideman, was debated on General File.  The proposal gives Nebraska college students paid internship opportunities through Nebraska businesses with the goal of keeping these talented youth in our state following graduation.  LB 386 allows for use of the Jobs Training Cash Fund for internship grants through eligible Nebraska businesses under the Nebraska Advantage Act.  There are other limitations to businesses for the internship grants and an intern’s enrollment status.  The funds are capped at $1.5 million.  I support LB 386 and believe this to be beneficial for both our youth and Nebraska companies.

On Wednesday, April 20, I attended a special presentation of the 2007 Nebraska Statehood Day flag.  Nebraskan and U.S. Astronaut Clayton Anderson presented this flag that he took on his Space Shuttle Atlantis flight.  It was a refreshing moment to reflect upon the great achievements that have occurred and those yet to transpire.

It was wonderful to spend the weekend at home and celebrate Easter with family and friends.  I hope you all had a blessed Easter holiday.  Christ is risen! 

Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

April 18th, 2011

Taking up taxes, the Legislature debated an increase of sales tax in LB 357, prioritized by Senator Ashford.  LB 357 permits cities to increase their sales tax rate an additional 0.5%, thus up to 2% with voter approval.  Currently, the law allows cities to collect local option sales tax at rates of 0.5%, 1%, or 1.5% upon voter approval.  Although a vote of the people is required and this was generally supported by several mayors from our communities, LB 357 is nonetheless a tax increase, which is why I was among the senators voting against the bill.  Visiting with constituents, I have not been asked to increase their taxes.  I believe that we must focus on cutting spending, rather than increasing taxes.  LB 357 advanced 27-14 on General File and will be discussed again on the second round of debate.

Last week we also took up state aid to education on Select File, the second round of debate.  LB 235 reduces state aid from $950 million (including stimulus funds) down to $822 million.  School districts in our legislative district are among the 247 districts in the state that face a loss of state aid.  Only five districts received an increase after the formula changes in LB 235 because of a substantial increase in student enrollment and no property valuation growth.  Student growth, property valuations, and spending all determine a district’s needs in the state aid formula.  Additionally, the Legislature adopted LB 18 in February for school districts to receive funding from the federal Education Jobs Fund, of which several District 16 schools and others across the state will qualify for the funding.  Funding education is one of the state’s highest priorities, and we are certainly committed to supporting these education responsibilities for our children.

LB 698, a bill to eliminate ethanol labels at gas pumps, was debated again, but failed to advance to Final Reading.  Senator Christensen, the bill’s introducer, indefinitely postponed LB 698.  As I previously have stated, I supported LB 698 to further promote ethanol, an economic driver of our state, and I intended to support amendments for consumers to instead label gas pumps that do not contain ethanol.   

On Wednesday, April 13, the Capitol was bustling with citizens attending the hearing on AM 1116 to LB 397 reform the Commission on Industrial Relations (CIR), the state’s authority on labor disputes between public employees and governmental entities.  Multiple bills were introduced this session to address changes to the CIR.  Several senators and interested parties worked on AM 1116, and the Business and Labor Committee advanced the bill with the amendment.  LB 397 has been prioritized by the Committee and was also recently designated by Speaker Flood as a Speaker Major Proposal, along with LB 84, the highway funding proposal, to ensure a full debate.  I will keep you updated on this important issue as it comes up on General File. 

On Friday, April 15, I was honored to be among two fellow senators, Speaker Flood and Senator Bloomfield, speaking on a panel at Wayne State College.  I also had the pleasure of speaking to the Nebraska Federation of Republican Women on April 16.  It was an honor to talk to students, women, and constituents who have an interest in our legislative process.

Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

April 11th, 2011

Last week focus was turned to one of the most important matters of the Legislature – state aid to education.  LB 235 makes changes to the state aid formula.  Basically, the formula for state aid is broken down into “needs” and “resources” to determine state aid.  These factors were adjusted in LB 235, shrinking the needs to slow spending of school districts and holds school districts responsible for more of the tax base (i.e. resources),  thus, reducing dependency on the state.  Ultimately, the state aid formula aims to better equalize funding and place state money where it’s most needed. 

