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 District 17!

I love the opportunities to visit community celebrations like the Wayne Chicken Show and others during the summer months. It is always a pleasure to meet and speak with you. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend couple of community celebrations/parades recently due to my husband’s surgery. If yours was one, I am sorry I missed you and I look forward to seeing you next year!

With additional county fairs and other outdoor activities at a high this time of year, be sure to keep your families and children safe by keeping plenty of water and sunscreen on hand. Also, remember to periodically check on those neighbors who may have challenges related to heat and make sure their air conditioners are providing the relief they need.

Also, I would like to congratulate my Legislative Aide Mackenzie Martin-Fisk, on her pending move to Kansas City. We are very excited that she and her husband are embarking on a new adventure. We will miss her and are grateful for her dedication to our office. Please join me in wishing her the best! Last week was Mackenzie’s last week with our office.

Our office has been busy getting everything ready and prepared for this office change. We welcome my new Legislative Aide Cyndi Lamm to the office beginning July 15. Cyndi has education, experience, and skills that I believe will serve District 17 well and she looks forward to working with constituents on issues in the District.

Finally, I will be attending the Governor’s Summit on Workforce Development this week and will provide a summary for you in next week’s newsletter.

In addition to this office update, I also wanted to let you know about a few more opportunities being offered for Nebraskans.

Sen. Ben Sasse’s office is accepting nominations for the United States Service Academies. Applications opened on May 1st and they are due by October 1st. The Senator will then be conducting interviews in Lincoln in mid-November of this year. You can find out the required materials for this nomination at www.sasse.senate.gov->services->academynominations.

Attending a U.S. Service Academy allows individuals the opportunity to attend a prestigious institution and receive an education free of cost. It also offers a wide variety of academic vocations to choose from, will allow development of leadership skills and attributes that are unparalleled to other institutions and provides participants with the skills and education to serve the country with honor. Finally, as a graduated military officer, individuals have the potential to shape the future of the country’s armed forces.

Interested applicants should apply with your State Senator (my office if in District 17), with their Congressman, and with the US Senator’s office. Consider diversifying the recommendation letters that are submitted and reread your application for any corrections or additions before the October 1st deadline.

As always, 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.
You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

It is hard to believe that it is already July. It feels like the summer is just passing us by.

Our office has maintained a busy rhythm of getting everything organized, filed, and dealt with. July 4th was a paid holiday for state employees so my Capitol office was closed. It was a great opportunity for everyone to recharge.

I would first like to wish all of you a very Happy 4th of July. I hope that all of you were able to enjoy it, that you all stayed safe, and that it gave you time to reflect on what the Independence Day celebration truly means to this country.

This week I also wanted to share with you several great opportunities that are coming up.

If you have a student in your family that has an interest in learning more about Nebraska’s State Capitol, now is your chance. The Clerk of the Legislature’s Office is currently accepting page applications for the 2020 Legislative Session. A legislative page is typically someone who performs small tasks such as running errands, delivering coffee to State Senators, answering phones, or assisting in many other ways throughout the legislative session. It is a great opportunity to get involved in state government. The deadline for submitting page applications and letters of recommendation for the 2020 Legislative Session will be Friday, October 4th at 5pm.

The page selection committee will meet in October to select individuals to fill those positions. If you are interested in becoming a legislative page, then please contact our office and we will get you started on the process.

Congressman Adrian Smith is now currently accepting Angels in Adoption Nominations. Congressman Smith believes Nebraskans who open their homes to provide safety and shelter for children deserve to be recognized for it. Angels in Adoption is a project of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute providing members of Congress the opportunity to honor an individual or entity from their districts for extraordinary contributions on behalf of children in need of homes. Congressman Smith is looking forward to receiving these nominations to honor those who positively impact young lives through adoption and foster care. If you would like to make a nomination then visit, adriansmith.house.gov/angelsinadoption

The nominations are due by Friday, July 19th. The information that needs to be included in the nomination are the name of the nominee, organization if applicable, address, phone, email, and reason for nomination that is 325 words or less. If you would like more information on Angels in Adoption then please contact Congressman Smith’s Grand Island Office at 308-384-3900.

