NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

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

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

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

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.

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

Senator Joni Albrecht

State Capitol, Room 1404

PO Box 94604

Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604

The 106th Legislature convened on Wednesday, January 9th and it has been wonderful to be back with my colleagues and great to welcome the new senators. I will serve on the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee along with continuing to serve on the Natural Resources Committee for the next two years. Telecommunications and internet access in rural Nebraska, including District 17, is an important issue that I look forward to addressing in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.

Governor Pete Ricketts officially recognized January 11th as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. At the proclamation signing, I joined Governor Ricketts and First Lady Susanne Shore, along with Attorney General Doug Peterson, State Senators, members of the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force, and non-profit organizations. Nebraska continues to be a leader in raising awareness and making progress towards ending human trafficking in our state and around the nation. In recent years, we have strengthened human trafficking laws and the Attorney General’s office has provided training to law enforcement across the state. The Attorney General’s Office also provides awareness posters for the public. We encourage Nebraskans to learn the signs of trafficking and to report concerns of trafficking to the Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888).

On January 11th, I proudly introduced 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 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. Rebekah Buell Hagan, a brave mom who saved her child through the abortion pill reversal process and Teresa Kenney, nurse practitioner and administrator of the process, joined me at a press conference Friday morning to discuss the importance of LB 209.

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

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2019

SENATOR ALBRECHT INTRODUCES NEW PRO-WOMAN, PRO-INFORMATION,
PRO-LIFE, AND PRO-CHOICE LEGISLATION

LINCOLN, NE – Today, Senator Joni Albrecht, District 17, introduced LB 209, which would add a new section to Nebraska’s informed consent law to include information to help women access the abortion pill reversal process.

“I am proud to introduce 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,” said Albrecht.

The legislation 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.

Albrecht was joined by Rebekah Buell Hagan, who saved her child through the abortion pill reversal process, and Teresa Kenney, nurse practitioner and administrator of the process. Hagan described her experience after beginning the abortion pill process.

“By the time I walked to my car [after taking the first pill], I felt the kind of grief that can only be described as a mother grieving the loss of her very wanted child,” Hagan shared.

Hagan continued, “I turned to my phone looking for a way out. I discovered I was not the first girl to feel regret [after starting the abortion pill process]. I found the Abortion Pill Reversal website. The people who answered the hotline were kind and understanding and explained the reversal process to hopefully save my baby’s life.”

Hagan’s son was saved by the abortion pill reversal process and is now five years old.

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.

Trained medical professionals, such as Kenney, are already successfully offering abortion pill reversal treatment across the United States, including in Nebraska.

Abortion Pill Reversal is great news for a woman caught in a situation where she changes her mind about an abortion and wants to save her baby,” said Kenney. “I believe that women are strong and capable. And I think the state of Nebraska should stand behind women by giving them the opportunity to know all the information surrounding their reproductive options.”

“We all sometimes make decisions that we wish we could take back,” said Albrecht. “I introduced this bill because I believe every woman deserves to be given all the information she needs to make a truly informed choice.”

Several advocacy groups have offered their support for this bill and growing awareness of the abortion pill reversal process.

“Women deserve real choice. LB 209 is not only pro-life, but pro-woman, pro-science, and pro-information, “said Karen Bowling, Executive Director, Nebraska Family Alliance. “Nebraska Family Alliance is proud to stand with Senator Albrecht in better protecting both women and unborn children in Nebraska.”

“The Abortion Pill Reversal protocol has successfully turned despair into happiness for hundreds of women as they are able to give the gift of life. We thank Senator Albrecht for introducing LB 209 which will further ensure that women know of the option of reversing their chemical abortion,” said Julie Schmit-Albin, Executive Director, Nebraska Right to Life.

“We are honored to support this life-changing, life-saving legislation,” said Lauren Garcia, spokeswoman for the Nebraska Catholic Conference. “The many success stories from across the country give us hope that information about this process can save women in Nebraska from the pain and regret of an unwanted abortion and losing a wanted child.”