K-12 schools received $950 million in state aid for the current year, which includes one-time federal funding of $150 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.  LB 235, as amended, provides schools $822 million for fiscal year 2011-12 and $880 million for 2012-13.  The Education Committee worked tirelessly to put together an amendment to the formula based on fairness and long-term financial sustainability.  Looking at the big picture, it’s necessary to cut state aid to address a difficult budget situation and consider other state obligations, such as payment to Medicaid providers and safe roads.  All schools – equalized and non-equalized, large and small – are impacted.  Districts that experienced substantial student growth will lose funding.  Districts who have reached the levy limit and cannot make-up lost funding must cope.  Small districts with higher per student expenditures also will feel these effects.  We debated LB 235 for many hours, and there is no question that all school districts will share the pain of these formula changes, but I believe highest regards was given for educating our students while being cognizant of the state’s budget deficit.

In addition to the formula components, three other bills were amended into LB 235.  LB148 excludes lobbying expenses from the definition of general fund operating expenditures, eliminating it from the needs calculation of the formula.  LB 273 and LB 287 were also amended into LB 235.  LB 273 includes converted contract students as option students and excludes receipts, and LB287 includes early childhood in the formula’s summer school allowance beginning in FY2012-13.  After much debate and consideration LB 235 was advanced, 41-0.

We also debated another proposal important to our district, specifically our elderly, as nursing homes are directly the subject matter of LB 600.  LB 600 adopts the Nursing Facility Quality Assurance Assessment Act to allow nursing facilities to pay an assessment to the state of $3.50 per day for Medicaid and private pay patients, which then will be reimbursed to facilities through a federal match. Without this option in place, there is serious concern for nursing homes having the financial means to stay open, particularly with a reduction of provider rates in the governor’s proposed budget and fewer private pay patients.  LB 600 was supported by nursing homes in District 16, and it advanced to the second round of debate.

Last week I met with District 16 constituents first on Tuesday with the Nebraska Power Association.  On Thursday, county officials were here for NACO Counties’ Legislative Day.  Over the weekend my husband and I enjoyed District activities that included an Elkhorn Valley Cattlemen’s Banquet Saturday night in Stanton.  Sunday evening was relaxing listening to live ballroom music in Beemer at a fundraiser for the Cuming County Fair Foundation.  It was good to see all of you and discuss important policy matters and also to just simply take time to relax and enjoy the good life we work hard to preserve!

Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

April 6th, 2011

Last week the Legislature debated LB 305, introduced by Senator Larson and prioritized by our Agriculture Committee.  LB 305 creates a state meat and poultry inspection program, allowing producers to more easily tap into specialized meat markets, such as goat, grass-fed beef, and ostrich.  LB 305 is widely recognized for providing for horse slaughter, which ended in the U.S. after Congress cut funding.  For this reason, much debate centered on Nebraska’s agriculture producers and the level of care provided to farm animals.  Questions raised included outside groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), calling for sweeping, unwarranted changes to animal agriculture, ultimately aiming to devastate our industry.  Proper care for horses plays into this because we face a serious dilemma of humane disposal of abandoned and unwanted horses.   I co-sponsored LB305  because I believe this offers an appropriate solution and expands agricultural and economic opportunities for Nebraska, given five of our neighboring states already have inspection programs.  We adopted an amendment scaling the bill back, requiring the Department of Agriculture to report by November 15, 2011, actions necessary to implement this program, and LB 305 advanced to Select File.

March 30 we debated LB 229, introduced by Senator Fischer and prioritized by Senator Larson. This transfers funds from the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) Fund to the Water Resources Cash Fund.  Because NET receives grant monies from the lottery as part of Nebraska’s constitution, the bill as introduced, was highly controversial.  However, prior to debate, stakeholders met and reached a notable compromise amendment on LB 229 that recognizes the need to provide meaningful funding for water while maintaining valuable funding for conservation grants.  The agreement, adopted on General File, calls for the Department of Natural Resources to submit a grant application to NET where they will be awarded the highest points for grant funding of $3.3 million to the Water Resources Cash Fund provided that the Legislature appropriates a match, an increase from the $2.7 million already designated to the Fund.  Work continues on the critical issues of water, but LB 229 offers long-term funding to what has been deemed Nebraska’s “issue of the decade.”  As expressed during debate of LB 229, we cannot afford not to provide water funding as the state’s costs would surely escalate further.  Addressing our water issues allows the first stewards of our most precious land and water, our farmers, to continue to utilize this invaluable resource and in turn, protect our land for productive crops, citizens and wildlife for generations to come.

Rural Nebraska was well represented at the Capitol as meetings included many from our District. It was a pleasure to visit with residents from the Rural Electric Association in Stanton, Burt, and Thurston Counties, and later with others in the Rural Development Commission. 