The last opportunity that I want to talk to you about this week is that Nebraska received a grant to expand registered apprenticeships. The Nebraska Department of Labor, NDOL, has received over $840,000 from the US Department of Labor to expand the program across the state. The Apprenticeships State Expansion grant covers the next three years and will allow NDOL to assist business with the new program development. Gov. Pete Ricketts stated that “The ‘earn while you learn’ model of Registered Apprenticeships is growing the state by equipping students to excel in IT and manufacturing.” He added, “Apprenticeships put young Nebraskans on a path to learn valuable skills and to gain technical expertise so that they can get high-paying jobs. As the same time, they help the state’s businesses to find proficient, highly trained Nebraskans to join their teams.”

The grant allows for enrolling over 400 new Registered Apprentices. As of March 2019, there were approximately 125 Registered Apprenticeship (RA) programs in Nebraska, representing an increase of 44% since 2016. Companies that are interested in starting an RA program may contact Scott Asmus with the Nebraska Department of Labor at 402-471-9928. Job seekers interested in participating in an RA should contact their local Nebraska Department of Labor office.

You can also find more information about this at http://dol.nebraska.gov

As always, 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. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

It has been another busy week for District 17. We have been working diligently to continue completing all of the follow ups from our town hall meetings.

There were some great ideas that were expressed to me during my town halls and I am excited to dive into the research side of getting the nuts and bolts figured out on each item first before we proceed any further.

Like always, if you have legislation ideas or thoughts then please feel free to reach out to my office and I will do some digging on those.

This week I want us to dive into what happened with all of my legislation during this year’s legislative session.

I introduced nine pieces of legislation this year. Seven of the nine bills passed and only two stayed in committee.

The nine bills that I introduced were:

  • LB 209 was our informed consent bill. It would require information, materials, and reporting regarding continuing a viable pregnancy after taking mifepristone. LB 209 will also require the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to publish information on finding a qualified health care professional who can administer the reversal process in their print materials, they also will publish this information on their website, and update this information as necessary. It was passed on final reading on May 30th and the vote was 36 yes, 12 no, and 1 present but not voting. I was excited to see this true labor of love get signed into law by the Governor.

 

  • LB 222 will change the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act. The Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act was created in 2016 to award a $250 refundable tax credit for volunteer emergency responders who meet certain criteria. LB 222 will amend language in the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act to simplify the administration of the tax credit. The bill was passed on final reading on April 26th  with a vote of 46 yes and no opposition. Our office recently mailed out a packet of information on this bill to all of our district’s fire departments.

 

  • LB 223 will provide duties with regard to a state-sponsored insurance program for members of the Nebraska National Guard. LB 223 provides further guidance within state law on the state-sponsored life insurance program, ensuring National Guard members maintain the opportunity to access information and enroll in the program. The bill was passed on final reading on March 7th with 46 yes and 1 present but not voting.

 

  • LB 224 will rename the Nebraska Educational, Health, and Social Services Finance Authority Act (NEHSFA). LB 224 will now allow NEHSFA to also be a conduit issuer for private cultural institutions. Private cultural institution means any private not-for profit corporation or institution that (1) has a primary purpose of promoting cultural education or development, such as a museum or related visual arts center, performing arts facility, or facility housing, incubating, developing, or promoting art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history, cultural history, or the sciences, (2) is described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(a) of the code, (3) is located within this state and is not owned or controlled by the state or any municipality, district, or other political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, and (4) does not violate any state or federal law against discrimination. The bill passed on final reading on March 15th. The vote was 41 yes and 2 present but not voting.