Welcome
January 9th, 2019

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 17th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Joni Albrecht

The 106th Legislature, First Session begins on January 9, 2019. I am looking forward to heading back to Lincoln with my colleagues to work together and address the important issues facing Nebraskans. My priorities will continue to be addressing the property tax burden, ensuring good business and labor practices, K-12 education, and agriculture.

Senators are allowed one priority bill per each legislative session. A priority designation greatly increases a bill’s chance of passing through committee and being debated by the entire Legislature. In 2017 and 2018, both of my personal priority bills passed successfully. For the past two years I have also had the pleasure of serving as the Chair of the Business and Labor Committee. Legislative committees are granted two priority bill designations each session. All four bills the committee prioritized under my leadership were enacted as law.

In the 2017 legislative session, I designated LB 506, Adopt the Compassion and Care for Medically Challenging Pregnancies Act and provide duties for the State Child and Maternal Death Review Team, as my personal priority bill. LB 506 directed the Department of Health and Human Services to provide an information support sheet on its website which includes a list of perinatal hospice programs available in Nebraska and nationally. Physicians who diagnose an unborn child as having a lethal fetal anomaly may provide the parents with the information provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2018, my personal priority bill LB 1040, Provide for commemorative certificates of nonviable birth, provided mothers and families with the option to request a commemorative, state-issued certificate of nonviable birth for miscarriages that occur before the twentieth week of gestation during a pregnancy. Certificate applications are now available on the Department of Health and Human Services website. I am incredibly proud to have sponsored this legislation to help grieving mothers and families begin the healing process after experiencing a pregnancy loss.

The Business and Labor Committee prioritized LB 203 and LB 518 in the 2017 legislative session. LB 203, (Kuehn) Change provisions relating to maximum annual unemployment benefits and disqualification for benefits and authorize electronic notice, reduced unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who leave work voluntarily. LB 518, (Williams) Adopt the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act and transfer funds from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, created the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act. The Act provides grants to certain nonprofit development organizations to assist and promote the development of workforce housing in communities with shortages. Wayne Community Housing Development Corporation was awarded over $600,000 in 2018 to help build affordable housing in the Wayne and Wakefield communities – I look forward to seeing the progress they will make with this additional funding.

The Business and Labor Committee prioritized LB 791 and LB 953 in the 2018 legislative session. LB 791, (Ebke) Change Nebraska State Patrol employees’ bargaining rights, paves the way for more transparency and accountability in law enforcement by ensuring that the certification authority, potential law enforcement employers, and internal investigators have access to records of specific acts of misconduct by the officer. LB 953, (Albrecht) Change provisions relating to lump-sum settlements under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act, expedites the process of Worker’s Compensation Court cases by requiring the Workers’ Compensation Court to approve certain lump-sum settlements in specific cases.

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

 

 

As Chair of the Business and Labor Committee, my staff and I spend much of the interim studying the need and effects of potential business and labor related legislation. The Business and Labor Committee held a hearing November 27th on a Legislative Resolution I introduced: LR 383, Interim study to examine the feasibility of adopting a workers’ compensation drug formulary. A drug formulary is a list of prescription drugs, sometimes adopted by health insurance companies, used by doctors to identify drugs that offer the greatest overall value for specified injuries or illnesses. We invited professionals in the drug formulary and health care industries to share their experiences and ideas on the benefits or downsides of introducing a drug formulary to worker’s compensation related health care. It was a pleasure to hear from experts and share ideas with fellow senators on the topic.

On December 4th, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted the 2018 Chamber Economic Development Summit in Lincoln. State Senators and business leaders heard from Governor Pete Ricketts as he discussed the economic success of Nebraska over the last year and his plans for the future. David Drozd of the University of Nebraska Omaha and Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City VP and Omaha Branch Executive Nathan Kauffman gave attendees a snapshot of current Nebraska, regional, and national economic trends. Greater Omaha Chamber President David Brown and Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe gave a great review of the competitive economic advantage Nebraska provides businesses and University of Nebraska President Dr. Hank Bounds gave attendees an outlook of the University’s role in the future of Nebraska’s economy. Our state continues to make strides towards strong economic growth. Workforce and economic development will continue to be a focus of the Legislature in the upcoming 2019 session.

