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Thanksgiving provided opportunity to be grateful, create and consume amazing food, share smiles and hugs, and to re-invigorate for the work ahead.
My office has received a Legislative Schedule and anticipated Floor Procedures from the Speaker’s office, along with information about the pending 2019 Priority Bills. Naturally, new bills will also be introduced in the 2020 session and we will stay informed about those as they become part of the Legislative landscape. Meanwhile, the pending 2019 priority bills fall into two categories—those that have been debated and those that have not. Some of these bills will likely be the earliest we see on the floor, so if you have thoughts on any or all of them, please feel free to communicate your thoughts via letter or email.
There are currently three (3) bills on General File that have not yet been debated, including LB153 (to reduce taxation of military retirement benefits), LB109 (to modify certain position classifications and pay at the Department of Corrections), and LB147 (addressing ability of educators to effectively manage classroom misbehavior).
LB153 seeks to provide income tax relief for those who have served our country as part of the Military. The bill was introduced by Senator Tom Brewer on behalf of the Governor and is Senator Lowe’s 2019 priority bill. The bill would repeal the current, one-time election for retired military to exempt a portion of their military retirement benefit income from tax. It would replace it with a 50% exemption for military retirement benefit income, to the extent it was included in federal adjusted gross income. At its Committee hearing, LB153 had several individuals and organizations that testified in favor of the bill and no opposing testimony. Two policy groups testified in a neutral capacity. The bill passed out of Committee on a 6 to 1 vote.
LB109 is a bill that would modify the position classification plan and the accompanying salary or pay plans within the Department of Corrections in an effort to improve chances to retain staff and reduce turnover. At the Committee hearing, several individuals from the Fraternal Order of Police testified in favor of the bill. The Director of the Department of Corrections testified in opposition. The bill passed out of Committee on a 5-3 vote.
The final of the three, LB 147, is a bill that would change the Nebraska Student Discipline Act to provide for use by a teacher or administrator of necessary physical contact or restraint and provide procedures and grounds for removing a student from class in response to certain violent behavior. At the Committee Hearing, there were testifiers in support and in opposition to the bill. The bill was pulled from Committee with a 25-14 vote by the Legislative body.
Being a strong supporter of our military, of safety for students and teachers, and of maintaining safe conditions for our correctional facilities, I am watching each of these bills closely. As an elected official, it is important to me that I and my staff pay close attention to introduced legislation, floor debate, and proposed and/or adopted amendments before casting that final vote on the merits.
In addition to the three bills that still await debate, there are nine (9) more bills on General File that have had debate and may come up, depending on Legislative support, including LB44 (eliminate death penalty), LB110 (adopt Medical Cannabis Act), LB289 (county assessor assessments), LB311 (adopt Paid Family and Medical Leave Act), LB483 (change valuation of Agriculture and Horticultural land), LB550 (require voter approval of fees and taxes on wireless services), LB670 (adopt the Opportunity Scholarships Act), and LB700 (providing for decommissioning and reclamation of a wind energy conversion system).
DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR SBA DISASTER LOANS:
In other news of interest to Legislative District 17, December 23, 2019 is the deadline to apply for disaster loans intended to remedy damages caused by the March 9-July 14, 2019 flooding in Nebraska. Eligible for the loans are small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in agriculture and most private nonprofit organizations that have sustained economic injury due to flooding that occurred March 9-July 14, 2019.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center, the low interest federal disaster loans are available in Dakota, Thurston, and Wayne counties, among others in Nebraska. The interest rate is 4 percent for businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years. Loan proceeds may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. For more information on the program and to access application information, interested parties may call 800.877.8339, or access online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
As we move closer to the January 8, 2020 start of the next Legislative Session, I continue to consider constituent requests and thoughts about the session ahead. As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at email@example.com
I continue to move through the month of November with a heart full of gratitude for our nation’s veterans, military members, and their families. On Veterans’ Day, I had the wonderful pleasure of serving and visiting with some of Nebraska’s finest military members at the Veterans’ Day Breakfast at the South Sioux City Hy-vee. There were many such events taking place all across the state—as it should be. What a humbling experience and incredible opportunity to be able to spend a bit of time hearing the stories and learning about the lives and families of those who serve the rest of us so admirably. My life is richer for having a chance to express thanks from me, my family, and from the great state of Nebraska. There are not enough words to express the true appreciation so many of us feel.
