NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

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

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

 

 

On Monday, March 4th, I had the honor of presenting one of the History Nebraska’s 2018 Historic Preservation Award to Scott and Katie Darling and Candice Gardea from Pender. The Historic Preservation award is the State’s premier recognition for significant achievement or exemplary accomplishment in the preservation of Nebraska’s historic places. Scott, Katie and their daughter Candice, were selected for the restoration of the Palace Hotel/Palace Lofts in Pender which is an excellent example of the influence that rehabilitation projects can have in historic buildings in some of our smaller communities.

Tuesday, March 5th, the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association hosted a lunch for Senators here in Lincoln. I visited with school officials from Wakefield, Pender, and Wayne about the importance of fairly funding our rural school districts. I am thankful to have such active school officials that participate with me in the legislative process and look forward to working with them as we implement fair school funding and property tax relief.

The week, the Legislature began debate on LB 284, (McCollister) Change sales and use tax provisions relating to out-of-state retailers and multivendor marketplace platforms. LB 284 would require internet retailers without a physical presence in Nebraska to collect and remit state sales tax on purchases made by Nebraska residents. This bill follows a recent change in federal law that allows the collection of such sales tax. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last June in South Dakota v. Wayfair that states may require online retailers without a physical presence in the state to collect and remit state sales tax if they pass legislation to do so. LB 284 includes an exception for small retailers with sales of $100,000 or less or 200 or fewer annual transactions. Following some amendments, the bill passed with overwhelming support through General File and Select File, and should easily pass Final Reading. The Legislative Fiscal Office has estimated that it would generate an additional $30 million to $40 million in revenue each year which I would like to see be used for property tax relief. LB 284 will go into effect April 1st.

On Wednesday, March 6th, I presented LB 595 to the Judiciary Committee to be considered. LB 595, Change Office of Dispute Resolution to Office of Restorative Justice and Dispute Resolution and change powers and duties of the office, amends the Dispute Resolution Act to incorporate Restorative Justice into the Office of Dispute Resolution’s mission and purpose. This approach would provide long term sustainability to both the practice and the implementation of restorative justice in the statewide court system, primarily in the juvenile justice arena as well as into the adult criminal arena. Over the last few years, the Office of Dispute Resolution has implemented a pilot program has seen significant success in improving communities and reducing recidivism of youth in the juvenile justice system through Victim Youth Conferencing and other restorative justice practices. We are working with the Office of Dispute Resolution, the Judiciary Committee, and other interested parties to craft an amendment that will make a few changes to make this bill the best it can be. I look forward to bringing LB 595 to the floor of the Legislature and increasing accessibility to restorative justice across the state.

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

 

 

 

Presidents Day provides us with the opportunity to honor and reflect on the founders and leaders that made our great country what it is today. America continues to be the best country in the world as we continue to fight for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am thankful for the leaders that have fought for the freedoms and opportunities that make the United States, especially Nebraska, the best place to work, play, and raise a family.

 

With snow and cold weather taking over Northeast Nebraska, please be careful when traveling. The Nebraska Department of Transportation offers up-to-the-minute travel and traffic updates via Nebraska 511. On their website, you can track snowplows on the Nebraska state highway system and view photos of real-time road conditions. Visit http://511.nebraska.gov or call 511 to learn more about current road conditions. Please travel safe and stay warm!

 

This week we debated Sen. Julie Slama’s (LD1) LB 399, Change the name and provisions related to the committee on Americanism, for the second time (a total of six hours of debate is allowed on each bill). LB 399, which I co-sponsored, change the name of the committee to the committee on American civics. The new 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. It also would 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. We also debated Senator Tom Brewer’s (LD43) LB 575, Require school district policies regarding the provision of information to and access by military recruiters, which allows military recruits to visit high schools and speak with students about opportunities after graduation.

 

During debate, Senator Ernie Chambers (LD11) referred to the American flag as a “rag” and compared the flag to a swastika while harshly and unfairly criticizing our great county. Senator Chambers regularly criticizes our country and the brave men and women who fight for our freedoms (including the freedom of speech that he regularly enjoys), but his criticisms are ugly and inappropriate. His comments also outrageously minimize the horrors and millions of lives lost during the Holocaust and Second World War. Senator Brewer responded to Senator Chambers’ comments during debate of LB 575, his words summarize my feelings perfectly:

 

“I think I speak for most of us that have worn the uniform, it rips our heart out to hear someone say that they refer to the flag as a rag because for those of us that have brought home those that we’ve lost it’s hard to refer to the flag as a rag because you have to fold it and you have to give it to the parents — that’s awful hard to do.”