 

  • LB 307 will change provisions relating to certain Department of Environmental Quality Funds. LB 307 updates state revolving fund statutes to be consistent with federal laws that allow states additional flexibility to administer the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Construction Loan Fund and the Drinking Water Facilities Loan Fund. The bill was passed on final reading on March 7th with a vote of 45 yes and no opposition.

 

  • LB 320 will change various provisions of the Pesticide Act and update federal references. LB 320 amends the Pesticide Act, by updating the federal regulations adopted by reference relating to changes in the applicator certification program as set out in 40 CFR Part 171. The changes primarily include certification categories for private applicators, requirements related to training and supervision for restricted use pesticide (RUP) applications by uncertified applicators, and setting eighteen as the minimum age for licensed RUP applicators. LB 320 also amends the Pesticide Act by clarifying product registration requirements, jurisdictional issues for out-of-state registrants and licensed applicators, and other clean up provisions. The bill passed on final reading with a vote of 49 yes and no opposition.

 

  • LB 595 will provide for restorative justice under the Dispute Resolution Act, Nebraska Juvenile Code, and the Student Discipline Act and in compulsory attendance collaboration plans and change provisions relating to mediators under the Parenting Act. LB 595 would amend the 1991 Dispute Resolution Act in order to explicitly incorporate restorative justice into the Supreme Court’s Office of Dispute Resolution’s mission and purpose and to sustain its successful restorative justice pilot efforts conducted since 2015. The bill was passed on final reading on May 13th with a vote of 47 yes and no opposition.

 

  • LB 581 would require the use of generally accepted accounting principles in preparing budgets under the Nebraska Budget Act. LB 581 proposes potential language to encourage accessible, uniform, and easy to understand budgets and audit reports of political subdivisions. LB 581 was not passed and stayed in the Government, Military, and Veteran Affairs Committee. I believe, though, that this is something that we need to continue working on and we will be working on it during the interim and bringing it back to the floor next year.

 

  • LB 722 would authorize seizure of Gray Devices under the Nebraska County and City Lottery Act. LB 722 prohibits by definition games (of skill or chance) that make use of a Gray Device, which is a mechanism that accepts currency and awards monetary prizes or something redeemable for monetary prizes, and which uses casino-style games, card games, certain amusement games, or bingo, keno or pickle card themes. The bill, as written, was not brought to the floor. However, parts of LB 722 were amended in Senator Lathrop’s LB 538. The Department of Revenue was pleased to have the two bills come together to make LB 538 as strong as possible. LB 538 was passed on final reading on May 23rd with a vote of 44 yes and 3 present but not voting.

If you would like to read more about any of my bills or any other bills from this past session then please go to https://nebraskalegislature.gov/.

As always, 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. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

Weekly Update – June 21st
June 25th, 2019

My office has officially completed our town halls for the summer.

I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who came and who added to the conversation. My office is now busy working on following up with all of you who requested further assistance. It was such a privilege to be able to connect with so many of you from my district.

The topics that we discussed during the town halls varied depending on the main interests expressed by those in attendance. We discussed the budget, property taxes, education, business incentives, rural workforce development, both of my committees (Natural Resources and Transportation and Telecommunications), all of my legislation, and my interim study.
We also provided information on flood rebuilding/assistance, redistricting, wind farms, and sports gaming.
Each town hall was very productive and really helped me see what the most pressing needs are for you, my constituents. If you were unable to make it to the town halls, but have opinions or questions that you want heard or answered, then please reach out to me. I would love to hear from you.

In addition to finishing up the town halls this week, my calendar also had one other great event in the District on it.
On Tuesday, June 18th, I was able to attend the “Wayne Right to Life” event in Wayne, NE. The event allowed me the opportunity to further dive into the information that surrounds my priority bill, LB 209, the informed consent bill. It was a great opportunity to answer questions and hear more opinions on my bill after it was signed into law by the Governor on June 4th.

In July, we will have another great program take place in Nebraska.

