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Greetings District 18!
I hope everyone has some fun trips planned for the summer. Now that the Legislature has adjourned for 2015, I’m already preparing for next year. The “Freshman Class” of Senators has experienced the first year at the Legislature, and we are ready to look towards the next. There are some great things that we can do to make Nebraska better, and I am excited to be a part of it.
Throughout the course of this year, the Legislative Body has introduced 664 bills, with 209 having been passed into law (excluding appropriations bills.) The content of introduced legislation has ranged anywhere from tax exemptions, to licensing poker games, and even invasive zebra mussels! Over the course of this year, I have grown a great respect for this institution and the state of Nebraska. The Legislative Body has some of the best and brightest our state have to offer.
Unfortunately, my bill to repeal the state tax on Social Security, or LB165, did not get out of committee. This would be a major boon for our state’s retirees and disabled individuals, who depend on this income for many of their day-to-day essentials. I firmly believe that this is one of the best economic decisions that Nebraska could make. Our retirees don’t always go where the physical climate is ideal, but sometimes, where the financial climate is warmest.
As I “gear up” for the following year, there are some areas I will be considering. During the end of this year’s session, I introduced LR316, which will study Nebraska’s Master Settlement Agreement, or MSA. The MSA was a monetary settlement agreed upon by the major tobacco companies in the U.S during the late 90’s. This settlement determined a fixed amount, based on anticipated market share in each of the states. There have been questions raised on whether Nebraska has been receiving its share of the MSA as agreed. I will be exploring this agreement to figure out our options.
As Chair of the State-Tribal Relations Committee, I have been working closely with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, or NCIA. During my time in the Capitol, I have discovered many areas in state-tribal relations that could improve. Many tribes across Nebraska are experiencing difficulties with state and tribal courts overlapping, administrative errors, as well as other social issues which need to be addressed. It is my intention to ensure our legal systems coincide, and that tribal sovereignty is secured.
Since I have had many requests to meet with constituents, I will be looking forward to your feedback during the interim. Please keep an eye out for “town hall” events during the Fall. If you have any other suggestions for legislation, please contact my office. We are always open to your concerns.
I wish you all the best, and hope you have a fun and safe summer.