 

I am so thankful for the sacrifices of men and women, like Senator Brewer, that have sacrificed so much to protect us and our country. I proudly stand to support our veterans and to honor our flag. God bless the men and women who have fought for our freedoms.

 

Although some of my colleagues have decided not to protect and support life by voting last year’s Title X provisions out of the budget, President Trump’s administration made a historic pro-life move this past week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services followed Nebraska’s lead by issuing a new rule that makes any health care clinic that performs or refers patients for abortions ineligible to receive federal Title X funding. Abortion is not a part of family planning; this rule will ensure that only clinics that provide family planning services receive federal funding. While this will not shut down or completely defund family planning clinics that perform or refer abortions, as clinics that offer abortion services can discontinue those services or separate them completely from their family planning services, this is a momentous step towards protecting the lives of the unborn. I proudly support the efforts of the Trump administration and Governor Pete Ricketts to keep Nebraska a Pro-Life state.

 

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

 

Last year, Nebraska took an extraordinary step as a Pro-Life state by including language in our budget to deny Title X funding to clinics that provide abortions or facilities that refer a patient to clinics that provide abortions. Title X is a federal grant program that gives money to family planning clinics to ensure millions of low-income or uninsured individuals have access to family planning and related preventative health services. In 2016, Congress passed a resolution giving states the power to divert Title X funds away from clinics that provide abortions or facilities that refer a patient to clinics that provide abortions. The provision included in the state budget last year simply instated this provision allowed by Congress to ensure no federal funds are used for abortions. Additionally, in June 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services follow Nebraska’s lead by proposing a new Title X regulation that would enforce statutory program integrity provisions by no longer permitting Title X-funded family planning services at the same location where abortion is provided.

This week, the Appropriations Committee passed a state budget which took out the Title X language the Legislature agreed on and passed last year. I am disappointed that my colleagues who voted for this measure last year decided to change their vote. I support including Title X language in the budget to ensure that Nebraska continues to reflect our Pro-Life values.

On Thursday, my bill LB 224, Rename the Nebraska Educational, Health, and Social Services Finance Authority Act and provide for applicability, was debated on General File. LB 224 allows the Nebraska Educational, Health, and Social Services Finance Authority (NEHSFA) to be a conduit issuer of tax-exempt bonds for cultural institutions. NEHSFA currently issues bonds for private not-for-profit colleges, private not-for-profit hospitals, and certain not-for-profit social service organizations. Bonds issued by the NEHSFA are not obligations of the State of Nebraska or any political subdivision. An amendment was proposed to broaden the non-discrimination requirement for institutions. The original language mirrored other NEHSFA statutes, the amendment makes a small change by requiring that institutions do not violate any state or federal laws against discrimination. The amendment and LB 224 both passed without any “no” votes. I am excited to advance LB 224 from Select File and Final Reading and begin allowing cultural institutions to exercise another avenue to secure funding for projects.

Cultural institutions are important drivers of economic development in our state. Last year, over 349,000 Nebraskans, or nearly 1 in 5 adult Nebraskans, went to see an art exhibit or art performance – this is the highest participation rate of any state in the U.S. Cultural tourism has an enormous impact on local economies, with performances and arts festivals drawing visitors to enjoy restaurants, lodging, and retail establishments. Nebraska’s arts and cultural industry is a $174 million industry generating $18.8 million in local and state government revenue. As the Legislature explores tools to expand economic development in the state, LB 224 will provide infrastructure and programming to attract visitors and can be used as a recruiting and retention tool for local economies.

On Friday, I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at the Wayne Area Economic Development Young Professionals event. It was encouraging to hear from young leaders that are dedicated to keeping our community growing and thriving.

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

 

This year, 739 bills were introduced in the Unicameral, in addition to multiple Legislative Resolutions. Legislative Resolutions are a proposal to make a formal expression of opinion, intent or recognition, amend the state or federal constitution, or authorize a study of an issue during the interim.