The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) will begin on July 8th and wrap up on July 12th. NAYI will be held in Lincoln at the University of Nebraska’s East Campus. Each year more than 200 high school juniors and seniors, sharing an interest in agriculture, gather together to develop leadership skills, explore career opportunities, and learn more about Nebraska’s number one industry. NAYI is the longest running program of its kind in the nation.
During the five-day program, delegates participate in agriculture policy and group discussions, farm management activities, and a variety of networking opportunities with peers and industry leaders. It gives the students an opportunity to learn about various career options since a quarter of the jobs in Nebraska are related to agricultural.

Since NAYI started in Nebraska, it has been able to impact the lives of 6,400 students from across the state. Delegates apply for and are selected to attend NAYI free of charge due to the numerous donations from agricultural businesses, commodity groups, and industry organizations.

I would like to congratulate the students from District 17 that will be participating in NAYI this year. Congratulations to Allison Claussen of Wayne, Hana Nelson of Wayne, Josie Thompson of Wayne, Taylor Daum of Emerson, Tyler Gilliland of Wayne and, Kylie Kempf of Carroll.

NAYI is organized by the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council. For more information on NAYI, visit the website at: nda.nebraska.gov/nayi.

I also want to make sure that all of you, my constituents, and the rest of Nebraska know about the Report of Destroyed Real Property Form (Form 425) that will be due on or before July 15th. The Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division, has a new form that has been created, pursuant to 2019 Neb. Law LB 512. The Form 425 is to be used by owners of real property whose property has suffered significant property damage as a result of a calamity occurring on or after January 1 and before July 1 of the current assessment year. The property owner may file Form 425 with the county assessor and the county clerk on or before July 15.

A calamity is defined as a disastrous event, including, but not limited to, a fire, an earthquake, a flood, a tornado, or other natural event which significantly affects the assessed value of the property. Destroyed real property does not include property suffering significant property damage that is caused by the owner of the property.

Significant property damage is defined as damage to an improvement exceeding 20% of the improvement’s assessed value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor; damage to the land exceeding 20% of a parcel’s assessed land value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor; or damage exceeding 20% of the property’s assessed value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor if: the property is located in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the Governor and a housing inspector or health inspector has determined the property is uninhabitable or unlivable.
The county board of equalization will consider the report to determine any adjustments to the assessed value of the destroyed real property for the current year.

The county board of equalization must act upon this report on or after June 1 and on or before July 25, or on or before August 10 if the board has adopted a resolution to extend the deadline to hear protests under
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-1502, and must send a notice of the reassessment value for the destroyed real property to the property owner.

I encourage all of you to spread the word among your family and friends about this form. Form 425 can be located online at http://www.revenue.nebraska.gov/PAD/forms/f_425.pdf

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. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov


June 18th, 2019
Weekly Update – June 14th
June 17th, 2019

My office has remained busy during the interim as all of us prepare for many town halls that I will be hosting on June 17th, 2019 in all three of the counties in my district.

I am excited to be able to have the opportunity to connect with my constituents and to be able to fill you in on the ins and outs of this year’s legislative session. I would also like to thank all of you that called or emailed us at my office with concerns and ideas that you would like to hear and talk about at the town hall meetings. Hearing from constituents is always something that I look forward to and it helps me be a more effective Senator.

In addition to preparing for the town halls, my calendar was also filled with several great events in the District. On Saturday, June 15th I was able to attend the “Cornerstone Laying Ceremony” with the Brethren in Rosalie, NE. The ceremony for the new Olive Branch Masonic Lodge No. 274 was a traditional ceremony for the laying of the first stone. It is virtually the same ceremony that was used by Brother and President George Washington when he laid the Cornerstone for our nation’s Capitol. In Wayne, NE I was able to attend a joint event between the Nebraska Diplomats and the Nebraska Economic Developers Association. At the event they gave awards to those who have contributed to Nebraska’s economic development. It was an honor to be around such great Nebraskans. Also in Wayne, I was able to attend the Northeast Cattleman’s dinner and fundraiser at the Wayne County Fair Grounds. The Nebraska Cattlemen raise money for various youth scholarships for Nebraska students. It is always such an enjoyable event for a great cause.

