NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Bruce Bostelman

Sen. Bruce Bostelman

District 23

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 bbostelman@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 3rd, 2024

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 23rd 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. Bruce Bostelman

Greetings, the legislature was not in session last Monday in observance of Presidents day, legislative activities were resumed on Tuesday the 20th. We are more than half way through the session, and things have flown by.

 

Last week, the body discussed Sen. Fredrickson’s child subsidy bill, LB856, which is based on programs seen in Kentucky and now Iowa. This bill would exclude all earned and unearned income for child care workers when an agency like DHHS is determining eligibility for the federal Child Care Subsidy. The applicant must work at least 20 hours a week at a licensed center, an Early Head Start program, or as a self- employed licensed child care provider.

 

There was also discussion on Sen. Vargas’s LB1355 early last week. LB1355 would appropriate funds for the Nebraska Opioid Recovery fund for grants and aid programs. This bill also redefines multiple terms and adds entirely new definitions to statute, if passed. Examples of new definitions would be “Opioid epidemic” and “Opioid remediation”. Opioid remediation specifically means care, treatment, and other programs/expenditures designed to address the misuse/abuse of opioid products by affected individuals. It also means treating or mitigating opioid use or related disorders and to attempt to lessen the overall impact of the opioid epidemic.

There was also a vigorous debate on Bosn’s LB137 that led to a multi day filibuster. The bill  would provide an enhanced penalty for drug dealers when the person who used the controlled substance either died or sustained serious bodily injury. All three bills were advanced to Select File.


Speaker Arch designated his 25 Speaker Priority Bills for this session. One of the bills he designated as a Speaker Priority was my bill, LB1030. For those needing a refresh on what the purpose of LB1030 is, it is my county bridge match bill, which provides additional funding to ensure the County Bridge Match program continues. The program provides matching state funds to our counties in order to repair or replace structurally deficient bridges on our county roads. LB1030 also adds two county officials to the newly created working group who awards the funds to provide the Department of Transportation with a county official’s perspective.

 

Committee hearings will be wrapping up this week.  With this we can expect committee priority bills to be brought to the floor for debate.  Committee priority bills may have a number of bills that were heard in that committee included in their priority bill.

 

The first of March is a recess day, thus the legislature will not be meeting. Full day debate will officially begin on the 4th, and budget bills will be placed on general file on the 7th of March. The budget is an adjustment to the budget that we passed last year.  Debate on the budget bills will  begin on the 12th of March.


As always, constituents can contact my office with any questions or thoughts on legislation impacting District 23. You can reach my office at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Last week, the Legislature continued our work on bringing broadband to the entire state. LB61, introduced by Sen. Brandt, was advanced to Select File on the 15th of February. Dark fiber refers to the unused strands in an underground fiber optic line. Currently, there are fiber optic lines across the state that are not entirely used. This bill creates a new streamlined process for the leasing of dark fiber to serve unserved areas of the state. The bill would allow for public-private partnerships between utilities and internet providers to reach those high-cost areas of the state. 

 

Sen. Brewer’s LB895 was advanced to Select File as well. Currently, the Adjutant General of the Nebraska National Guard has the authority to provide incentive payments to encourage individuals to enlist or reenlist in the Guard. LB895 allows for the Adjutant General to also provide similar payments for commissioned officers.  

 

LB685, introduced by Sen. Lowe, which is a bill to increase regulation and enforcement of laws involving games of skill. Amendment 2329 replaces all of the language in LB685, and it adds a definition for manufacturer of cash devices into statute and changes rules and licensing fees surrounding the manufacture of skill machines. A cash device is defined as any mechanical amusement device capable of awarding cash prizes or anything exchangeable for cash. AM2329 would also require background checks for any individual interested in applying for a license to own and operate these machines. 

 

Importantly, LB 836 was amended into LB 685. The bill creates a definition and regulation for a new class of alcoholic beverage; a co-branded alcoholic beverage. An example of a co-branded alcoholic beverage would be a hard mountain dew. This bill focuses on how and where these beverages are displayed in retail spaces.

