First, let me apologize for the fact that I did not do an “update” last week. As I have said before, this will happen from time to time but I don’t like it when it does. It is not that there was nothing to write about, I just ran out of time. I am for this letter just going to list some of the things that have been going on since November 1st.
On Friday, November 1st, we had hearings in Lincoln, of the Government and Veterans Affairs Committee on which I serve.
Sunday, November 3rd, thru Tuesday, November 5th, The Rural Futures Conference, sponsored by the University of Nebraska, was held. I attended only part of this conference but met briefly on Tuesday with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. Both of these gentlemen are working on the long delayed “Farm Bill”. They are working from different sides on many issues, but did seem to think that some sort of compromise bill would be agreed on. This, like most of the federal government, appears to be a mess. I wish them well but I am not really optimistic that the best ideas will prevail.
Thursday, November 7th, in the morning, I attended a hearing in Norfolk. This is part of the water study being carried out by the Natural Resources Committee. Later Thursday, I met with the Nebraska Ethanol Producers in Lincoln.
Friday, November 8th, there were more hearings in Lincoln with the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. We elected a new Vice Chairman of the committee to replace Senator Scott Price, who resigned from the Legislature on November 1st. The new Vice Chairman John Murante will officially take over the position on January 8th, the first day of session in 2014. Senator Price and his family are moving to Alabama. I wish him well; he is former military and a good conservative. Governor Heineman will appoint someone to take his place soon.
Saturday, November 9th, I served as part of a Senatorial panel at O’Neill, sponsored by the Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska. There were a wide array of questions from producers, ranging from tax issues to livestock branding and even the Keystone Pipeline, which is still being held up by President Obama.
Monday, November 11, I was honored to speak at the Veterans Day program at Wayne Public Schools. At one point in my delivery, I asked that anyone with family ties to a veteran please stand. A full 90% of the crowd (mostly students) quietly and with dignity, rose to their feet. This shows that not only does northeast Nebraska understand the importance of service to our nation; we deliver on that understanding and fill that obligation. Thank you again Nebraska!
Thursday, November 14th, we had a joint hearing in Lincoln with the Health and Human Services Committee and the State Tribal Relations Committee on which I serve. This was in part to discuss the unusually high number of Indian children that historically have been removed from their homes and placed in non-Indian homes. This has been an issue nationwide for many years.
Saturday, November 16th, I started writing this update about 5:30 a.m.. We have a political meeting in Wayne at 9:00 this morning. I hope to attend the American Legion event in Homer on Sunday, the 17th. I am scheduled to meet with the 4th grade students in Winnebago on Monday, at 9:00 a.m. followed by a meeting in Dakota City and a visit to South Sioux City.
I have put this out so you don’t think that we spend all of our time just setting around trying to think up stupid laws to pass. We have plenty of help with that. It is my intention before I leave office in three years to have removed as many or more laws from the books than I will have added. This is part (only a small part) of the reason that I am trying to repeal the motorcycle helmet requirement for adults. Free adult humans should be able to reach decisions without constant interference from the government that is supposed to serve, not control, them.