I would also like to take some time to wish all of the fathers in my district a heartfelt, Happy Father’s Day. I am truly grateful for all of the lessons and love that I have received from my Dad through the years.

This week, we had another great program take place. The Junior Law Cadet Program of the Nebraska State Patrol and the American Legion occurred.

Every year, high school juniors from each of The American Legion’s 14 Districts in Nebraska are chosen to participate in the Junior Law Cadet Program. The purpose of the program is to allow male and female students the opportunity to explore and experience the various aspects of law enforcement training. Students participate in daily calisthenics and receive training in firearms, self-defense, fingerprinting, K-9 handling, accident and criminal investigation, lie detector testing, and state patrol car driving. Students stay at the Nebraska State Patrol Training Academy in Grand Island. This year’s Junior Law Cadet Program began on June 10th and ended on June 13th. I am proud to announce that District 17 had two students participate in this year’s program. I would like to congratulate Daityn Chase from Jackson and Stuart Hasemann from Wayne. I am excited to see where life takes you both.

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. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

We have entered into our first week of the interim. Even though the legislative session has ended, our office has maintained a busy schedule. I was able to enjoy a few days back in the district before I had to head back to Lincoln for the Nebraska Workforce Development Board Meeting on Friday. The Nebraska Workforce Development Board is established by the Governor in accordance with Section 101 of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA). The Nebraska Workforce Development Boards purpose is to convene state, regional, and local workforce system partners to help enhance the capacity and performance of the workforce development system while aligning and improving outcomes and effectiveness of federally-funded and other workforce programs and investments. Through these efforts, they promote economic growth, engage business, education, economic development, labor representatives, and other stakeholders to participate in a systematic way to address workforce needs to achieve the State’s strategic and operational vision and goals as outlined in the State Combined Plan.
It has been a true honor to be appointed to this board again for the third year in a row by Governor Ricketts. Nebraska is in desperate need of workers. Other than property taxes, one of the most important issues facing Nebraska is developing our workforce. Through my role on this board, I hope to help grow our economy through improving our workforce. In developing our workforce, we cannot neglect the role education plays and the role parents play in helping their children find the right path in Nebraska’s workforce after high school. For some, education will mean continuing their studies beyond high school in a college or university. For others, their strengths may be found in vocational training or a similar path. High-skill workers are in great demand and preparing our youth is one of the steps that can help grow our state economy. I am excited to see what our board is able to work on this year and to watch our progress. I will be sure to keep you updated on this exciting opportunity.
In addition to the Workforce Development Board taking place this week, Nebraska’s Cornhusker Girls and Boys State also occurred. The American Legion Boys State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high-school male students. A participatory program in which students become part of the operation of local, county and state government. Boys State was founded in 1935. The American Legion Auxiliary also developed a citizenship training program based on the formation of the American Legion’s Boys State program called Girls State. This program offers training in the positive process of self-government and good citizenship as practiced in democratic societies. Girls State began as one- and two-day sessions in the late 1930’s. Then in 1939, Girls State was altered to make it a week-long government education program. Since 1948, it has been a regular part of the Auxiliary’s Americanism curriculum. Each summer approximately 50,000 young women and men participate in Boys and Girls State sessions across the nation. District 17 had several dedicated young women and men participate in this year’s Boys and Girls State. Emily Walsh of Wakefield, Lilly Fellin of Dakota City, Senior Counselor Dylan Kent of Pender, Faith Junck of Carroll, Kathryn Baker of Homer, Elizabeth Gerkin of South Sioux City, and Middle Counselor Corina Burkhart of Dakota City were the young women representing the district. Jacob Aitken of South Sioux City, Alex Carlson of Winside, Tyrus Eischeid of Wayne, Matthew Georgesen of Hubbard, Jagger Horken of South Sioux City, Jacob Huerta of Hubbard, Luke Kramer of Rosalie, Edward Olander of Winside, Zach Rapp of South Sioux City, and Joshua Shadbolt of Dakota City were the young men representing the district. I am very proud of these young men and women and am excited to see where life takes them.
I have also set my town hall meetings for the month of June and they will be as follows: Wayne County’s town hall meeting will be on Monday, June 17th at 9am at Tacos & More at 509 Dearborn in Wayne, NE. Thurston County’s town hall meeting will be on Monday, June 17th at 11am at the Pender Community Center at 614 Main in Pender, NE. Dakota County’s town hall meeting will be on Monday, June 17th at 2pm at South Sioux City’s Hy-Vee at 2501 Cornhusker in South Sioux City, NE.
As always 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. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