Many Veterans’ Day celebrations across the nation also included presenting some Veterans with a Quilt of Valor. The Quilts of Valor Foundation is a national organization founded in 2003 by “Blue Star” mom Catherine Roberts, who had a son deployed in Iraq. During her son’s deployment, Ms. Roberts, had the idea of comforting Veterans with quilts. Since then, more than 140,000 quilts have been awarded. The quilts themselves reflect the nation’s patriotic colors. They often contain traditional patriotic patterns or images and the Quilts of Valor label. But these quilts are most remembered for the combat veterans they honor. According to the organization’s website, “Wrapped in their very own Quilt of Valor, veterans across the nation have been receiving tangible gifts of love and appreciation from quilters since this nationwide grassroots program started in 2003.” Along with other Quilts of Valor awarded throughout the United States on Veterans’ Day, in Legislative District #17, three quilts were awarded at a ceremony in Winside, with two more waiting to be presented.
Another group whose mission it is to honor and support Veterans, their families, and the American Legion Auxiliary celebrates its 100th Anniversary year! Last week, Governor Ricketts proclaimed November 10, 2019 as the Official Kickoff Date for the 100th Anniversary Celebration. In the proclamation, the Governor noted the Auxiliary’s history of honoring the sacrifice of those who serve by embracing the lives of the veterans, military, and their families, at home and abroad. In fulfilling that commitment, the 597,000 plus members of the Auxiliary donated over 7,000,000 volunteer hours and raised and spent over $22 million on to honor those who serve, their families, and communities.
It is clear that we have great heroes among us here in Nebraska, and across these United States. It is good to take time to say THANK YOU VETERANS!!!
As we move towards November, we move towards Veterans’ Day and my mind moves towards those who help keep our nation safe and free. It is a time we honor those who serve and who have served. Truth is, they deserve honor every day, but it is encouraging to know that November 11, 2019, and the weekend are set aside across the nation to intentionally give honor and gratefulness to veterans.
VETERANS TAKE CENTER STAGE
Veterans rightfully took center stage a few times in the 2019 Nebraska Legislature as well and will again in 2020. In the 2019 Legislature, I was proud to support LB152, which protects the privacy and personal information of National Guardsmen called upon to come alongside law enforcement in times of need. In addition, I also supported LB 138, which passed on a 49-0 vote. As enacted, LB138 provides for five additional military honor license plates available to honor persons who have been awarded a number of Campaign medals, including the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, or the Vietnam Service Medal. Also created a “Support Our Troops” license plate. A portion of the application fee paid by each applicant for the special plates is directed to a new Veterans Employment Program Fund.
Coming up in the 2020 session, expect to see the return of LB153, a bill that would replace the current one time election for retired military to exempt a portion of their military retirement benefit income from tax and with a 50% exemption for military retirement benefit income across the board, to the extent it was included in federal adjusted grow income. It is always such an honor for me to have an opportunity to serve those who serve our country.
IMAGINE NEBRASKA ACT ON OUR RADAR
This week, I spent some time exploring the workings of LB720, otherwise known as the ImagiNE Nebraska Act. This Act is intended to encourage economic growth and development throughout the state. The ImagiNE Nebraska Act, replacing the expiring Nebraska Advantage Act, has the stated goals of Simplicity, Transparency, Integrity, and Competitiveness. Of special interest to me, and to residents and businesses in District 17, is that in addition to a simplified application and faster application process, the Act provides up to $2 million dollars a year for economic development projects that wouldn’t qualify for the mainline program for projects located in counties with fewer than 40,000 residents. Naturally, Legislative District 17 comes to mind.
Though not necessarily in final form, LB720 is exciting and is certainly one to watch!