The Legislature has been debating and passing bills through General File and Select File, but Senators have begun designating priority bills that will soon dominate debate. Bills that are selected for priority status are generally considered ahead of other bills in debate. Each senator may select one priority bill, each committee may select two priority bills, and Speaker Jim Scheer may select up to 25 priority bills. Priority designations are due prior to adjournment on Tuesday, March 19th; by that time we will have a good idea of the topics that will lead debate this year. To view all priority bills please visit https://nebraskalegislature.gov/session/priority.php

On Friday February 8th, two bills I sponsored passed to Select File from General File without any “No” votes. I am looking forward to advancing these bills through Select File and having them signed into law by Governor Ricketts.

I introduced LB 307, Change provisions relating to certain Department of Environmental Quality Funds, on behalf of the Department of Environmental Quality. The bill aligns our statutes with federal law to allow the Department of Environmental Quality to transfer funds between the Drinking Water Facilities Loan Fund and the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Construction Loan Fund to maximize the use of federal funds. The Drinking Water Facilities Loan Fund program provides low-interest loans and loan forgiveness to owners of public drinking water systems. The Wastewater Treatment Facilities Construction Loan Fund provides low-interest loans and small community matching grants to municipalities for construction of wastewater treatment facilities and sanitary sewer collection systems to alleviate public health and environmental problems.

LB 307 will ensure that our communities, especially rural communities, continue to have access to federal loan funds for projects that protect public health and promote community growth. Public drinking water systems and municipalities are eligible for the Drinking Water Facilities Loan Fund and Wastewater Treatment Facilities Construction Loan Fund respectively. More information can be found at http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/OnWeb/CA or by calling 402-471-2186.

LB 223, Provide a state-sponsored insurance program for members of the Nebraska National Guard, 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. I am so proud to sponsor LB 223 to protect our service members’ access to life-insurance for them and their families.

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 Joni Albrecht

State Capitol, Room 1404

PO Box 94604

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604

Since I was elected to the Nebraska Unicameral, I have been disappointed and disheartened that we did not recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning before beginning the legislative day. Reciting the pledge is a small but important tribute we can make to veterans that have given everything to protect our freedoms. I am proud to be leading an effort to ensure that we recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning before starting the legislative session. My colleagues have been excited to join me and we have secured pledge leaders for each day of session so far.

On Saturday, January 26th Nebraska celebrated our 45th annual Walk for Life. Each year, thousands of Nebraskans gather at the Capitol steps to celebrate life and march to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Union to stand for life. I had the opportunity to share information about my bill LB 209 and join fellow elected officials to support the pro-life movement. This year, we heard from Catherine Adair, a former Planned Parenthood employee. After being pressured into an abortion at 19, she began working at Planned Parenthood and witnessed thousands of abortions. After seeing the aftermath of a second-trimester abortion, she could no longer participate in the horror of what she was doing. I am thankful for women like Catherine who share their stories and continue to stand for life. We are so blessed to live in a pro-life state!

I introduced LB 307 on behalf of the Department of Environmental Quality in the Natural Resources Committee this week. The bill updates statutes relating to the revolving funds administered by the Department to allow more flexibility as authorized by federal law. The ability to transfer funds will provide the state with flexibility to allocate the funds where the demand for community infrastructure improvement is greatest. I want to thank South Sioux City administrator Lance Hedquist for coming to testify in support of the bill. LB 307 was advanced to General File from the Natural Resources Committee unanimously, I am looking forward to passing LB 307 and seeing its benefits to South Sioux City and the rest of District 17.

I also introduced LB 222 and LB 223 in committees this week. LB 222, Change the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act, cleans up language to simplify the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act to ensure that all qualifying emergency responders can receive the $250 tax credit the Act allows. LB 223, Provide a state-sponsored insurance program for members of the Nebraska National Guard, adds language into law for a common practice in the National Guard regarding the sale of National Guard sponsored life insurance, to ensure that National Guard members may continue to have access to the life insurance benefits. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass both of these bills.

District 17 is home to three wonderful Extension programs. The Wayne County Extension Program is located in the City of Wayne and offers a stellar 4-H program and other Ag related programs for school age children. The 4-H program reached over 60% of the age-eligible youth in kindergarden-12th grade in the county in 2017. Also in 2017, Nebraska Extension in Wayne County, along with current and past 4-H’ers and industry leaders, hosted an agriculture literacy event designed to target 4th grade students to learn about “life on the farm”. Wayne County Extension has made such a positive impact on agriculture and our community. I am proud of their outreach and thank the directors for all their hard work.

To learn more about extension programs in your county, please call their office or visit their website.

