Welcome

January 8th, 2014

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 17th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

Please feel free to contact me with any issues or concerns you may have regarding public policy or your state government, and let me know how I may assist you. My staff in my State Capitol office in Lincoln look forward to hearing from you and assisting you. Please feel free to contact me using the contact information on the right.

Sincerely,
Sen. Dave Bloomfield

Newsletter 7/25/14

July 25th, 2014

During this past session the Legislature passed LR41CA, a constitutional amendment that would authorize the licensing and regulating of wagering on live or replayed horse races on the ballot. We have known since then that when we head to the voting booth on November 4th we will have the opportunity to vote on this measure.

An Omaha attorney, Steve Grasz, requested that the Secretary of State John Gale remove this from the ballot on the basis that he said it violated the state constitution because it contained more than one subject. Secretary Gale has rejected this request stating that all of the subjects contained are all related by one general subject. While this may still be challenged in the courts, as of right now you will be able to vote on whether Nebraska should allow machine gambling on historic horse races at licensed race parks in the future.

The Nebraska State Fair is just around the corner, starting on August 22nd, and they are looking for some volunteers. Since making the move to Grand Island the fair has been growing and as it grows so does the need for volunteer workers. This year the fair runs from August 22nd to September 1st and will more than likely see more than 325,000 walk through the gates.

Fair organizers say that they have a job for anyone who is willing to help and that volunteers play a huge role in the success of the fair. If you are interested in being a volunteer you can sign up online at GIChamber.com or by calling 308-382-9210.

 

Newsletter 7/18/14

July 21st, 2014

I write this newsletter today as 122 new laws are going into effect. These laws are wide ranging from indoor tanning to tuition assistance and many topics in between.

As a result of LB132 children under the age of 16 will no longer be able to use indoor tanning beds unless a parent or guardian is with them. The parent/guardian will have to sign a written consent form on each visit in which the child uses an indoor tanning bed.

If you are a trucker hauling livestock to or through Omaha and have a manure spill, you will now face a minimum fine of $250.00 which is an increase from the current $100.00. Evidently, this is big problem in south Omaha around the meatpacking plants. This increase was passed even though the judges had authority to impose a fine of more than $100.00 but usually chose not to.

If you would like to buy a novelty lighter in Nebraska it will now be required to have child-proof safety features. We spent too many hours debating this bill and listening to the various arguments. Supporters of this bill argued that these lighters are a threat to youngsters because they can come in shapes of toy guns, tractors, cars, animals and various other objects that are of interest to children. The original intent of the bill was to totally ban the sale of such lighters. I still think we have too many laws and regulations and not enough good parenting.

If you are a veteran who left the military recently you are now eligible for in-state college tuition as long as you meet a few requirements. The requirements are that you have established residency in Nebraska and have registered to vote here. Once these requirements are met you, your spouse and any dependents will qualify.

Newsletter 7/11/14

July 11th, 2014

Under the First Amendment to our United States Constitution we are guaranteed the right of free speech. We are promised the freedom to speak out against our government and those who represent us at all levels.

If would appear to me that all of the “Hub bub” generated by the float at the Norfolk 4th of July parade is being used in an attempt to squelch free speech.

The federal Department of Justice (DOJ) is going to look into this parade float issue! Really? With the IRS scandal going on, thousands of illegals swarming across our borders  the DOJ has nothing more important to do than investigate someone expressing an opinion on a parade float in a parade celebrating our freedom.

It is painfully obvious that our federal government is out of control! As a state, we send five elected officials to represent us on the federal level. Sadly the silence from them has been deafening.

As a country I think we are taking political correctness to an extreme and it is not always applied equally across the board. The First Amendment grants us freedom of expression; it does not say you are free to express yourself as long as it does not offend anyone else.

How is it that we have forgotten the principles that founded this great nation? I am positive that we can all think of a time when we were offended by something someone said, a commercial, a float or even protestors – does that mean that they should not have the right to express their thoughts or views?

I hate to say it but it often seems as if freedom of expression is allowed for those who are expressing more liberal views. Whereas, those expressing a more conservative view are often chastised or at present called racist. Newsflash – people can disagree with the current administration without being a racist. You may not like it or agree with it but we all have the right to express our thoughts and views without being called names this is one of the principles that has made our country great for so long.

Next week (July 13-16) I will be attending the Midwestern Legislative Conference or the Council of State Governments in Omaha. Nebraska is hosting the conference this year with legislators and their guests coming to Omaha from North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan for four days of discussions on state policy. This is a great opportunity to get together with our neighbors to compare ideas and see what is or is not working in other states that may work for us.

Newsletter 7/4/14

July 3rd, 2014

As the area is picking up and the rebuilding and/or repairing process is starting after the recent storms I would like to caution all of you to be on the lookout for scammers. With the amount of destruction in the area it will undoubtedly attract contractors who are less than upstanding.