Legislative Aide Cyndi Lamm reports it has been such a pleasure to visit with so many of you since she began with Senator Albrecht in mid-July. There is certainly lots to catch up on and much to see, so staff is all working hard at the Capitol to keep things running smoothly for the interim and as we approach the 2020 session. This week found Cyndi on a bus and walking tour of the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) campus and the campus of University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). What a great opportunity for Legislative staff to hear about the number of Nebraska families served through education at UNMC, think through workforce development opportunities, view expansion in programs such as the Munroe Meyer Institute and learn about cutting edge research in labs throughout both campuses. Legislative staffers were able to meet some Scott Scholars who planned and executed two great projects at the request of the folks at Apple. Brilliance abounds in Nebraska! The students performed so well, they are on their way soon to make a presentation to Apple executives. Rest assured, these young people will represent Nebraska well. Staffers also learned about the technology, aerospace, and mechanical engineering programs at UNO and Cyndi was able to discuss the growing uses of drones in business and agriculture. Lots to look forward to.
DEADLINE OCTOBER 4!
As a reminder, this Friday is the final date for applications to be a page at the Nebraska Legislature! If you have a student in your family who has an interest in learning more about Nebraska’s State Capitol, now is your chance. The Clerk of the Legislature’s Office is currently accepting page applications for the 2020 Legislative Session. A Legislative Page is typically someone who serves as an aide on the Legislative floor to the Senators with copy work, delivery, answering phones and assisting in many other ways throughout the legislative session. It is a great opportunity to get involved in state government. The deadline for submitting page applications and letters of recommendation for the 2020 Legislative Session is this Friday, October 4th at 5pm.
As Harvest season kicks off, and with news of a recent fatality involving a vehicle and slower moving farm equipment please use caution and watch out for slow moving vehicles. Our sympathies to the family of the recent tragedy. Remember that farm vehicles and equipment are wider and cannot travel as fast as other vehicles. So, please Be aware that posted speed limits are not always the wisest speed to travel. This time of year it is not unusual to come over a hill and find yourself behind a slower moving vehicle without enough time to stop. I wish everyone a safe and productive harvest.
BRIGE WORK ON-TARGET
On Friday, September 27, I made an on-site visit to the Hwy 94 Bridge that was damaged in the March 2019 flood. The road crew was working especially hard and informed me that the bridge is on-target for completion by mid-October, barring interference by any weather events. Good news for community members and area visitors just in time for harvest. I gathered good pictures as I witnessed and visited with those construction workers who are doing a great job.
RURAL NEBRASKANS THRIVE!
Statistics released from the University of Nebraska’s Rural Futures Institute on September 20, 2019 found that rural Nebraska ranked high for economic growth, quality of life, and social capital. The benchmark index tool was developed by UNL’s Bureau of Business Research and the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s College of Business and Technology to identify trends in various regions throughout a state. Especially exciting is the finding that on the index, the Siouxland region ranked third in the State. According to its website, “the 2019 Nebraska Thriving Index provides economic developers, local elected officials and community leaders with economic and quality of life indicators to identify thriving and lagging regions so strategic, future focused investments can be made.” The regions identified by the index are matched and compared with peer regions in other states. The Siouxland region was not only compared to others in Nebraska, but also to regions in North, Northwest, and Southeast Iowa as well as Southwest Illinois. You can learn more about the index and the trends and view the 2019 report online at https://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/nethrivingindex/.
BROADBAND ON ITS WAY TO RURAL NEBRASKA. You may remember that back in July, CenturyLink announced the completion of a broadband deployment initiatives in the Thurston and Pender communities. Now, add Microsoft and Nextlink to the list of companies working to bring broadband service to thousands of unserved residents in rural Nebraska. Microsoft has announced it will be partnering with the wireless service provider to bring broadband service to rural residents throughout the state and the region. More than $40M in federal Connect America Funds will be infused into our state over the coming years, providing rural Nebraskans an opportunity to “bridge the digital divide, which is particularly important for precision agriculture, closing the homework gap and enabling rural business owners to succeed in a global economy.” Nextlink will be bringing an array of technologies to Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas. Microsoft’s long term goal is to bring internet to 3 million underserved rural Americans. Partnerships with providers like Nextlink is a way that Microsoft hopes to make low-cost technology more accessible to help eliminate the broadband gap, as well as providing residents resources like digital skills and technology. This is a major opportunity for our state and we are excited that Microsoft is continuing to invest in Nebraska. “Solving the broadband gap will take innovation and investment and we are thrilled rural Nebraskans will benefit from this partnership.”
