NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Sen. Joni Albrecht

Sen. Joni Albrecht

District 17

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 jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

It has been a busy week in the Nebraska Legislature as we move closer and closer to the end of session. On Wednesday the budget bill was advanced to final reading despite my no vote. The $9.3 billion budget has a 2.9% average two-year increase in spending. I voted in opposition to advancing the budget bill because the increased rate of spending is irresponsible. More cuts needed to be made to bring down spending growth and deliver property tax relief.

LB 720, also known as the ImagiNE Act, was debated for the first time this week. The ImagiNE Act is a replacement package for the Advantage Act for business incentives designed to keep Nebraska competitive. Keeping Nebraska competitive and showing we are a great place to do business is important but we cannot offer these incentives until we deliver property tax relief. We debated LB 720 for three hours without a vote and now Senator Kolterman needs to show he has 33 senators’ support to bring the bill back for debate.

Senator Linehan’s tax bill, LB 289, was discussed for three hours without a vote last week. The bill raises the tax on all sales, as well as imposes new taxes on many services like home repair, pet services, self-care services and even bottled water. These new tax dollars would be used in an effort to “offset” spending by local governments, hoping they will reduce spending and in return – our property taxes. The problem with this approach though is it has been tried twice and failed miserably both times. It led to increased local spending on educating while property taxes continued to increase. Any tax hike without spending cuts, limitations, or changes to our school funding formula is not property tax relief. It is now up to Senator Linehan to show that she has 33 senators’ support to bring the bill back for debate. I believe the bill will need significant changes to garner enough support for a return.

My priority bill, LB 209, which would expand the information required to be provided during a medication abortion will be up for select file, the second stage of debate, soon. A medication abortion is a two pill process and my bill requires a woman be informed that it may be possible to continue their pregnancy after taking the first pill. The required information will direct the woman to the Department of Health and Human Services to be referred to a medical professional who can assist her in continuing the pregnancy. We want women to have every chance to choose life. I hope to have the votes to advance this critical pro-life bill to final reading when it comes up for debate.

It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. If you would like to follow along with live coverage of the session you can do so at www.netnebraska.org/capitol
402-471-2716 jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

Congratulations to all graduates this spring. The journey ahead is what you make of it. So do your best, follow your heart and keep to those special habits instilled in you through your parents, grandparents and teachers. Be willing to give to others, accept recognition and enjoy the future. We hope many of you will remain in Nebraska to find a career, attend higher education and raise a family. Parents and educators I thank you for giving of yourselves to these young people over the years to bring them to this stage of life.

After months of dedication and discussion on creating a balanced budget for the next two years the Appropriations Committee brought forth the proposed budget to the Legislative floor on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. After three hours of floor debate the budget passed to Select File. The budget was amended to include a transfer from the rainy day fund of $51-million to the Property Tax Cash Fund. Select File will have another round to address additional amendments.
LB289 was heard on Tuesday, May 8th for three hours of floor debate. This bill addresses sales tax increases, school funding and several other topics. LB289 is our only property tax relief bill at this time. We have other amendments being proposed which will be discussed in the following days. I am hopeful we can come to an agreement that is beneficial to the greater good of Nebraska.
LB209 has been advanced to Select File and will again have floor debate. To date the conversation has been very informative and educational. This bill offers any female the choice to reverse a chemical abortion within a short period of time after taking the first medication. It gives every female a second chance at choice. This is a pro-life, pro-woman bill with emphasis on informed consent.

I was honored to address the Wayne Area Economic Development (WAED) Government Affairs group on Monday, May 6, 2019. Gathering with our constituents is one of the highlights of serving as a public servant. The exchange of ideas is very important to all elected officials and well appreciated. Wayne will host the 2019 Economic Development Conference June 12-14th and I plan to be there to listen and learn.

As schools begin to close for the summer keep our children in full sight and safe as they cross streets, play in the parks, ride their bikes, and more. Their attention may not be on us but we must have our attention on them for safety and security.

Spring planting is in full swing and many implements are upon our highways and byways. Please give these farmers the room they need to travel safely. Nebraska’s number one industry is farming. With the recent flooding and blizzards across the state we need to be mindful of all farming and ranching operations that may not be able to continue this year their share of growing the good life. Keep all in thought and prayer and look forward to a bountiful harvest this fall.
With only 16 days remaining of the 90-day session, much work is on the table. Some will move forward and others will be held over. Over the interim these bills may become a Legislative Resolution Interim study seeking public input.

