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Weekly Legislative Update
Thursday April 17 brought the last day of the session and the 103rd Legislature, as well as the last day of service for 17 term-limited senators. In between filibustering attempts by Senator Chambers as retribution for his failed mountain lion bill, the Legislature individually recognized Senators Greg Adams, Brad Ashford, Bill Avery, Tom Carlson, Mark Christensen, Danielle Conrad, Annette Dubas, Tom Hansen, John Harms, Russ Karpisek, Steve Lathrop, Scott Lautenbaugh, Amanda McGill, John Nelson, Pete Pirsch, Norm Wallman, and John Wightman for their hard work and dedication to serving Nebraska.
There has been some speculation that the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District (PMRNRD) has plans to build a dam on the Bell Creek in an unknown location. PMRNRD General Director, John Winkler, assured me last Monday that these reports are based on an old U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Study outlining such plans, but that there is no current plan or funding for the project and that the NRD will remove the Bell Creek reference from the Draft Integrated Management Plan within the next few days. According to Mr. Winkler, “There are simply no plans to begin a Bell Creek dam.”
Governor Heineman, in his statement to the Unicameral, congratulated the members for efforts on issues such as water sustainability, prison reform, and tax reform. Tax measures passed by the Legislature this session included indexing individual income tax brackets for inflation, eliminating sales tax on repair parts for agricultural machinery and equipment, and expanding the homestead exemption program. “It’s been a very good year for Nebraska taxpayers. We are providing more than $412 million of tax relief to Nebraskans over the next five years. That is meaningful, responsible, and significant tax relief,” Heineman stated.
We have had a fantastic presence from District 16 clergy who have travelled to Lincoln to offer morning prayers before the Unicameral convenes. Thank you to Pastor Jonathan Ripke of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hooper for joining us as Chaplain of the Day on Tuesday, April 8 and to Pastor Lewis Miller of Beemer Mennonite Church in Beemer for joining us as Chaplain on April 9.
Now that the session is over, I am looking forward to several official appointments in District 16, as well as other various meetings and events. As usual, I anticipate a very busy summer, and my calendar is already starting to fill up.
Please contact me, my administrative aide, Katie Wattermann, or my legislative aide, Joe Neuhaus, with questions or thoughts at (402) 471-2728 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or stop by Room 1016 if you are at the Capitol.
Keeping the Good Life growing in Nebraska,
Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16