TEACHING PRACTICAL, CAREER BUILDING SKILLS IS A COMMUNITY EFFORT in South Sioux City! On Friday, September 20, South Sioux City Schools broke ground on a “Student Powered” project involving a partnership with HUD, the city, local businesses, tradesmen and students. Excitingly, local High School students will be working together with these partners, educators, and mentors to build a house in South Sioux. The project shows a community coming together to teach skills that can be translated to future job and career opportunities. Many builders and others in the construction industry across the state are finding it increasingly difficult to fill positions in construction-related fields. With that shortage, students engaged in the project are already finding apprenticeship and internship opportunities. The home built by the students will be sold when completed. Matching students with those skills now will increase the chances they continue to live and thrive right here at home. I won’t be surprised to see one or more future contractor business owners rising from this group. This is a great example of ways we can work together to develop a local workforce and add to the economy. My congratulations on the groundbreaking go out to School Superintendent Todd Strom, the city of South Sioux, and the area businesses coming together to make this project happen. You can catch a video of the ceremony at: https://www.facebook.com/ssccardinals/videos/2433539850302094/ or go to the school district’s Facebook page, which can be found at facebook.com/ssccardinals .
SPEAKING OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, Riverview Surgical Center unveiled its new 50,000 sq. ft. facility on September 24. The team had a vision of a state of the art facility combining medical offices and outpatient surgery opportunities in one location. Goals of the facility include a commitment to leveraging that combination to result in savings to patients from 1/3 to 1/2 of the costs of current options. New equipment, highly qualified staff, a floor that appears to float, and a peaceful view along the Riverfront, all highlight the creativity and ingenuity of people and businesses in Nebraska. The Center has also partnered with a hotel, located right next door, offering a convenient place to stay for patients and their families if needed. Quality, Commitment, and Caring. Better outcomes for patients and physicians means better outcomes for families. That’s the way the Riverview Surgical Center team works, and that’s the way District 17 residents and businesses work together to Grow Nebraska!
As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
STANDING BEAR TAKES CENTER STAGE! On Wednesday, September 18, 2019, at 2:00 pm (CT), the Dedication of Chief Standing Bear in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., will take place. I proudly joined Senator Tom Brewer and other fellow Senators in voting to place the statute of the landmark civil rights leader Chief Standing Bear in the Hall. The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs and Sen. Hilkermann have teamed up to schedule a “Watch Party”, where the dedication will be live streamed over the internet into the Warner Chamber at the Nebraska State Capitol. The ceremony in Washington, DC will include a Native American color guard, a Native American honor song performed by Steve Laravie, Jr., a direct descendent of the Ponca Chief, members of the Nebraska congressional delegation, other congressional leaders, and Nebraska State Senator Tom Brewer. Live streaming may also be available from home. No final word on sources yet, but if interested in viewing from home, you might try searching on the web to find a link. My office should have information about remote viewing by the day of the event. Please feel free to call us at 402.471.2716. On Tuesday morning (9/17/19), my office received confirmation that the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska will have a live stream feed from their Facebook page for anyone who wishes to watch: https://www.poncatribe-ne.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/190918_StatueDedication_FBLive.pdf.