 

The speaker priority request deadline passed on the 14th, as did the committee priority and Senator priority deadline on the 15th. This session, I designated Sen. Brewer’s LB399 as my personal priority bill. LB399 would require that before public power entities or private electric suppliers construct an electric generation facility, they must first hold a public meeting, with members of their board present, affording the general public a chance to comment on the proposed facilities. 

 

The Transportation and Telecommunication committee has selected Sen. Moser’s LB1200 and my bill, LB1031, as the committee’s priority bills for the 2024 session. LB1031 phases out Nebraska Universal Service Fund Support for services that cannot provide 100/20 Mbps over specified timeframes.  NUSF provides telecommunication providers with funds to build out fiber and upkeep their infrastructure. Right now, we are subsidizing big national telecommunications carriers, well-capitalized corporations, to maintain the infrastructure those carriers have allowed to become obsolete. LB1031 ends this poor use of funds.


Constituents can contact my office with any questions or thoughts on legislation impacting District 23. You can reach my office at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Greetings from the Nebraska Legislature, at the time of publishing, this article will chronicle the events of week seven. We’re quickly approaching the halfway point of the legislative session, as day 30 of the 60 day session falls on February 20th. 

The Legislature officially passed its first batch of bills on Final Reading, which means that they’re waiting for Governor Pillen’s signature. All together there were 15 bills, all of which were carry over bills from last session. Some of them include Sen. Linehan’s LB299, which requires approval by the voters of a school district or educational service unit for the issuance of any bonds by a joint agency, Sen. Bostar’s LB308, the Genetic Information Privacy Act which seeks to protect consumers by requiring a genetic testing service to gain express consent from a consumer before they share, store, or use the genetic data.

On Monday the 5th, the body opened the week with three bills debated on the floor, including Sen. Brewer’s LB287, one of the Government, Military and Veteran Affairs Committee Priority Bills. LB287 cleans up a variety of election and open meetings act statutes. For example the bill clarifies the process for filling vacancies for our federal delegation. The bill mandates that a special election to fill any vacancies must occur within 90 days but no earlier than 75 days.

The Legislature also advanced Sen. Sanders LB771 to Select File. LB771 directs the Department of Veteran Affairs to provide grants relating to the United States Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (located on Offutt AFB) for undergraduate and graduate internships and academic programming to assist the said Accounting Agency with its mission of accounting for service members and American civilians missing from designated past conflicts. The bill intends to appropriate $200,000 from the General Fund to the Department for such grants.  

The Transportation and Telecommunications and Natural Resources Committees held their weekly hearings on possible legislation. My bill, LB1030, was also presented to the Transportation and Telecommunications committee. For those who haven’t seen previous summaries of the bill, LB1030 would make several changes to the County Bridge Match Program and would provide additional funding to ensure the program continues. The program provides matching state funds to our counties in order to repair or replace structurally deficient bridges on our county roads. 

By the time this article is published, all committee, speaker and senator priority bills will have been designated. You can find a list of these bills by going to the legislature landing page, clicking the Session Information tab, then clicking on Additional Activity and Information. On the expanding menu, you’ll find a link to the list of priority bills.

The legislature will not be meeting on the 19th, in observance of President’s Day. Constituents can contact my office with any questions or thoughts on legislation impacting District 23. You can reach my office at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 6/5/23
June 5th, 2023

The Legislature has concluded the First Session of the 108th Legislature, Sine Die. This year 820 bills were introduced along with 274 Legislative Resolutions. These resolutions include celebrations of achievements, studies to be completed during the interim, and constitutional amendments. The Legislature passed a total 291 bills this first session that were included in 52 “priority bills”. All of these bills have either been signed or will be signed by the Governor.

This past week we addressed the line item vetoes from the Governor. The legislature has taken up specific motions to override certain line items that the Governor vetoed. The only motion that was sustained was to override the Governor’s veto for additional funds for the Public Auditor’s office. Auditor Foley had previously testified that the office needed additional staff in order to carry out the function of his office. The Auditor’s office is charged with auditing all State agencies, officers, boards, bureaus, commissions and other investigations.