Check out nebraskalegislature.gov to follow the bills’ progress or tune into Nebraska TV when the Legislature is in Session.

As always our office welcomes your emails, calls and letters sharing your concerns, support, non-support on topics important to you. You may reach us at jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov or 402.471.2716

At the close of this week, we will be 24 days out from the close of the Legislative Session for 2019. Many bills have passed across our desks and many were mere adjustments to bring up-to-date or take off the books as obsolete. Discussing of Priority Bills from here on out will be our main focus.

This week there was a joint hearing with the Revenue, Nebraska Retirement Systems and Educations Committees. As you know our main objective here at the People’s House is to pass a balanced budget. This hearing addressed LB289 and AM1361 that will change provisions relating to county assessor inspections of real property for property tax purposes.

Creating a budget, educating on the budget and then taking discussions on how this or that may or may not result in our purpose of a balanced budget for the good of all of Nebraska. Much give and take will be on the table to ensure all avenues of revenue are earmarked correctly and that the spending habits of the state stabilize so this process will be a less stressing function of the state every year. Even though a balanced budget is presented every two years, it does affect the in-between years rightfully so.

Property tax relief for all Nebraska has been a main focus of Governor Ricketts and myself. Finding that right avenue to leveraging the burden of taxation is a complicated task. Many Senators have spent endless hours in conversation of the pros and cons of legislation that will bring about this relief for you.

The mid-March weather across Nebraska has placed an unforeseen task to the State to meet the needs of those who have been impacted greatly from the blizzards and floods. We have hundreds of people in our communities assisting with ensuring citizens’ damages and needs are being addressed in a timely manner. From last week’s briefing with the Nebraska Department of Transportation the agency has gone from 3,300 miles of closed roadways down to 11 miles closed. The Nebraska Director Kyle Schneweis had nothing but praise for the roads department employees, the contractors and citizens for the progress that has been made through this horrific season of storms and damages.

The JAG Advantage – taking JAG to the next level! Now this is a new concept based on a promise. That promise is that JAG will deliver student-centered programs to help young people achieve their fullest potential. JAG is about giving students an advantage that will set them apart for all other youth in today’s emerging workforce. JAG stands for “Jobs for America’s Graduates.” We are fortunate in District 17 to have students from Omo ho Nation Public School, Macy NE, currently participants in this program. Two other school systems in Columbus and Fremont also are in the pilot program. We were fortunate to have these students visit the Capitol this week and give their personal story of what this program has provided for them. There are 39 states that have this program in one stage or another and Nebraska is hopeful to have greater participation from schools in the near future. Commissioner John Albin, Nebraska Department of Labor, was instrumental in bringing this learning aspect to the state and looking forward to expansion. Currently we operate under I-JAG (Iowa) with hopes of having a Nebraska JAG. You may access www.jag.org to learn more of this concept in education and across the nation.

As always hearing from you is very important to the work we do in Lincoln. You may follow the legislative process from your local Nebraska TV station and can check the progress of bills at nebraskalegislature.net

Looking forward to hearing from you via email to jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov or phone 402.471.2716.

We are three-fourths the way through the 90-day legislative session and late nights are on the horizon. Priority bills from all levels; i.e., Senator, Committee and Speaker are being discussed on the floor on a daily basis. There is quite a variety of topics. You may witness the floor discussions on the Nebraska TV station provided in your local area.

We welcome constituents’ calls and visits into our office. This is the time of year we welcome our 4th graders throughout the District. It has been a pleasure to greet them at the tour office when time allows and give them an introduction to what we do in their state house. The students and adults in the group each receive a booklet outlining the Nebraska Unicameral.

LB657 (Adopt the Nebraska Hemp Law) had its first found of floor discussion this week in General File and has advanced to Select File. Between now and Select Files revisions may be made to address concerns aired in the floor debate this past week.

LB538 (Change provisions relating to possession of a gambling device and provide for approval of certain mechanical amusement devices by the Department of Revenue) came to the floor for debate under General File and has also been advanced to Select File with revisions seen before it comes to the floor once again.