BRINGING UP NEBRASKA: I was fortunate to join a group of leaders from across the state in Kearney on Tuesday, September 10 to discuss, collaborate, and develop long-term plans and strategies to prevent and address the needs of vulnerable Nebraska families and children. I appreciate First Lady Suzanne Shore for spearheading the initiative and for making this a priority in our state! Approaching the issue as neighbors standing together, when the initiative was launched, the First Lady stated, “We need to look at any child in need as one of our own . . . These are Nebraska’s kids. And we [the community] need to be the solution.” It is so true. We are modeling Nebraska Strong when we bring together those who know our local communities and families best in order to serve their needs and provide needed services most effectively. The people and organizations participating at the Kearny meeting care deeply about our state’s children and families and are working hard to help prevent challenges from becoming crisis. In fact, at the meeting District 17’s own JoAnn Gieselman was honored for her work and leadership in helping Growing Community Connections have a positive impact on the children and families we serve in our communities.
Finally, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT and housing affordability have long been on my priority list. For the last three years as a state senator, I have been privileged to serve on the Workforce Development Board alongside statewide representatives from K-12 schools, secondary educators, businesses, the Governor’s office, and many others. The goal of the board is to make sure our adult children and others considering career and life decisions have opportunity and know how to access the opportunities available right here in Nebraska. The board brings together a number of strategic local, regional, and statewide stakeholders to develop a one-stop information delivery system about career and training availability, as well as business services that can be accessed by job seekers, workers, and employers. The board meets quarterly and at our Friday, September 13 meeting, we welcomed new board members from Nebraska Community College Association, the City of Valentine, and Nucor Steel from Norfolk. We cleaned up language in the board by-laws and received initial reports about program performance throughout Nebraska. We are currently working to compile and review performance and statistical information about the state’s progress for the Program Year 2018-19, which will be published as a report online by October 1. From there, we can collaborate on recommendations for the Program Year ahead.
THE NEBRASKA STATE FAIR begins celebrating its 150th anniversary in four days at Fonner Park in Grand Island. Held August 23-September 2 this year, the Fair attracts visitors and competitors from across Nebraska and from surrounding states. Those 4-H members and others who have worked hard all year long and have gained recognition at local county fairs compete at a new level at the State Fair. I am excited to see several emerge as “the Best of the Best”. There are some exciting changes in atmosphere and programming this year. There is no doubt that the sights, sounds, and feel of the Nebraska State Fair provide families with special moments and memories that last a lifetime. I’m looking forward to taking some time away from the farm to visit the exhibits and hopefully to hear U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, talk about Nebraska and Agriculture at his scheduled public town hall event on Friday, Aug. 23.
In case you missed it: FLOOD DAMAGE COVERAGE EXPANDED! At the Governor’s request, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended the incident period in which disaster-caused damage may be covered. The presidential disaster declaration, issued March 21, 2019, originally covered the period from March 9 to April 1. With the extension, additional uninsured damage sustained through July 14 may now be eligible for FEMA assistance and U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest loans.
If you have already registered with FEMA for disaster related damage that occurred between March 9, 2019, and April 1, 2019, AND your home received additional uninsured damage through July 14, 2019, you may be eligible for additional assistance. You do not need to reapply. You should submit an appeal in the form of a signed letter to FEMA requesting reassessment and explaining your reasons in writing. Appeal letters and supporting documents can be uploaded quickly to your account. A sample appeal letter, can be found at: https://nema.nebraska.gov/sites/nema.nebraska.gov/files/doc/appeal.pdf.
In District 17, homeowners, renters and businesses in Thurston County may also be eligible for low interest SBA loans under the expansion. Homeowners, renters, businesses and private nonprofits that have sustained new or additional uninsured or under-insured damages through July 14, can contact and apply for an SBA loan online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or by calling SBA’s customer service center at 800-659-2955. The deadline to register is Sept. 13, 2019.
HEARINGS ON INTERIM STUDIES requested by Senators in last session are beginning to fill committee calendars as we move into the fall. The Revenue, Judiciary, and Appropriations Committees have a number scheduled hearings to examine the plans for, effectiveness of, fiscal impact of, and/or funding streams on a number of issues being considered. You can find the hearing schedule calendar and topics at www.nebraskalegislature.gov/hearings. Most hearings can be seen live-streamed on NET TV, so if you have a particular area of interest, tune in to watch and listen.