LB298, a speaker priority bill, was passed on Wednesday. LB298 adopts the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact for Nebraska. This compact will create a reciprocity agreement for those with teaching certificates. If you are licensed in one state that has adopted the contract and move to another state that has also adopted the compact, the teacher licensure process will be streamlined and less burdensome. Once ten states have signed onto this compact the bill will take effect.

As the week wrapped up, the Legislature began debate on the remaining bills on Finale Reading. This includes LB227 which is the Health and Human Services committee Priority bill. The bill provides requirements for increases in Medicaid reimbursement to hospitals, extends the sunset date for the Federal Child Care Subsidy program and Cash Assistance to families who have not achieved economic self-sufficiency. Further, the bill extends the sunset date of the SNAP gross income eligibility limit of 165% of the poverty level until September 2025. There are 24 bills amended into LB227 for more information visit the legislature’s website.

On Thursday we passed the second Revenue Committee Priority package LB727. This bill included LB529 requires at least one elected official from each participating political subdivision seeking a levy override, shall attend the joint public hearing on raising property taxes in that subdivision. This change was made after the committee received feedback that members were not attending the public meetings outside a single representative. The Legislature received some feedback after the public meetings last year that the appropriate officials were not present to answer relevant questions regarding the levy increases.

As the first day of summer quickly approaches, I urge everyone to make safety a priority whether traveling on the roadways, enjoying Nebraska waterways or other activities. My office remains open over the interim to serve District 23 and Nebraska. I appreciate hearing from constituents and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 5/26/23
May 26th, 2023

We are now in the final week of the First Session of the 108th Legislature. At the time of publishing, we will have two legislative days remaining before the Legislature adjourns Sine Die. It has been a busy week passing a number of significant bills that were included in the overall tax reduction package. The next three bills are part of that package.

LB243e passed, in part, it increased the funding for the Property Tax Credit Fund from $313 million to $560 million. It also requires the fund to grow equal to the increase in assessed value of real property in the state. The bill further creates a new mechanism for the percentage of annual increase that a school district may request in regards to their levy authority.

LB583e was passed and provides $1,500 per student in foundational aid to each school district. Currently, roughly 75% of schools in the state do not receive funding from the state and instead rely on property taxes. The bill also expands State funding for special education by reimbursing 80% of special education needs. By providing this state funding, schools can reduce their reliance on property taxes. It also provides the mechanism for the utilization of LB681, the Education Future Fund that was established with over one billion dollars in support of future public school needs.

LB754e was also passed by the Legislature and provides income tax relief. The bill provides a gradual reduction in income taxes for the top two tax brackets that will ultimately stop at 3.99% by 2027 tax year. By the time the bill is fully implemented there will be a substantial reduction in income tax for individuals making more than $18,000 per year, married couples making more $36,000 per year, and heads of households making more than $28,800 per year.

Other bills passed include B683e creating the Nebraska Broadband Office which will be responsible for managing and directing federal funds received by the state for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program. These funds are specifically targeted for the hardest to reach areas in the state with broadband services. The broadband office will also be responsible for developing the Nebraska broadband access map. This map will be crucial in identifying which areas of the state lack access in order to strategically deploy broadband.

In addition, LB565e, the Natural Resources priority bill passed, provides funds to the Department of Economic Development to provide grants to the Hydrogen Hub Industry Working Group to continue their work on applying for a hydrogen hub designation. LB565 includes eight additional bills from the committee. The bill also includes LB217, LB289, LB395, LB400, LB425, LB567, LB568, and LB723.
For additional or more specific information on these bills or others please visit nebraskalegislature.gov. You may also reach my office at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 5/22/23
May 22nd, 2023

As the First Session of the 108th Legislature is winding down we passed the last of the five budget bills on the 80th day. These bills are now off to the Governor’s desk for signing. The budget bills are unique in that the Governor may veto or decrease specific line items in the budget and pass the remaining items. If this occurs, the line item will be returned to the Legislature where we will debate whether we should override the veto which would require a 3/5ths vote of the Legislature. Final Reading bills with general fund impact may now be considered.

