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Spring is just around the corner!
A lot has been happening since I wrote the last update. The Legislature has engaged in a number of big debates, including the immunization mandate debate, gambling in Nebraska, and the fate of our cigar bars, just to name a few. We have also seen a number of really big issues being discussed in committees that can often go clear into the night!
But not all the important happenings have been in the hubbub of debate. The Legislature has passed a number of bills into law. Nebraska cigar bars are once again allowed to enjoy the freedom of allowing patrons to enjoy a cigar. The Legislature passed this bill into law (LB118) on February 20th, and the Governor signed shortly after. LB100 has also passed into law, which would give aid to Tribal Community Colleges, and nurses now have more opportunities to practice thanks to LB107.
I have yet to hear back from any of my bills sitting in committee, but I am hopeful that some of them will come through as committee hearings come to a close for the year. I truly believe that Nebraskans will receive the tax relief they have desired for so long in the near future. My bill, proposing to eliminate the state tax on social security benefits would do just that, and I know this can be achieved for Nebraska’s citizens.
There will be a number of priority bills coming up, which gives Senators the chance to move their bills up to the front of the line. I have used my priority designation in conjunction with Senator Jim Smith, whom I greatly respect and trust. Senator Smith’s bill, LB469, would give more state-level input to Nebraska’s Departments of Energy and Environmental Quality. The State- Tribal Relations Committee, of which I am the Chair, has also prioritized LB566, which would change portions of the Indian Child Welfare Act to make Nebraska’s custody laws more compliant with tribal laws regarding the custody of children. The many tribes of Nebraska have proven to be more than capable of self-governance over the years, and would greatly benefit by maintaining their culture and sovereignty.
Over the past couple months, I have gotten many letters, e-mails, and phone calls from constituents, of which I am greatly thankful. I encourage everyone to contact me with their concerns, opinions, and beliefs. My contact information can be found on this page. When contacting, please clearly state your name, address, contact information, reference to the particular bill or issue, and clearly state your stance on that bill or issue by declaring “support, oppose, or neutral.” This will help my staff determine who my constituents are and ensure that their concerns and opinions reach me in time.
This has certainly been a great year so far, as I have been learning so much about the wide range of issues that face the citizens of Nebraska. I am greatly humbled to serve the citizens of District 18. Without you, none of this would be possible. I encourage you to stay in touch, and would like to wish you all the best.