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Joni Albrecht

Sen. Joni Albrecht

District 17

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Weekly News–November 10, 2023
November 9th, 2023

On Tuesday, November 7th, the Winnebago Tribe lost Winnebago Councilman, Louis LaRose to a heart attack. He was a great warrior and a dear friend to many. He was known as Mr. Winnebago. His grandson, Lucas LaRose, shared the following on his Facebook page–”He was an influential leader of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska who served on its council. He was a tireless advocate for all Native peoples but most importantly he was my Choka (grandfather). His passing is a devastating loss not only for my LaRose and Mallory families but for the entire Winnebago Tribe and all of Indian Country. Rest in Power Choka Louis.” My deepest sympathies go out to his family and the Winnebago Tribe.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister, Francis Bellamy. It was originally published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892. In its original text it read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. (Taken from “The Pledge of Allegiance”., 8 November, 2023.

It has come to my attention that not every school is reciting the Pledge of Allegiance daily. I would like to take this time to remind the school districts in District 17 that this is a requirement for accreditation by the Nebraska Department of Education. In 2012, the State Board of Education voted unanimously to require schools to make time everyday to say the pledge. According to Rule 10 (Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools), 003.12 “Each public school district shall require each such district’s schools to establish a period of time during the school day, when a majority of pupils is scheduled to be present, during which pupils will be led in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the presence of the flag of the United States of America, in grades kindergarten through twelve. Pupil participation in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance shall be voluntary. Pupils not participating in the recitation of the Pledge shall be permitted to silently stand or remain seated, but shall be required to respect the rights of those pupils electing to participate.” (Nebraska Department of Education. “Chapter 10–Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools” page 7. Nebraska Department of Education. Accessed 8 November, 2023. I would encourage parents to ask their children if they are reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. If not, approach the administration at the school and remind them that they are to take time during the school day to recite the pledge. I would like to remind administrators, especially those who are new to their schools, to make sure you are incorporating the Pledge of Allegiance during the school day.

This week I would like to finish sharing with you one of the Urban Affairs Committee’s priority bills, LB531, which cleans up language in the Economic Recovery Act (LB1024 (2022)) by removing certain requirements relating to coordinated plans and directing direct investment to the fund after July 1, 2023.

  • LB629 updates the Middle Income and Workforce Housing Investment Act and Economic Recovery Act.
  • LB462 updates the Middle-Income Workforce Housing Investment Act by increasing the qualifying cost of total construction expenses for owner-occupied housing units from no more than $275,000 to $330,000.
  • LB223 requires all cities that adopt an affordable housing action plan to submit their plan to the Urban Affairs Committee electronically and provides an option in the report to show effort toward an affordable housing action plan or intent to implement such a plan after it is adopted.
  • LB45 creates the Revitalize Rural Nebraska Grant Fund for first and second class cities and villages and provides $1 million in general funds for grants to demolish dilapidated commercial properties.
  • LB346 updates the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act by expanding the definition of a qualifying business to include cities with up to 5,000 residents.
  • LB474 provides duties for the Game and Parks Commission to purchase or receive by donation, and subsequently rehabilitate and manage, the Mayhew Cabin historical site located in Nebraska City, Nebraska.

(Portions of this taken from “Session Review: Urban Affairs”. Unicameral Update. July 21, 2023.

Update to the Motorcycle Helmet Law

On January 1, 2024, motorcycle riders will no longer be required to wear a helmet while riding in the state–so long as they submit proof of a basic motorcycle safety course to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Any motorcyclist or passenger 21 years of age or older will be allowed to ride without a helmet as long as they have completed a safety course and, for state residents, submitted proof of completion to the DMV. Those riders choosing not to wear a helmet have to wear eye protection, be it glasses, goggles or a face shield, unless their motorcycle’s windshield protects the rider’s line of vision “in all operating positions”. You may find how to submit your documentation at You will need to scroll to the bottom of the page to Motorcycle Helmet Law Waiver – Submit Proof of Motorcycle Rider Course Completion, click the link, and fill out the form. Riders from other states can also ride without a helmet in Nebraska if they have taken an equivalent safety course and carry proof of completion with them in the case they are pulled over. (Wegley, Andrew. “Motorcycle helmet rules released: People can legally ride without one starting next year”. Lincoln Journal Star, 7 November, 2023, p. A1)

As always, I invite you to let me know your thoughts, ideas, concerns, or suggestions by calling my office at (402) 471-2716 or emailing me at

Sen. Joni Albrecht

District 17
Room 1404
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2716
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