 

Dakota County Extension

402-987-2140

Dakota.unl.edu

 

Thurston County Extension

402-385-6041

Thurston.unl.edu

 

Wayne County Extension

402-375-3310

Wayne.unl.edu

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 Joni Albrecht

State Capitol, Room 1404

PO Box 94604

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604

Multiple bills have been introduced with the goal of reducing the property tax burden this year. These bills are great conversation starters that will help us work towards finding a solution that benefits all Nebraskans. I do not agree with every provision of the bills as they have been introduced, and expect these bills will be amended and worked on throughout the legislative session as we build a viable piece of legislation. I will not be looking to increase taxes and will be working closely with my colleagues to find other means of lowering the property tax burden. I am so proud to represent District 17 and am dedicated to keeping our rural communities and small businesses vibrant and thriving, and property tax relief is an essential piece of sustaining our great communities.

Wednesday, January 23, was the last day to introduce bills for the 2019 legislative session. I introduced an additional three bills: LB 581, LB 595, and LB 722.

LB 581, Require the use of generally accepted accounting principles in preparing budgets under the Nebraska Budget Act, was introduced as an opportunity to study the best way to create accounting uniformity, transparency, and accountability in the budgets of governmental bodies. LB 581­ proposes requiring governmental bodies to use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles using the accrual basis when preparing budgets and financial statements as a possible solution. The recent budget crisis in the City of York demonstrates the necessity of creating uniformity in financial statements to help elected officials and residents understand where their tax dollars are being spent. I look forward to inviting and receiving input from all interested parties to the committee hearing so we can work towards the important goal of achieving efficiency and transparency in government.

LB 595, Change Office of Dispute Resolution to Office of Restorative Justice and Dispute Resolution and change powers and duties of the office, amends the Dispute Resolution Act to incorporate Restorative Justice into the Office of Dispute Resolution’s mission and purpose. This approach would provide long term sustainability to both the practice and the implementation of restorative justice in the statewide court system, primarily in the juvenile justice arena as well as into the adult criminal arena. Over the last three years, the Supreme Court has implemented a pilot program has seen significant success in reducing recidivism of youth in the juvenile justice system through Victim Youth Conferencing and other restorative justice practices.

LB 722, Authorize seizure of gray devices under the Nebraska County and City Lottery Act, amends the Nebraska County and City Lottery Act to clarify the definition of “grey devices”, which are machines that are used for a form of gambling and allow for the regulations and seizure of the grey devices.

National School Choice Week was celebrated at the Capitol this week. On Thursday, I proudly gave the prayer at the School Choice Rally and introduced Governor Ricketts as he signed a proclamation celebrating the occasion. School choice empowers parents with additional options to make the best decision for their children, whether that choice be private or public schools. I strongly support our public schools and am dedicated to ensuring our public schools receive fair funding, our children receive a quality education, and parents maintain the ability to make the best choice for their children.

District 17 is home to three wonderful Extension programs. The Thurston County Extension Program is located in Pender and offers programs to school age children in addition to 4-H programs. The College and Career Readiness program offers future-first generation college students the opportunity to tour UNL, Real World Money classes that teach middle-schoolers financial management, and Connecting the Dots simulations that offer career exploration and education to high school students. Thurston County Extension’s Library Program partners with local libraries to provide lessons to teach students about STEM oriented lessons. The After School programs help youth develop internal strength to resist risky behaviors to reduce tobacco, drug, and alcohol use. Thurston County Extension has made such a positive impact on our community. I am proud of their outreach and thank the directors for all their hard work.

To learn more about extension programs in your county, please call their office or visit their website.

 

Dakota County Extension

402-987-2140

Dakota.unl.edu

 

Thurston County Extension

402-385-6041

Thurston.unl.edu

 

Wayne County Extension

402-375-3310

Wayne.unl.edu

 

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

The Wayne Community Housing Development Corporation was selected as one of the first recipients of the Rural Workforce Housing Development Fund, created by LB 518 to help rural communities address local workforce housing needs. As Chair of the Business and Labor Committee, I prioritized LB 518, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Ricketts two years ago. On Thursday, Governor Ricketts visited the city of Wakefield to cut the ribbon of the new housing development in Wakefield. Housing is an important priority for rural Nebraska, and an opportunity to create stronger communities better equipped to support economic growth. Wakefield’s development is one of many projects that will be completed thanks to the help of LB 518.