As a reminder, your Legislature has the following standing committees to consider issues and legislation for Nebraskans:
Banking, Commerce, and Insurance,
Business and Labor
Government, Military and Veterans Affairs
Health and Human Services
Nebraska Retirement Systems
Transportation and Telecomm cations*
* I currently serve on the Natural Resource and Transportation and Telecommunications Committees in addition to the Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations.
As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at email@example.com
It is hard to believe that it is already July. It feels like the summer is just passing us by.
Our office has maintained a busy rhythm of getting everything organized, filed, and dealt with. July 4th was a paid holiday for state employees so my Capitol office was closed. It was a great opportunity for everyone to recharge.
I would first like to wish all of you a very Happy 4th of July. I hope that all of you were able to enjoy it, that you all stayed safe, and that it gave you time to reflect on what the Independence Day celebration truly means to this country.
This week I also wanted to share with you several great opportunities that are coming up.
If you have a student in your family that has an interest in learning more about Nebraska’s State Capitol, now is your chance. The Clerk of the Legislature’s Office is currently accepting page applications for the 2020 Legislative Session. A legislative page is typically someone who performs small tasks such as running errands, delivering coffee to State Senators, answering phones, or assisting in many other ways throughout the legislative session. It is a great opportunity to get involved in state government. The deadline for submitting page applications and letters of recommendation for the 2020 Legislative Session will be Friday, October 4th at 5pm.
The page selection committee will meet in October to select individuals to fill those positions. If you are interested in becoming a legislative page, then please contact our office and we will get you started on the process.
Congressman Adrian Smith is now currently accepting Angels in Adoption Nominations. Congressman Smith believes Nebraskans who open their homes to provide safety and shelter for children deserve to be recognized for it. Angels in Adoption is a project of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute providing members of Congress the opportunity to honor an individual or entity from their districts for extraordinary contributions on behalf of children in need of homes. Congressman Smith is looking forward to receiving these nominations to honor those who positively impact young lives through adoption and foster care. If you would like to make a nomination then visit, adriansmith.house.gov/angelsinadoption
The nominations are due by Friday, July 19th. The information that needs to be included in the nomination are the name of the nominee, organization if applicable, address, phone, email, and reason for nomination that is 325 words or less. If you would like more information on Angels in Adoption then please contact Congressman Smith’s Grand Island Office at 308-384-3900.
The last opportunity that I want to talk to you about this week is that Nebraska received a grant to expand registered apprenticeships. The Nebraska Department of Labor, NDOL, has received over $840,000 from the US Department of Labor to expand the program across the state. The Apprenticeships State Expansion grant covers the next three years and will allow NDOL to assist business with the new program development. Gov. Pete Ricketts stated that “The ‘earn while you learn’ model of Registered Apprenticeships is growing the state by equipping students to excel in IT and manufacturing.” He added, “Apprenticeships put young Nebraskans on a path to learn valuable skills and to gain technical expertise so that they can get high-paying jobs. As the same time, they help the state’s businesses to find proficient, highly trained Nebraskans to join their teams.”
The grant allows for enrolling over 400 new Registered Apprentices. As of March 2019, there were approximately 125 Registered Apprenticeship (RA) programs in Nebraska, representing an increase of 44% since 2016. Companies that are interested in starting an RA program may contact Scott Asmus with the Nebraska Department of Labor at 402-471-9928. Job seekers interested in participating in an RA should contact their local Nebraska Department of Labor office.
You can also find more information about this at http://dol.nebraska.gov
It has been another busy week for District 17. We have been working diligently to continue completing all of the follow ups from our town hall meetings.
There were some great ideas that were expressed to me during my town halls and I am excited to dive into the research side of getting the nuts and bolts figured out on each item first before we proceed any further.
Like always, if you have legislation ideas or thoughts then please feel free to reach out to my office and I will do some digging on those.
This week I want us to dive into what happened with all of my legislation during this year’s legislative session.
I introduced nine pieces of legislation this year. Seven of the nine bills passed and only two stayed in committee.