Back at home, on Friday night Farm Bureaus from Cuming, Burt, and Thurston Counties hosted a dinner meeting where I enjoyed speaking and visiting with everyone about legislation.  Saturday morning was great fun and exciting to meet students from Bancroft-Rosalie (B-R), Lyons-Decatur, and Stanton schools competing at the Cuming County Open “Power Drive” Rally.  It was an honor to be invited to present trophies sponsored by the Cuming County Power District, who hosted the rally along with the Omaha Public Power District.  Our B-R Power Drive team organized the day’s events. This program gives high school students hands-on experience building a safe, energy-efficient electric vehicle. The B-R team raced 2 cars, with one finishing in 2nd place. Students designed and built race cars to run with just two 12 v batteries reaching speeds of 34 mph. Kudos to those young women and men, drivers and Pitt crews alike!

Thanks to all for your investment and interest in seeing our rural communities succeed. 

Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

March 29th, 2011

On Tuesday, March 22 the Legislature began all day floor debate on priority bills.  LB 698, introduced by Senator Christensen, was debated first.  LB 698, with the Agriculture Committee’s amendment, repeals labeling requirements for gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol. This change is compelling because of Ethanol’s 30+ year sound track record as a “green” and “ag friendly” fuel at our pumps, the estimated 80% of consumers currently fill up with Ethanol, and supportive testimony from the Ethanol Association of Nebraska Ethanol Producers and Nebraska Grain and Feed Association stating a need for new marketing. As your rural senator, it’s also my view that given Nebraska’s strong agriculture roots and economic reliance on the industry, ethanol should be considered the norm in our state when it comes to fueling our vehicles. It is time we label what is NOT ethanol. Understood, it is also important to meet the consumer need to have an identifier at the pumps for different gasoline options, just like the Diesel pumps. An amendment will be considered to reverse current labeling requirements and require displaying a label at pumps containing no ethanol.  LB 698 is on Select File.

The major focus of debate last week was LB 84, introduced by Senator Fischer, to ensure that roads funding is a priority for our state for safe infrastructure and economic development.  LB 84 creates the Build Nebraska Act and designates a half cent of existing sales tax for roads construction beginning in 2013 for the next twenty years.  I have heard from many of you supporting this, especially to offer some hope for an expressway promised 23 years ago.  Although a number of amendments have yet to be considered during debate, I do support LB 84, recognizing that safe and accessible roads are a priority in our state, as well as education and providing essential services to citizens in need.  Good roads are important for safety and a strong economy.  A strong economy is vital for schools and funding critical programs.       

I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify LB 385 from last week, which eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Conservation Act.  This is not administered by the Nebraska Energy Office (NEO), but the Department of Revenue with certain local utilities.  The basis for eliminating the program is duplication of services.  NEO has stimulus funds remaining and receives annual federal funding for a similar program, the Low Energy Weatherization Program, administered in a collaborative effort with Local Community Action Agencies.  Information is available at www.neo.ne.gov

Last Wednesday, three students visited from West Point-Beemer High School who are taking a stand against smoking.  It’s good to see our youth involved and making wise choices.  Wednesday evening the Northeast Nebraska Legislative Day reception provided an opportunity to visit with several area chambers of commerce and economic development professionals. 

Thursday evening I enjoyed conversations with broadcasters from our district at the Nebraska Broadcasters Association event.  Over the weekend I relaxed at the Oakland Spring Fling Craft Show.  As always, it is wonderful to come home; it gives us an opportunity to visit on legislative issues and learn what’s news on our Main Streets. 

Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

March 22nd, 2011

Week of March 14, 2011

Our legislative committees concluded public hearings this past week.  However, certain legislative resolutions or appointments may constitute an additional committee hearing, and the Redistricting Committee will hear testimony going forward on redistricting proposals as we begin this process.  The committee has already held a hearing on LR 102, introduced by Senator Langemeier, to establish guidelines for the process.  All day floor debate begins on Tuesday, March 22.  We will continue to debate senator and committee priority bills and then tackle the budget in the coming weeks. 

 Although the budget bills are not on the agenda just yet, we spent a significant amount of time debating a bill aimed at saving the state money.  LB 385, introduced by Senator Utter, also at the request of the governor, ends the Low Income Home Energy Conservation Act established by 2008 legislation.  The sales tax dollars designated for the program would be transferred to the General Fund.  The program is administered by the Nebraska Energy Office, and although not widely utilized in its early stages, eliminating the program spurred opposition.  The bill advanced, but we may see amendments at the next round of debate for continuation of the energy efficiency program.