Tuesday, January 22 we will begin committee hearings on bills that have been introduced; each bill that is introduced in the Legislature receives a public hearing. I am excited to be serving on the Transportation and Telecommunications and Natural Resources Committees. Committee hearings will be streamed live by NET at: http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government. Live coverage of the full session of the Unicameral is also available from that page.

As of Friday, January 18, I have introduced six bills. LB 209, LB 222, LB 223, LB 224, LB 307, and LB 320. I look forward to discussing these bills with my colleagues and plan to share more information with you in the coming weeks.

LB 209, Require information regarding reversal of medication abortion, would add a new section to Nebraska’s informed consent law to include information to help women access the abortion pill reversal process. LB 209 is a pro-woman, pro-information, pro-life, and pro-choice bill that will benefit all women who, after beginning the abortion pill process, want a second chance at choice.

LB 222, Change the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act, cleans up language to simplify the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act to ensure that all qualifying emergency responders can receive the $250 tax credit the Act allows.

LB 223, Provide a state-sponsored insurance program for members of the Nebraska National Guard, adds language into law for a common practice in the National Guard regarding the sale of National Guard sponsored life insurance, to ensure that National Guard members may continue to have access to the life insurance benefits.

LB 224, Rename the Nebraska Educational, Health, and Social Services Finance Authority Act and provide for applicability, allows the Nebraska Educational, Health, and Social Services Finance Authority (NEHSFA) to be a conduit issuer of tax exempt bonds for cultural institutions. NEHSFA currently issues bonds for private not-for-profit colleges, private not-for-profit hospitals, and certain not-for-profit social service organizations. Bonds issued by the NEHSFA are not obligations of the State of Nebraska or any political subdivision.

LB 307, Change provisions relating to certain Department of Environmental Quality Funds, allows the Department of Environmental Quality to transfer funds between the Drinking Water Facilities Loan Fund (DWSRF) and the Wastewater Treatment Facilities Construction Loan Fund (WTFCLF) to maximize the use of federal and state funds. The DWSRF program provides low interest loans and loan forgiveness to owners of public drinking water systems. The WTFCLF provides low interest loans and small community matching grants to municipalities for construction of wastewater treatment facilities and sanitary sewer collection systems to alleviate public health and environmental problems.

LB 320, Change various provisions of the Pesticide Act and update federal references, aligns the Pesticide Act with new federal requirements. It also cleans up language throughout to clarify intent and remove unnecessary language.

In the next few weeks, I also plan on highlighting the amazing Extension Programs in District 17. The Dakota County Extension Program is located in Dakota City and offers 4-H programs, in addition to many other valuable programs. The SNAP-ED program offers nutrition education kits to school classrooms; in 2017 the program offered over 400 minutes of nutrition education in classrooms. The Students and STEM program offers learning and enrichment experiences, including robotics experiences, to over 675 students. The Growing Healthy Habits program offers hands-on gardening lessons that encourages physical activity and teaches nutrition, reaching over 130 students. Dakota County is lucky to have such a wide-ranging and helpful Extension program, I am proud of their outreach and successes and thank the directors for all their hard work.

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 Joni Albrecht

State Capitol, Room 1404

PO Box 94604

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604

The 106th Legislature convened on Wednesday, January 9th and it has been wonderful to be back with my colleagues and great to welcome the new senators. I will serve on the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee along with continuing to serve on the Natural Resources Committee for the next two years. Telecommunications and internet access in rural Nebraska, including District 17, is an important issue that I look forward to addressing in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.

Governor Pete Ricketts officially recognized January 11th as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. At the proclamation signing, I joined Governor Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore, along with Attorney General Doug Peterson, State Senators, members of the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force, and non-profit organizations. Nebraska continues to be a leader in raising awareness and making progress towards ending human trafficking in our state and around the nation. In recent years, we have strengthened human trafficking laws and the Attorney General’s office has provided training to law enforcement across the state. The Attorney General’s Office also provides awareness posters for the public. We encourage Nebraskans to learn the signs of trafficking and to report concerns of trafficking to the Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888).

On January 11th, I proudly introduced a pro-woman, pro-information, pro-life, and pro-choice bill that 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. Rebekah Buell Hagan, a brave mom who saved her child through the abortion pill reversal process and Teresa Kenney, nurse practitioner and administrator of the process, joined me at a press conference Friday morning to discuss the importance of LB 209.

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 Joni Albrecht

State Capitol, Room 1404

PO Box 94604

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604

 

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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