LB610 (Adopt the College Savings Tax Credit Act) came forward in General File and advance to Select File. This Act would take effect in 2022 and thus does not have a fiscal note attached to it at this time. Much discussion was held and more is sure to come.

We continue to get daily updates on the mid-March 2019 Flooding and Blizzard across the State. These updates are important to the Senators to know how and where progress is being made to get our citizens back to a somewhat normal routine and lifestyle. Our county roads, bridges and highways are a major investment in our current and future plans.

The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee received a briefing on April 17th from Director Kyle Schneweis (NDOT) regarding flood damage to Nebraska’s public infrastructure. I am proud of all Nebraskans for taking the time and energy to allow our state road workers to do their work in a safe and timely manner. Please abide by the road blocks, speed limits and all that is related to getting our roads back to the community for use.

We have heard stories of how well the folks on the ground from NEMA, FEMA, SBA are doing their job and keeping our citizens informed and educated on the what, when, where, how of getting their claims properly submitted and processed. Thank you all for lending your assistance to these agencies.

We are not out of the multi-weather conditions that can arise in Nebraska so continue to be alert, watch out for your neighbors, and keep everyone safe. Please keep your radio and televisions ready for the latest updates in warnings, watches and recommended action.

Once again it has been a privilege to represent you at the Nebraska Unicameral and we do so appreciate hearing from you. You may contact our office at 402.471.2716 or email jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov and check the status of bills at NebraskaLegislature.gov

We have completed the 58th day of the 90-day Legislative Session which equals out to 14 weeks. As we get closer to June 6th we will have “late nights” where we will continue floor debate beyond the 9 AM to 5 PM business hours of most.
High Schoolers from Legislative District 17 (Dakota, Thurston and Wayne counties) learn what it’s like to serve as a state senator. The Unicameral Youth Legislature is a four-day legislative simulation in which high school students take on the role of lawmakers. Student senators sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral. The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students who have an interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate or public speaking. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators, staff and lobbyists. Bill topics are based on legislation considered during the most recent legislative session. From driving laws to the death penalty, topics selected for the legislature are diverse and engaging. Legislative activities are conducted at the Nebraska State Capitol Building in the historic Warner Chamber, which was home to the Nebraska Senate until the state consolidated to a one-house legislature in 1937. The youth legislature is organized by the Nebraska State 4-H Office and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Office youth development program. The Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature, through the Unicameral Information Office, serves as a technical consultant for the Unicameral Youth Legislature. Registrants are encouraged to apply for a Greg Adams Civic Scholarship award, which covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other $100 scholarships are also available. Contact the Unicameral Information Office for more information. Phone: (402) 471-2788 uio@leg.ne.gov
LB222 was advanced to Enrollment and Review (E&R) Initial for preparation for Select File, which will leave only the Final Reading left to get this bill into law. The bill offers a tax credit to volunteer emergency responders once they have met eligibility. This is a good bill and will benefit those who protect us every day.

LB227 will change provisions governing determination of a public or private nuisance under the Nebraska Right to Farm Act also advanced to E & R. This was a bill which received a lot of attention. Select file will surely extend that discussion.

LB270 would make texting while driving a primary offense; thus, allowing law enforcement to make a stop and issue a warning or ticket for the violation. This passed Final Reading and sent to the Governor on April 11. 2019.

It is always a pleasure to receive correspondence from our constituents. We look forward to engaging in a conversation and learning your view of the legislative process. Please continue to contact our office at 402.471.2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov and check out NebraskaLegislature.gov for bill updates.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation announced a new website dedicated to the 2019 flood on April 4th. Nebraskan’s will be able to view updates on the progress on repairs to State highways and bridges as connectivity is restored by going online at: https://dot.nebraska.gov/news-media/nebraska-flood-2019/.

Governor Ricketts signed LB 399, introduced by Senator Slama (LD1), into law last week. LB 399 passed the Legislature on a 44-2-1 vote and updates Nebraska’s law on American civics in public schools. The Governor also signed LB 302, introduced by Senator Hughes (LD44), which merges the Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Energy Office into a single agency. Starting July 1, 2019, the new Department of Environment and Energy will be under the direction of current Department of Environmental Quality Director Jim Macy.