In dealing with a contractor make sure they offer written contracts. Get the name, address and phone number of the contractor especially if they are from out of town. Make sure they are licensed and have all the proper permits and ask for references. If you are thinking about using an out-of-town contractor be sure to find out how warranties or any problems will be handled after the work is completed. Most importantly, DO NOT give full payment up front.

You can always contact the Better Business Bureau to check out a contractor. Go to the “Start With Trust” section  at www.bbb.org or call them at 800-649-6814.

Roughly two years ago President Obama made several appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) while the Senate was in a “pro-forma” session. During a “pro-forma” session the chamber is called to order and adjourned every few days. President Obama claimed the Senate was in recess and therefore he could make the appointments without seeking confirmation from the Senate.

An Oregon based soft drink bottling and distribution company, Noel Canning, brought a lawsuit challenging the appointments. This past week, in a unanimous decision the United States Supreme Court agreed. The justices agreed that the NLRB appointments were unconstitutional but they were divided on when a president should be able to use the Recess Appointments Clause to fill vacancies. This is another case of presidential over reach which President Obama seems to do a lot. This is strictly federal stuff and I maybe shouldn’t even comment, but sometimes I just can’t help myself.

The season for parades and community celebrations is here, I will not be attending as many of these this year as I usually do. This is an election year and there should be enough candidates to go around. It is my intent to attend the Dakota / Thurston and the Wayne County Fairs. I hope to see you there.

Newsletter 6/20/14

June 20th, 2014

It is hard to believe that it was just eight months ago that the Wayne community was devastated by a tornado and now northeast Nebraska is once again being hammered by Mother Nature.

This last week has been full of storms and tornados that have taken a toll on our part of the state. While the destruction in Pilger has received a lot of coverage it has at times overshadowed the fact that other communities have also been hit and are in need of assistance. If you are able to assist in the clean-up in any of these areas it is important to follow the instructions of the local individuals organizing clean-up activities.

If you have had property which was damaged by any of the recent storms please make sure you contact your insurance agent and DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! The State Fire Marshal has been fielding calls by individuals wishing to start burning homes that were destroyed in the storms but you do not want to do that until after you have talked to your insurance company. If you lost livestock, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture is encouraging you to keep detailed records of those losses. Documentation should include some kind of third party verification.

Monetary donations are also being accepted at several locations depending on where you would like your donation to go. Midwest Bank, Stanton State Bank, or the American Red Cross are all taking donations.

If you are looking for information or guidance on what to do or how to volunteer I would encourage you to visit the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency website at www.nema.ne.gov.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all of the communities affected by these storms.

Newsletter 6/13/14

June 13th, 2014

If you are looking for something to do this summer I would encourage you to consider participating in the 2014 Nebraska Passport Program. The program, organized by the Nebraska Tourism Commission encourages the exploration of Nebraska by collecting stamps from the participating attractions to earn prizes.

This year there are 80 attractions on ten different themed tours: Home Grown Nebraska, Fork in the Road, Without Walls, Sips and Suds, Rare Finds, Can’t Get Enough, Patchwork Passion, Hit the Snooze, How We Move and Stars and Stripes. The grand prize is a 60” plasma TV. For more information go to http://www.nebraskapassport.com/.

One of the 80 places to visit is Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area, a popular place during the summer months. Whether you are visiting Lake McConaughy or one of the other many lakes in the state it is important to remember that current state law requires that anyone born after December 31, 1985 must complete a boating safety course before operating a motorboat or personal watercraft. I would also remind you that individuals must be at least 14 years of age to operate a motorboat or personal watercraft. While this may be an inconvenience it is intended to be for your safety as well as the safety of those around you. (I did not support this bill when it was passed.)

To find a list of boating safety courses offered or for information regarding the test out option, go to www.BoatSafeNebraska.org.

In legislative news, on June 9th the United States House of Representatives adopted the Walberg Amendment to the 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill.

The amendment was offered by Congressman Tim Walberg (R-MI) along with a few others. The amendment eliminates a provision in the 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations act that would have allowed the Secretary of Transportation to once again discuss motorcycle safety initiatives with state legislators.

In 1998 Congress made it illegal for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to lobby state legislatures. Prior to this law NHTSA spent tens of thousands of dollars traveling to states when those states were debating the helmet law.

I am pleased this amendment to the bill was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives, which advanced the bill on June 10th. The issue of motorcycle helmets, like many other issues, is best decided at the state level. The money that NHTSA would waste traveling from state to state to lobby would be better spent on other issues, or better still, not spent at all.

Newsletter 6/6/14

June 6th, 2014

On Friday, May 30th it was my honor to attend the induction ceremony of Alvin Saunders Johnson into the Nebraska Hall of Fame.

Johnson was born in 1874 on a farm near Homer to Danish immigrants. Growing up he embraced the work ethic and values that come along with farm life. He went on to receive a bachelors and masters degree in the classic from the University of Nebraska. In 1902 he received his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University.

