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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
Thurston County Extension
Wayne County Extension
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.