On Tuesday, April 2nd, we began full-day debate at the Legislature and advanced multiple priority bills from General File. This week we advanced LB 268 (Friesen, LD34) which would expand broadband access by making it easier for customers to switch telecommunications companies. Under LB 268, customers would only be required to show that he or she is not receiving high-speed broadband service at the time of application to be eligible switch service providers. In passing LB 268 we hope to encourage larger telecommunications companies to invest in new rural broadband service or maintain current infrastructure. Increasing access to rural broadband is extremely important as we grow the communities in our state. I supported LB 268 and the bill advanced to Select File on a 37-0 vote.

We also debated LB 483 (Erdman, LD47) which would change farmland value for property tax purposes based on the income it can produce. Beginning in the 2020 tax year, the newly created Agricultural Land Valuation Board would create an agricultural land valuation manual that county assessors would determine capitalized net earning capacity. Agricultural productivity value would be determined by: dividing agricultural and horticultural land into major use categories described in the bill and then dividing those categories into subclasses based on soil productivity classifications; computing a net revenue based on an eight-year Olympic average of annual net incomes, in which the highest and lowest one-year values are discarded; and dividing the net revenue by a discount rate determined by each county’s eight-year Olympic average of annual precipitation. LB 483 stalled on General File but may come back for a second round of debate.

 

Live coverage of the full session of the Unicameral is available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol.

It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage my constituents to reach out to me and I look forward to hearing from you.

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

On Tuesday, March 26th, I joined Governor Ricketts, Senator Gragert (LD 40), Executive Director of the Commission on Indian Affairs Judi gaiashkibos, and representatives from the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on a tour of the flood damage in Niobrara. We met with leaders from the Omaha Tribe, Winnebago Tribe, Ponca Tribe, and Santee Sioux Nation to discuss the FEMA process and options to address water system concerns. Nebraska and FEMA have been dedicated to working with our tribes and local communities to ensure that all issues from the flood are addressed. Thurston County is one of the 15 counties that have been approved for residents and businesses to apply for disaster assistance for losses resulting from the flood. How to apply for assistance:

  • Online, visit DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • On a smartphone, download the FEMA app and click on “disaster resources,” then “apply for assistance online.”
  • By phone, call FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 800-621-3362. Telephone registration is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT seven days a week.
  • Visit a Disaster Recovery Center and speak to a FEMA specialist one-on-one. To find the nearest recovery center, go online to gov/DRC.

This week marked the end of committee hearings for the year, meaning the Legislature will go into full-day debate on Tuesday, April 2nd. On Monday, March 25th, LB 320, which I introduced on behalf of the Department of Agriculture was debated. LB 320 aligns the Nebraska Pesticide Act with new federal requirements, cleans up language throughout statute to clarify intent, and removes unnecessary language. LB 320 advanced to Select File without any “no” votes.

Thursday, March 28th I attended the Siouxland Ethanol Annual Meeting in South Sioux City with Governor Pete Ricketts. Nebraska is the second largest ethanol producer in the country and the ethanol industry has created great paying jobs for Nebraskans in small and rural communities. Siouxland Ethanol in Jackson has been a great economic driver for our community and was presented the Ethanol Industry Appreciation Award at the Nebraska Corn Board’s 2019 awards dinner this week. Siouxland was recognized for their dedication to producing a quality, clean-burning renewable fuel, which builds corn demand while also supporting other industries, such as the livestock sector. Northeast Nebraska is lucky to have such a great company in our community.

Attorney General Doug Peterson released information this week to help Nebraskans protect themselves from unethical contractors in the aftermath of the recent floods. While it is inexcusable for anyone to take advantage of victims of a natural disaster, consumers should take steps to protect themselves and their property. Please consider the following information to protect yourself:

  • Before allowing anyone to repair your damaged home, verify his or her credentials.
  • Never sign any document or pay any contractor before verifying their license and/or registration.

More tips and information can be found at the Attorney General’s website: https://ago.nebraska.gov/news/attorney-general-peterson-provides-information-regarding-contractors
Those who suspect a home improvement scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division athttps://protectthegoodlife.nebraska.gov or 800-727-6432.

Live coverage of the full session of the Unicameral is available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol.

It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage my constituents to reach out to me and I look forward to hearing from you.

