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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.
Senator Joni Albrecht
State Capitol, Room 1404
PO Box 94604
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604