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

The Nebraska Department of Transportation announced a new website dedicated to the 2019 flood on April 4th. Nebraskan’s will be able to view updates on the progress on repairs to State highways and bridges as connectivity is restored by going online at: https://dot.nebraska.gov/news-media/nebraska-flood-2019/.

Governor Ricketts signed LB 399, introduced by Senator Slama (LD1), into law last week. LB 399 passed the Legislature on a 44-2-1 vote and updates Nebraska’s law on American civics in public schools. The Governor also signed LB 302, introduced by Senator Hughes (LD44), which merges the Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Energy Office into a single agency. Starting July 1, 2019, the new Department of Environment and Energy will be under the direction of current Department of Environmental Quality Director Jim Macy.

On Tuesday, April 2nd, we began full-day debate at the Legislature and advanced multiple priority bills from General File. This week we advanced LB 268 (Friesen, LD34) which would expand broadband access by making it easier for customers to switch telecommunications companies. Under LB 268, customers would only be required to show that he or she is not receiving high-speed broadband service at the time of application to be eligible switch service providers. In passing LB 268 we hope to encourage larger telecommunications companies to invest in new rural broadband service or maintain current infrastructure. Increasing access to rural broadband is extremely important as we grow the communities in our state. I supported LB 268 and the bill advanced to Select File on a 37-0 vote.

We also debated LB 483 (Erdman, LD47) which would change farmland value for property tax purposes based on the income it can produce. Beginning in the 2020 tax year, the newly created Agricultural Land Valuation Board would create an agricultural land valuation manual that county assessors would determine capitalized net earning capacity. Agricultural productivity value would be determined by: dividing agricultural and horticultural land into major use categories described in the bill and then dividing those categories into subclasses based on soil productivity classifications; computing a net revenue based on an eight-year Olympic average of annual net incomes, in which the highest and lowest one-year values are discarded; and dividing the net revenue by a discount rate determined by each county’s eight-year Olympic average of annual precipitation. LB 483 stalled on General File but may come back for a second round of debate.

 

Live coverage of 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 Tuesday, March 26th, I joined Governor Ricketts, Senator Gragert (LD 40), Executive Director of the Commission on Indian Affairs Judi gaiashkibos, and representatives from the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on a tour of the flood damage in Niobrara. We met with leaders from the Omaha Tribe, Winnebago Tribe, Ponca Tribe, and Santee Sioux Nation to discuss the FEMA process and options to address water system concerns. Nebraska and FEMA have been dedicated to working with our tribes and local communities to ensure that all issues from the flood are addressed. Thurston County is one of the 15 counties that have been approved for residents and businesses to apply for disaster assistance for losses resulting from the flood. How to apply for assistance:

  • Online, visit DisasterAssistance.gov.
  • On a smartphone, download the FEMA app and click on “disaster resources,” then “apply for assistance online.”
  • By phone, call FEMA’s toll-free registration line at 800-621-3362. Telephone registration is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT seven days a week.
  • Visit a Disaster Recovery Center and speak to a FEMA specialist one-on-one. To find the nearest recovery center, go online to gov/DRC.

This week marked the end of committee hearings for the year, meaning the Legislature will go into full-day debate on Tuesday, April 2nd. On Monday, March 25th, LB 320, which I introduced on behalf of the Department of Agriculture was debated. LB 320 aligns the Nebraska Pesticide Act with new federal requirements, cleans up language throughout statute to clarify intent, and removes unnecessary language. LB 320 advanced to Select File without any “no” votes.

Thursday, March 28th I attended the Siouxland Ethanol Annual Meeting in South Sioux City with Governor Pete Ricketts. Nebraska is the second largest ethanol producer in the country and the ethanol industry has created great paying jobs for Nebraskans in small and rural communities. Siouxland Ethanol in Jackson has been a great economic driver for our community and was presented the Ethanol Industry Appreciation Award at the Nebraska Corn Board’s 2019 awards dinner this week. Siouxland was recognized for their dedication to producing a quality, clean-burning renewable fuel, which builds corn demand while also supporting other industries, such as the livestock sector. Northeast Nebraska is lucky to have such a great company in our community.

Attorney General Doug Peterson released information this week to help Nebraskans protect themselves from unethical contractors in the aftermath of the recent floods. While it is inexcusable for anyone to take advantage of victims of a natural disaster, consumers should take steps to protect themselves and their property. Please consider the following information to protect yourself:

  • Before allowing anyone to repair your damaged home, verify his or her credentials.
  • Never sign any document or pay any contractor before verifying their license and/or registration.

More tips and information can be found at the Attorney General’s website: https://ago.nebraska.gov/news/attorney-general-peterson-provides-information-regarding-contractors
Those who suspect a home improvement scam should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division athttps://protectthegoodlife.nebraska.gov or 800-727-6432.

Live coverage of 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 Friday, March 22nd, I had the opportunity to meet with the emergency managers and communities leaders of Dakota, Thurston, and Wayne Counties. We are so lucky in District 17 to have amazing leaders, law enforcement, and first responders that worked with the community to address the damage from the recent floods. The emergency managers of each county deserve special recognition for all the hard work they have done. Deanna Hagberg of Dakota County, Tom Perez of Thurston County, and Nic Kemnitz of Wayne County have done an amazing job and we are so blessed to have them.

It is possible that more flooding will come with weather changes this spring. Please be mindful of your surroundings and local weather reports. 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.

On Wednesday, March 20th, I introduced LB 209 to the Judiciary Committee, which I designated as my personal priority bill this year. LB 209 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.

Wednesday, it was announced that two bills I am sponsoring have been designated as Speaker Priority bills: LB 222, Change the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act, and LB 595, Change Office of Dispute Resolution to Office of Restorative Justice and Dispute Resolution and change powers and duties of the office. The Agriculture Committee also designated LB 320, Change various provisions of the Pesticide Act and update federal references, which I introduced, as a committee priority bill. I look forward to working with my colleagues to passing these bills this year.

Live coverage of committee hearings and the full session of the Unicameral is available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol. This week will conclude committee hearings and next week we will begin full day 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 my constituents to reach out to me and I look forward to hearing from you.

402-471-2716

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

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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