At the Chamber Economic Development Summit, the town of Pender was recognized for winning one of the 2018 Midwest Messenger Rural Communities of the Year awards. Pender was chosen as one of three rural communities in Nebraska as a town that has invested in local assets, residents, businesses, and support of the agricultural community. Pender has worked hard to attract residents and businesses and provide improvements while remaining dedicated to rural life and agriculture. Congratulations to Pender and the community’s leaders for setting an example for the rest of Nebraska!

From December 5th-7th, I was invited to attend the Foundation for Government Accountability’s Solution Summit in Florida. The FGA is a non-partisan, non-profit organization and think tank dedicated to implementing policy reform to improve the lives of Americans. The organization focuses on welfare, health care, and work reform. I met with legislators and policy analysts from across the country to discuss welfare reforms that have helped Americans to move off of government dependency and champion personal responsibility, pathways to bring more affordable health care and insurance to our state, and successful strategies to create economic opportunity to Nebraska.

Beginning November 26th, Highway US-75 will be closed for repairs north of Macy, weather permitting. The highway will be closed three miles north of Macy for an anticipated 30 days. Local traffic will be detoured via N-94 and US-77. The Department of Transportation is expecting delays on the detour routes and US-75. Please remember to drive carefully and observe posted traffic signs near construction zones and along detour routes.

I want to encourage my constituents to reach out to me, I look forward to hearing from you!

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

 

As everyone gathered with loved ones for Thanksgiving, I hope everyone had a warm and wonderful holiday. Thanksgiving Day provides us an opportunity to give thanks for the many God-given blessings and freedoms that are protected in our great state and nation. Each year on Veteran’s Day we also have an opportunity to thank and honor the brave men and women who have served our country and protected our God-given rights and freedoms. This year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I and the many Nebraskans that served in the war and gave everything for our country. Nebraska is very thankful for our veterans and we look forward to continuing to work for them in the upcoming legislative session.

The Legislative Council meets for two days each biennium to introduce newly elected senators and discuss several of the public policy issues that we will face in the upcoming legislative session. We heard from Appropriations Chair Senator Stinner and Legislative Fiscal Office Director Tom Bergquist about the fiscal outlook for the next two years. The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board’s October report predicted a $232 million revenue shortfall over the next two years, meaning we will have a tight budget and little-to-no “spending” money for new legislation presented next year.

The Legislative Performance Audit Committee presented two reports on tax incentive programs to senators. Tax incentive programs are an important part of the state’s economic development strategy, introduced to encourage new businesses, supplement business growth, and bring new businesses to the state. The Legislative Audit Office is required to review all economic development tax incentives at least once every five years. The reports analyzed the efficiency and effects of the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act and the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act and presented recommendations to legislators. We will use these reports, along with our own research, to craft policies to ensure tax incentives are used for their intended purpose and help grow Nebraska business.

Beginning November 26th, Highway US-75 will be closed for repairs north of Macy, weather permitting. The highway will be closed three miles north of Macy for an anticipated 30 days. Local traffic will be detoured via N-94 and US-77. The Department of Transportation is expecting delays on the detour routes and US-75. Please remember to drive carefully and observe posted traffic signs near construction zones and along detour routes.

I want to encourage my constituents to reach out to me, I look forward to hearing from you!

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

Now that the midterm elections are over, I am excited to welcome my new colleagues to the Nebraska Legislature. I want to send my congratulations to all those who won their races for the Legislature and for local races in Wayne, Thurston, and Dakota Counties. Initiative 427, Medicaid expansion, also passed on Tuesday. Governor Ricketts has promised not to raise taxes in order to implement Medicaid expansion so it will be up to the Legislature to make room in the tight budget to fund the expansion costs. While this was not the outcome I was hoping for, I look forward to ensuring that Medicaid expansion is implemented fairly and with all Nebraskans in mind.

This upcoming Legislative session will focus on property taxes, education, and Medicaid expansion, while also planning for a predicted $232 million budget shortfall through 2020. The 2019 session is quickly approaching and we are excited to be focusing all our energy on preparing legislation and passing a balanced budget. This year my priorities will continue to be reducing the property tax burden, ensuring good business and labor practices, K-12 education, and agriculture.