In addition to the budget bills, we took up the revenue committee’s second priority bill LB727 on General File. There are 30 bills included in this package. One of which is LB96 that adds twine used in commercial agriculture as exempt from sales and use taxes. The bill defines twine as a strong string of two or more strands twisted together used in the baling of livestock feed or bedding. The bill also updates the definition of net wrap to be plastic wrap used in the baling of livestock feed or bedding.

The revenue package also includes LB4 which will take effect in 2025. The bill changes the homestead exemption process, specifically for permanent and totally disabled veterans or a surviving spouse of a veteran, in order to make it easier to apply and receive an exemption.

LB165 provides for additional qualified withdrawals from Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST) accounts or 529 plans. Specifically, this bill would allow for the withdrawal of funds from a NEST account in order to pay for elementary or secondary education. This change would conform our statutes with federal law which already allows for these withdrawals.

Another bill included in the revenue package is LB384. This bill would direct the sales tax paid on the sale or lease of aircraft to the newly created Department of Transportation Aeronautics Capital Improvement Fund. This fund will be utilized to build, repair, or maintain any infrastructure at any public airport licensed by the Department.
As we approach Memorial Day, I ask that everyone take a moment out of their day to honor and remember the men and women who served, and those who have given their lives while serving our country. We should also remember those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. We can never forget or diminish the sacrifices these great men and women made for the betterment of our nation.


According to The Department of Veterans Affairs 84 Nebraskans have been lost in the line of duty since 2003. These men and women are being honored on their website: veterans.nebraska.gov/fallen-soliders


For additional or more specific information on bills please visit nebraskalegislature.gov. You may also reach my office at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 5/15/23
May 15th, 2023

There are three weeks left in the First Session of the 108th Legislature and we are hitting crunch time. This week we focused on budget bills advancing them to Final Reading to meet the day 80 deadline required by our rules. Once the budget bills are passed, we will take up bills on Final Reading. Bills that have a fiscal impact may not be considered prior to the budget being passed.

One bill included in the budget package was LB281. This bill establishes a matching grant program under the Department of Economic Development for nonprofit 501(c)(3) youth outdoor education camps to repair facilities destroyed by a natural or manmade disaster. One such facility could be the Halsey 4-H camp.

The Legislature also advanced the Education Committee priority bill to Final Reading. This bill is an education package which contains several additional bills. The primary bill, LB705, allocates money received from the Nebraska Lottery to several education funds.

LB385 as amended into LB705 creates the Nebraska Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act. The act would establish a grant program using lottery funds for eligible teachers. New teachers would be eligible for a $2,500 grant at the beginning of years 2, 4, and 6 of their employment. Teachers with a certification in a high-need area such as special education or math will be eligible for a one-time grant of $5,000 after signing a contract to complete a school year of full time employment.

LB583 was also advanced to Final Reading. This bill provides for $1,500 per student in foundational aid to each school district within the school funding formula. Further, the bill also expands State funding for special education by reimbursing 80% of special education costs. The bill will help ease school districts’ reliance on property taxes and ensure our schools have the funds to provide necessary education for children with special needs.

The Legislature ended our week on Thursday by advancing the property tax relief bill LB243, originally introduced by Senator Briese. This bill increases the funding for the Property Tax Credit Fund from $313 million to $560 million. It also requires the fund to grow equal to the increase in assessed value of real property in the state. The bill further creates a new mechanism for the percentage of annual increase that a school district may request in regards to their levy authority.

As a final note, If you ever miss one of my updates or would like to go back to review a previous update they are available online you can visit nebraskalegislature.gov select “senators” on the left side of the page. Click “Senator Webpages” then click “Bruce Bostelman” and finally “Senator Blog” under the resources section of my legislature page.

For additional or more specific information on bills please visit nebraskalegislature.gov. You may also reach my office at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov

Update 5/8/23
May 8th, 2023

This past week we began debate on the budget for the next biennium. LB814 is the mainline budget bill for Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024. The other budget bills, LB813 and LB818 provide for fund transfers and appropriations to state agencies that incurred a deficit. LB814 was replaced by the appropriations committee amendment AM915 which includes the budget recommendations for all state operations and aid programs. I will touch on some of the budget but for more detailed information, I suggest visiting the Legislature website.