We are down to our final day for this 90-day session. Yesterday on Thursday, May 30th, my priority bill, LB 209, which would expand the information required to be provided during a medical abortion passed while on final reading. This legislation will simply strengthen Nebraska’s informed consent law. I believe that women deserve to know all of the medical information before receiving a chemical abortion. 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. This was the longest that I have debated a bill before. The debate for this bill took all of the allotted time that it was given at every stage. We debated 10.5 hours on LB209. The vote was 36 to 12. I am very pleased that this pro-woman bill is headed to Governor Ricketts’ desk.

Even though I was a no vote on this year’s budget I am pleased that we took a step in the right direction by getting the great people of the state of Nebraska some needed property tax relief. This year’s budget had a 2.9% average two-year increase in spending. The increase rate in spending was irresponsible which is why I voted in opposition of the budget. I want to cut spending not increase it. However, I am pleased that the budget will deliver $550 million in direct property tax relief over the next two years.

LB720, known also as the ImagiNE Act, did not pass. The ImagiNE Act is a replacement package for the Advantage Act for business incentives designed to keep Nebraska competitive. I was originally in favor of the bill but that changed once I saw the amendments that were put on the bill. I believed that the amendments hurt the bill rather than helped it. The amendments did not help bring any additional property tax relief which is what led several rural Senators to pull their support from LB720. We still have another year before the Advantage Act sunsets in 2020 so I am confident that we will see some form of this bill again next year.

On May 24th we had a reading of LR150 recognizing National Poppy Day. The Poppies were given to each Senator for the recognition of Memorial Day. U.S. Army Veteran, Dennis Otte, of Wayne, NE handmade the Memorial Poppies. In attendance for the reading were the Department Officers of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Beverly Neel is the Nebraska Department President of the American Legion Auxiliary. She serves as my Administrative Assistant and has been the assistant in District 17 since 2010. Her work this year has been exemplary and I am happy to have her as a part of our team.

In addition to the excitement of the end of the Legislative Session, our office is delighted to welcome a new staffer to our team! Mackenzie Martin-Fisk has joined our office as our new Legislative Aide. She will be your main contact at the Capitol office. Mackenzie has worked in both the Missouri State Capitol and the Nebraska State Capitol. She worked in the Missouri State Capitol in both the Senate and the House of Representatives for a few years before moving to Nebraska to work for a local nonprofit. After two years in the nonprofit sector, she chose to get back into state government and worked for Senator John Kuehn in District 38 for more than a year. Mackenzie and her husband, Shayne Fisk, live in Lincoln, NE with their three year old corgi, Athena.

The Governor’s Youth Advisory Council (GYAC) is also now accepting applications. Applications are available on the NE Children and Families Foundation at www.projecteverlast.org/councils/gyac.html or by calling 402-817-2003.

The First Session of the 106th Legislature is ending a week sooner than scheduled. We were set to Sine Die on June 6th but Speaker Scheer choose to end on Friday, May 31st. I am excited to head back to District 17 and to be with you, my constituents, again. I will be planning town hall meetings for June so stay tuned for that. It has been a true honor and one of my greatest privileges to represent District 17 during this 90 day session.

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. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email 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

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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