Nebraska Chamber of Commerce President Bryan Slone visited the new Pender Community Center and held a round-table discussion with members of the Pender Economic Development group on November 1. I am always so proud to show off the economic progress we are making in Northeast Nebraska.

On November 2, the Nebraska State College System invited me to be the keynote speaker at their Leadership Conference at Wayne State College. The theme of the conference was “LEADERSHIP: SHARE THE VISION”, we discussed important cooperative leadership skills and how to succeed as young leaders. While touring the Wayne State campus with college President Dr. Marysz Rames and VP of Administration and Finance Angela Fredrickson I enjoyed seeing the growth of the college and new buildings on campus like the Center for Applied Technology. As I spoke with students from Wayne State College, Peru State College, and Chadron State College, I was inspired by their personal stories and the initiative they have taken at their schools. So many engaged students and young leaders makes me very hopeful and excited about the direction of our state and community.

I take into consideration every letter, email, and phone call my office receives when I consider legislation. I truly value your input and suggestions on the issues before the Legislature. It is of great importance that I hear from you in order to do my job.

I encourage my constituents to reach out to me and look forward to hearing from you!

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

 

I hope that everyone is having a safe and successful harvest. I’ve had the pleasure to travel the district and meet with constituents and business leaders. At the Wayne Area Economic Development’s Business and Industries committee luncheon I had the opportunity to speak with business leaders in the community about the upcoming legislative session and hear their comments about how the Legislature can help Wayne business leaders succeed. As we head into the last week of the election, I wish each candidate luck and look forward to working closely with everyone on important issues in Legislative District 17.

Nebraska Family Alliance held their annual gala on October 26th, celebrating 30 years of advancing family, freedom, and life. Speakers included Kelvin Cochran, the former Fire Chief of Atlanta; Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop (the shop featured in the SCOTUS decision on religious freedom); and Barronelle Strutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers (who brought a similar case to the Supreme Court). I want to send a special thank you to Nebraska Family Alliance for the hard work they do each year and such a lovely evening.

As Business and Labor Committee Chair, I sit on the Economic Development Task Force and meet monthly with fellow task force members to discuss strategies to encourage economic growth in Nebraska. Recently, we have been discussing the Advantage Act which is a business grant incentive program created to encourage Nebraska businesses to expand their current investment and employment through tax credits and refunds. The program sunsets (expires) in 2020 and the Legislature is studying plans to hopefully replace or improve the program. On Friday, the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) facilitated a discussion on economic development that all senators were invited to. CREC will continue to work with the Legislature to pull together recommendations for economic development policy in Nebraska, including the key decision we face on what to do about the Advantage Act.

On Friday, the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board released a new forecast predicting that the state will face another budget shortfall, totaling $232 million through 2021. Each year the forecasting board published revenue projects that we use in the Legislature to craft and amend the budget in order to ensure our budget stayed balanced. The board is expecting the shortage of workers and effects of agricultural tariffs to continue to slow economic growth. In the next few months we will learn more about the state’s economic forecast; in mid-November the state tax commissioner will present the Legislature with projections of state spending growth and the Forecasting Advisory Board will review and revise revenue projections in February and April.

The new revenue forecasts show a clear need to the Legislature to continue to be cautious with spending. Frivolous and uncertain financial mandates on the budget could seriously hurt Nebraska taxpayers and make property tax relief nearly impossible. Just as last year, it is expected that any bills that are introduced in the 2019 Legislative Session that have fiscal notes (spend taxpayers’ money) are very unlikely to pass. I hope the glum revenue forecast cautions voters when heading to the polls this year. Initiative 427, Medicaid expansion, is an unfunded, unsustainable, and uncertain mandate on Nebraska taxpayers. The revenue forecast reinforces that the state does not have the funds to pay for Medicaid expansion costs, and I fear this will lead to funds being cut from essential services such as K-12 education, roads, current Medicaid recipients, and the University of Nebraska system. I urge my constituents to consider the consequences of Initiative 427.

I want to encourage my constituents to reach out to me, I look forward to hearing from you!

402-471-2716

jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

 

 

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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