Two bills in the mainline budget are in honor of our veterans. LB80 and LB609. LB80 introduced by Senator Aguilar appropriates $8 million to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for the purposes of construction and improvements to the state veterans cemetery system in Grand Island.

LB609 directs $2.5 million from the general funds to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The purpose of these funds are to provide grant funding to a nonprofit organization to construct a memorial in honor of the 396 Nebraska military personnel who were killed in action during the Vietnam War. Nebraska is the only state in the nation that does not currently have a memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in Vietnam.

The budget also includes my bill LB125, I introduced this bill to transfer the interest accrued on the Surface Water Irrigation Cash Fund. This fund was created last year and funded with a $50 million appropriation to help assist our Irrigation Districts with the repair or replacement of their aging infrastructure vital to farmers around the state. This would ensure the interest accrued would go into the fund instead of being put into the General Fund as it does now.

The budget also contained additional funds for property tax relief for Nebraskans. The biennial budget provides an additional $50 million to the Property Tax Credit Fund for FY23-24 and an additional appropriation of $85 million in FY24-25.

In addition, the appropriations committee is also allocating $12.5 million in FY23-24 and $15 million in FY24-25. These funds correspond with the casino gaming tax that is directly credited to the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund. I will continue to update you on the related property tax relief bills when they come back up on the floor.

I want to thank Clarkson Public Schools for their visit to the capitol this past week. It was nice to get to see the young faces of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students. As the year wraps up for all the students I want to wish you all a wonderful summer and encourage you to stay active and continue to learn and engage in the community around you.

For additional or more specific information on bills please visit nebraskalegislature.gov. You may also reach my office at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Update 5/1/23
May 1st, 2023

As we are pushing the last few weeks of the First Session of the 108th Legislature, we will soon begin debate on the budget bills for this biennium. As these bills are Speaker Major Proposals, Speaker Arch will determine how long we will debate each bill before cloture is invoked.

Last week, we advanced a number of “A-bills” which accompany several bills already discussed that have been passed to Select File or Final Reading. A-bills provide the necessary cash transfers for their companion bill if they have a fiscal note. Until the budget has been passed, any bill which has a companion A-Bill will be held on Final Reading.

On Tuesday, we took up debate on Select File of LB191 introduced by Senator Halloran. This bill was replaced by committee amendment AM1363. This amendment includes LB267, LB460, LB639, LB671, LB666, LB427, and amended provisions of LB249. I will touch briefly on a couple but for more information please see the Nebraska Legislature website.

LB267 prioritizes resources for the protection of critical infrastructure utility workers in the event of a civil defense emergency, disaster, or other emergencies that pose a severe threat to human health. Specifically, the prioritized resources include personal protective equipment, medical screening, testing, preventative health services, medical treatment, and the administration of vaccines.

LB460 requires that the Department of Health and Human Services reimburse the costs for mental health examinations or resilience training that is not covered by a first responders employer. Our first responders risk their lives every day and sometimes witness horrible situations. Ensuring these individuals have the necessary resources to take care of their mental health so they can continue to provide the crucial services that protect Nebraskans every day.

LB427 removes the requirement that out-of-state contractors pay a one-time fee of $25 for when they come into the state to work. The bill further removes the requirement that they pay a fee of $25 for each contract they receive that is at least $10,000.

LB671 amends the Nebraska Worker Training and Support Cash Fund to allow the fund to be used for the retention of existing employees. Currently, the fund may be used to provide training opportunities to expand the Nebraska workforce by increasing the pool of highly skilled workers.

For over 150 years we have been celebrating Arbor Day, Nebraska’s own holiday. It is estimated that more than a million trees were planted on our first Arbor Day back in 1872. Though the holiday has passed, I encourage you to continue celebrating by planting a tree in your area.

For additional or more specific information on bills please visit nebraskalegislature.gov. You may reach my office at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

Sen. Bruce Bostelman

District 23
Room 1210
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2719
Email: bbostelman@leg.ne.gov
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