He was a professor at several American universities including the University of Nebraska. He served in the military during the Spanish-American War before he co-founded and led the New School for Social Research. The New School now serves as the model for adult education. While with the New School he founded the University in Exile which was a haven for European intellectuals that were fleeing Nazi persecution. He gained national and international recognition as an educator, humanitarian, social activist, economist, editor and writer. Throughout his life his concern for minority groups discriminated against or persecuted at home or abroad was evident.

Established in 1961 the Nebraska Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to Nebraska and the nation. To be considered the individual must have died at least 35 years ago.

Alvin Saunders Johnson was a remarkable individual that we, as a state, should be very proud of.

On June 3rd I attended a USDA Rural Development home ownership meeting in Norfolk. If you are looking for financing for a home you might want to check them out. They seem a little skewed toward first time buyers and or single parents. If you fall into either or both of those categories, I would highly recommend that you contact them. If you don’t fit in either of those groups they may still have something that would help. It cost nothing to find out, go to, www.rurdev.usda.gov/ne for more information.

Newsletter 5/30/14

June 2nd, 2014

I was honored on May 28th to have a small part in the dedication of the replica “Vietnam Wall Memorial” at Freedom Park in South Sioux City. As a veteran of that war I was allowed to speak to those gathered. I was impressed by the number of Vietnam veterans (brothers and sisters all) who attended the dedication. This is a great thing for not only the tri-state area but for the Midwest and indeed the whole nation.

The years that were highlighted by the Vietnam War (some will call it a conflict, others an experience, those who were there know it was a war) were not kind to our national soul. It was a time of upheaval in our beloved America. The men that were sent to fight in this battle were not always treated well when they returned. Those of us who served and returned to homes in the Midwest were not treated as poorly as our brothers in other parts of the nation. While we were generally treated with respect in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and other Midwest states, we still felt the sting of a nation that questioned what we did or in many minds failed to do. Men were sent to war and then were not allowed to win that war. “Rules of Engagement” were set that virtually guaranteed failure. One celebrity (whose name I shall not put in print) traveled to Vietnam and spoke against our soldiers. Political leaders spoke volumes opposing not only our involvement in the war but insinuating that our men were nothing more than vicious killers. Chants of “ho-ho-hey-hey how many kids did you kill today” still ring in the ears of many men who risked their lives to defend freedom. For many civilians, it has been easy to place blame on the soldiers who served during this war.

If there is blame to be placed, it does not fall on the veterans! Blame (if any) lies directly at the feet of the politicians who would not allow the best trained and best equipped military in the world “take care of business”!

I thought we had learned a great lesson in “Nam” that a pulled punches war is a war likely lost. Apparently we have as a nation forgotten that lesson. I see political leaders again cutting the “legs” out from under our fighting men and women. I see our military being decimated and our veterans poorly treated. The Department of Veterans Affairs that is supposed to be taking care of our heroes is wrapped in scandal. Please as this whole mess unfolds, let us not again blame the warriors.

Newsletter 5/16/14

May 16th, 2014

The primary elections are over. We are down to one candidate from each party for governor, attorney general, state auditor and the U.S. Senate seat. While the election cycle is far from over, the field is now narrowed and maybe we will see a break in political ads before the campaigns get in full swing for the general election in November. I often hear people grumbling and griping about the condition of our state and our country and the way the “damned politicians” are doing things. Then when we have an election, and there is an opportunity to let your thoughts be heard through the voting process, we have a disappointing turnout, this time about 27%. That is not acceptable in Nebraska! When three out of four eligible voters sit on their hands (being polite) and don’t vote, it is difficult for the elected officials to know just what public really expects.

For those of you that engage in the many various forms of social media I would like to let you know that I have a new Facebook page. You can find my page by searching for Senator Dave Bloomfield on Facebook. I am planning to try to use this site a little more to get the word out about things going on during the session. I will post links to my weekly newsletter on my page in addition to posting it on my legislative blog site. My plan is to post on the site events within District 17 that I am planning to attend and other events in the district that my office is made aware of. I would encourage you to go “Like” my page – it will be one more way for you to reach me.

Newsletter 5/9/14

May 9th, 2014

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness month and the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) wants to remind all motorists that we need to “share the road” with motorcyclists.

The weather is nicer so we are starting to see more and more motorcycles on the roads. They have the same rights as those of us driving cars, trucks or SUV’s. It is the responsibility of everyone on the road to pay attention and be alert to and aware of all drivers and pedestrians around them.  This is necessary regardless of what they may be driving or riding or where they might be walking, running or playing. It is easy to miss a motorcycle because they are smaller and can often be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot increasing the chances of you missing them with just a quick glance.

Unfortunately, we were unable to get LB393 passed this year so motorcycle riders must continue to wear a DOT compliant helmet. The helmet, while well intentioned, provides very little protection in accidents with larger vehicles or at highway speeds. Additionally, the helmet may provide for a false sense of security to the bike operator. Motorcyclists must also follow the rules of the road and have a license allowing them to operate a motorcycle. I would also like to remind everyone to be aware of farm equipment on our highways this time of the year. While the machines are usually big enough to be seen, it is easy for us as drivers to forget that this equipment moves much slower than normal traffic.