The nine bills that I introduced were:
If you would like to read more about any of my bills or any other bills from this past session then please go to https://nebraskalegislature.gov/.
My office has officially completed our town halls for the summer.
I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who came and who added to the conversation. My office is now busy working on following up with all of you who requested further assistance. It was such a privilege to be able to connect with so many of you from my district.
The topics that we discussed during the town halls varied depending on the main interests expressed by those in attendance. We discussed the budget, property taxes, education, business incentives, rural workforce development, both of my committees (Natural Resources and Transportation and Telecommunications), all of my legislation, and my interim study.
We also provided information on flood rebuilding/assistance, redistricting, wind farms, and sports gaming.
Each town hall was very productive and really helped me see what the most pressing needs are for you, my constituents. If you were unable to make it to the town halls, but have opinions or questions that you want heard or answered, then please reach out to me. I would love to hear from you.
In addition to finishing up the town halls this week, my calendar also had one other great event in the District on it.
On Tuesday, June 18th, I was able to attend the “Wayne Right to Life” event in Wayne, NE. The event allowed me the opportunity to further dive into the information that surrounds my priority bill, LB 209, the informed consent bill. It was a great opportunity to answer questions and hear more opinions on my bill after it was signed into law by the Governor on June 4th.
In July, we will have another great program take place in Nebraska.
The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (NAYI) will begin on July 8th and wrap up on July 12th. NAYI will be held in Lincoln at the University of Nebraska’s East Campus. Each year more than 200 high school juniors and seniors, sharing an interest in agriculture, gather together to develop leadership skills, explore career opportunities, and learn more about Nebraska’s number one industry. NAYI is the longest running program of its kind in the nation.
During the five-day program, delegates participate in agriculture policy and group discussions, farm management activities, and a variety of networking opportunities with peers and industry leaders. It gives the students an opportunity to learn about various career options since a quarter of the jobs in Nebraska are related to agricultural.
Since NAYI started in Nebraska, it has been able to impact the lives of 6,400 students from across the state. Delegates apply for and are selected to attend NAYI free of charge due to the numerous donations from agricultural businesses, commodity groups, and industry organizations.
I would like to congratulate the students from District 17 that will be participating in NAYI this year. Congratulations to Allison Claussen of Wayne, Hana Nelson of Wayne, Josie Thompson of Wayne, Taylor Daum of Emerson, Tyler Gilliland of Wayne and, Kylie Kempf of Carroll.
NAYI is organized by the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council. For more information on NAYI, visit the website at: nda.nebraska.gov/nayi.
I also want to make sure that all of you, my constituents, and the rest of Nebraska know about the Report of Destroyed Real Property Form (Form 425) that will be due on or before July 15th. The Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division, has a new form that has been created, pursuant to 2019 Neb. Law LB 512. The Form 425 is to be used by owners of real property whose property has suffered significant property damage as a result of a calamity occurring on or after January 1 and before July 1 of the current assessment year. The property owner may file Form 425 with the county assessor and the county clerk on or before July 15.
A calamity is defined as a disastrous event, including, but not limited to, a fire, an earthquake, a flood, a tornado, or other natural event which significantly affects the assessed value of the property. Destroyed real property does not include property suffering significant property damage that is caused by the owner of the property.
Significant property damage is defined as damage to an improvement exceeding 20% of the improvement’s assessed value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor; damage to the land exceeding 20% of a parcel’s assessed land value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor; or damage exceeding 20% of the property’s assessed value in the current tax year as determined by the county assessor if: the property is located in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the Governor and a housing inspector or health inspector has determined the property is uninhabitable or unlivable.
The county board of equalization will consider the report to determine any adjustments to the assessed value of the destroyed real property for the current year.
The county board of equalization must act upon this report on or after June 1 and on or before July 25, or on or before August 10 if the board has adopted a resolution to extend the deadline to hear protests under
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-1502, and must send a notice of the reassessment value for the destroyed real property to the property owner.
I encourage all of you to spread the word among your family and friends about this form. Form 425 can be located online at http://www.revenue.nebraska.gov/PAD/forms/f_425.pdf
It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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