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

On Friday, March 22nd, I had the opportunity to meet with the emergency managers and communities leaders of Dakota, Thurston, and Wayne Counties. We are so lucky in District 17 to have amazing leaders, law enforcement, and first responders that worked with the community to address the damage from the recent floods. The emergency managers of each county deserve special recognition for all the hard work they have done. Deanna Hagberg of Dakota County, Tom Perez of Thurston County, and Nic Kemnitz of Wayne County have done an amazing job and we are so blessed to have them.

It is possible that more flooding will come with weather changes this spring. Please be mindful of your surroundings and local weather reports. Refer to Nebraska 511 to stay up to date with road closures at http://511.nebraska.gov/ or by calling 511. The Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline is available 24 hours a day for motorists in need of assistance. Drivers can reach NSP by dialing *55 from any cell phone or 911 in an emergency.

On Wednesday, March 20th, I introduced LB 209 to the Judiciary Committee, which I designated as my personal priority bill this year. LB 209 will benefit all women who, after beginning the abortion pill process, want a second chance at choice. LB 209 would add a new section to Nebraska’s informed consent law to include information to help women access the abortion pill reversal process. The legislation simply requires that when a woman walks into an abortion facility, she must be given all the information she needs to make a truly informed choice about her pregnancy, including the information she needs to find help and reversal treatment if she happens to change her mind after taking the abortion pill mifepristone. In Nebraska, 55% of abortions are so-called “medication” abortions – those caused by abortion-inducing drugs. Recent studies have demonstrated it is possible to greatly increase the chance that a mother can save her baby if she begins a standardized abortion pill reversal protocol soon after ingesting the abortion pill, but only if she knows it is possible and where she can find medical help.

Wednesday, it was announced that two bills I am sponsoring have been designated as Speaker Priority bills: LB 222, Change the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act, and LB 595, Change Office of Dispute Resolution to Office of Restorative Justice and Dispute Resolution and change powers and duties of the office. The Agriculture Committee also designated LB 320, Change various provisions of the Pesticide Act and update federal references, which I introduced, as a committee priority bill. I look forward to working with my colleagues to passing these bills this year.

Live coverage of committee hearings and the full session of the Unicameral is available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol. This week will conclude committee hearings and next week we will begin full day debate.

It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage my constituents to reach out to me and I look forward to hearing from you.

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

 

Extreme weather has caused devastation in Northeast Nebraska and across the state. My thoughts and prayers are with all those that have been affected, especially farmers and ranchers. Our first responders have gone above and beyond these last few days. The Nebraska National Guard, Nebraska State Patrol, and many local emergency responders have rescued hundreds of people and pets across the state. Our first responders, friends, and neighbors have truly shown us what “Nebraska Strong” means.

My office has been working closely with emergency managers in Dakota, Thurston, and Wayne Counties to ensure that the state is helping wherever possible. All three counties, the Winnebago Tribe, and the Omaha Tribe have made emergency declarations. Many county roads remain damaged and closed.

Updated information about the situation in our communities and across the state can be found at:

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency

https://nema.nebraska.gov/

402-471-7421

 

Dakota County Emergency Management

http://www.dakotacountyne.org/webpages/emergency_manager/emergency_manager.html

402-987-2106

 

Thurston County

http://www.thurstoncountynebraska.us/webpages/emergency_manager/emergency_manager.html

402-385-6070

 

Wayne County

https://www.waynecountyne.org/238/Emergency-Management

(402) 833-5190

 

Nebraska State Patrol is urging everyone to not drive through flood waters and to keep their distance from the flood waters. Please refer to Nebraska 511 to stay up to date with road closures at http://511.nebraska.gov/ or by calling 511. The Nebraska State Patrol Highway Helpline is available 24 hours a day for motorists in need of assistance. Drivers can reach NSP by dialing *55 from any cell phone or 911 in an emergency.

Residents who need help with home cleanup, cutting trees, removing drywall, insulation, flooring, furniture and appliances or other physical labor-type jobs, can call the Crisis Clean Up Hotline at 833-566-2476 to get on a needs list. Nebraska Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster is coordinating volunteers from across the country to assist with cleanup. For more information, go to https://bit.ly/2UMNtRy. For those with other needs, such as food, shelter, clothing and personal goods, call 211.