The Legislature also debated and advanced LB 230, introduced by Senator Sullivan.  With the objective of protecting public safety and property, this bill allows public records to be withheld on public utility infrastructure specifications, design drawings, and maps, unless otherwise provided by state or federal law.  A public utility may also withhold personally identified private citizen customer use information.  LB 230 is on the second round of debate.

LB 100, introduced by Senator Coash, was also advanced to Select File by the Legislature.  The bill, with a Judiciary Committee amendment, will prevent a defendant from using temporary insanity as a defense for committing a crime when he/she made a conscious decision to get drunk or high.

 A number of District 16 constituents visited the Capitol, including optometrists, hospital administrators, and residents of Thurston County.  It was nice to see you in Lincoln, and thank you for participating in our legislative process. 

 I’d like to draw attention to a couple of opportunities that allow our youth to engage in state government.  Each year the Clerk of the Legislature assists with hosting the “Unicameral Youth Legislature” to give students an opportunity to take on the role of a lawmaker.  Students meet at the Capitol June 12-15 for a legislative simulation sponsored by UNL Extension 4-H Youth Development.  Interested youth may go to www.nebraskalegislature.gov/education/unicamyouth.php for more information.

Also, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI).  Students interested in participating and educating children about the agriculture industry may fill out an application at http://www.agr.state.ne.us/nayi/nayi.htm.  The application deadline is April 15th

Over the weekend, I had a wonderful time once again taking part in the Wisner St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  So many warm hearts helped fend off the winds and coolness of the day.  It was fun to walk in the parade and see all of your familiar faces in our district.     

Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

March 16th, 2011

Week of March 7, 2011

The Legislature advanced a number of proposals covering a wide array.  We moved to select file, LB 260, introduced by Senator Lathrop, to adopt the Concussion Awareness Act.  The act provides schools and organizations with information and training about concussions.  It recognizes the instances of student-athlete concussions and the importance of identifying and treating head injuries to prevent more serious, long-term harm.

LB 421, introduced and prioritized by Senator Pankonin on behalf of the Game and Parks Commission, was also advanced to Select File.  It increases park permit fees to address concerns with continuing maintenance and operations.  Annual park entry permit fees for residents are posed to increase from $20 to $25, while temporary park entry permits increase from $4 to $5.  The increase is considered necessary as Game and Parks has significantly cut back on employees and has delayed $34 million of maintenance at our parks. 

The public hearing on LB 690, a bill I introduced, was held Wednesday, March 9 before the Judiciary Committee.  LB 690 requires a minor seeking an abortion to obtain parental consent, a move forward from current law requiring only parental notification.  As I stated in my testimony, I wholeheartedly believe requiring parental consent is best for the safety, health, well-being, and peace of mind for young women.  I am pro-life and believe such requirement would help a minor.  She should not find herself alone to decide, but have family there to care for her and her baby as needed.  Twenty five states currently have parental consent requirements.  I designated LB 690 as my priority bill.

Several bills were passed on Final Reading, including my first bill, LB 368.  LB 368 states that political parties are prohibited from nominating a candidate for office at a state post-primary convention if the party didn’t nominate a candidate at the primary election.  The Legislature also passed:

LB 81 – Municipal wheel taxes can be levied only on city residents; motor vehicle taxes for those living in an extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction of a city or village are phased out.

LB 399 – Sets nomination petition signatures for nonpartisan offices to at least 10% of the registered voters voting for Governor or President in the last election, not to exceed 2000 signatures. For statewide partisan offices, at least 4000 signatures are required, and at least 750 signatures will be obtained in each congressional district. The distribution requirement for the Board of Regents is eliminated.

LB 284 – Increases the minimum distance required for picketing funerals from 300 to 500 feet.

LB 333 – Due to budget cuts, LB 333 removes the statutory requirement for schools to have a student achievement coordinator and transfers funds to the lottery fund to support several programs.

It was good to come home and visit with many of you in person.  With a recess day on March 11, visits started at 6 a.m. at a pancake feed in Oakland, coffee shops, a nursing home, and church.  I also appreciated the opportunity to visit with our county extension staff.

Congratulations to our District 16 team from West Point Central Catholic for winning the D-1 State Basketball Championship!  We are proud of your great accomplishment! 

I always appreciate hearing from you and can be reached at (402) 471-2728 or lbrasch@leg.ne.gov.  

Serving you in the Nebraska Legislature to keep the good life growing,

Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16

Sen. Lydia Brasch

District 16
Room #1022
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2728
Email: lbrasch@leg.ne.gov
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