For veterans affected by recent flooding in Nebraska, the Nebraska Veterans Aid may be able to assist with food, clothing, and emergency housing (i.e. hotel accommodations). Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis to determine the amount of assistance a veteran and/or their eligible dependents would be able to receive. Additional information on the program is available here: https://veterans.nebraska.gov/nva. Veterans should apply for NVA through their County Veteran Service Officer.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has put together a list of disaster relief resources for Nebraska farmers and ranchers seeking assistance due to severe weather. This list includes information about NDA’s Hay and Forage Hotline and programs from the Farm Service Agency. For information go to:www.nda.nebraska.gov/resources.

To help those affected by the storms, the following assistance programs have been set up:

Nebraska Farm Bureau established a Disaster Relief Fund at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation to provide emergency aid to Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and rural communities affected by recent storms and flooding.

https://nefb.org/get-involved/disaster-assistance

To make a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief:

Visit redcross.org
Call 1-800-RED CROSS
Text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation

Live coverage of committee hearings and the full session of the Unicameral is available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol

It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage my constituents to reach out to me and I look forward to hearing from you.

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

Senator Julie Slama’s (LD1) LB 399, Change the name and provisions related to the committee on Americanism, passed General File with 43 “Yes” and 3 “No” votes. LB 399, which I co-sponsored, would be the first major revision to the state’s civic education standards since 1949. The bill would change the name of the Americanism Committee to the Committee on American Civics. Each school board will have a committee consisting of three members appointed by the school board. Each committee would be required to hold at least two public meetings annually and ensure that the district’s social studies curriculum is accessible to the public. The bill would also ensure that the district’s curriculum aligns with state social studies standards and teaches and assesses foundational knowledge in civics, history, economics, financial literacy, and geography. An Education Committee amendment, adopted 42-3, would remove the bill’s original requirement that districts administer the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization exam and instead would make it one of three options a district would have to include in its curriculum. A district also could require a student to attend or participate in a meeting of a public body and then complete a project or paper demonstrating what he or she learned. While I know that the school districts in Dakota, Thurston, and Wayne Counties already go above and beyond when it comes to teaching civics, I am thankful for Senator Slama, the Education Committee, and my other colleagues that worked hard to pass this bill and for their passion for ensuring our children receive the best education possible.

Senator Tom Brewer’s (LD 43) priority bill, LB 155 – Change eminent domain provisions that apply to privately developed renewable energy generation facilities, was debated on General File on Wednesday, February 27th. I strongly supported this bill along with many of my colleagues, unfortunately, the bill failed to advance to Select File with 23 “Yes”, 8 “No”, and 14 “Present – Not Voting” votes. LB 155 would simply strike one sentence in Chapter 70, Section 1014.02, subparagraph (5): “The exercise of eminent domain to provide needed transmission lines and related facilities for a privately developed renewable energy generation facility is a public use”. I supported removing this sentence because I believe it is wrong to give private citizens the government power of eminent domain over other to profit from renewable energy. I was happy to see some constituents from District 17 join constituents from Senator Brewer’s district and around the state at the Capitol to support LB 155, I am disappointed we fell short of passing the bill. I am looking forward to continuing the conversation about private property rights and crafting policies that are fair to all citizens.

On Thursday, February 28th, the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board released another gloomy preliminary revenue forecast update. The Board lowered projections by $110 million through the next budget cycle; $80 million for the current fiscal year FY2018-19, $20 million for fiscal year FY2019-20, and $10 million for FY2020-21. Senator Stinner (LD 48), Chair of the Appropriations Committee, believes that reality may turn out to be worse than the preliminary budget projections. In the current fiscal year (ending on June 30, 2019), state tax collections have fallen short of projections for four straight months. Through January, net receipts were running $80 million less than predicted in October by the Board. Senators will now need to use this information to carefully make budget decisions as we begin to debate the budget in April. The Board will meet again in late April to release an official projection, shortly before we begin debating the Appropriations Committee’s final budget package.

Live coverage of committee hearings and the full session of the Unicameral is available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol

It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage my constituents to reach out to me and I look forward to hearing from you.

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

 

Sen. Joni Albrecht

District 17
Room #1404
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2716
Email: jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov
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