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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.
Sen. Bruce Bostelman
The legislature has less than 15 days left of this short 60 day session. The focus for the remainder of session will be on debate of priority legislation and passage of the budget bills.
The package of budget bills include LB944, LB945 and LB946. LB944, introduced by the Speaker at the request of the Governor, is part of the Governor’s 2018 midbiennium budget adjustment recommendations for the 2017-2019 biennium. The bill makes adjustments to appropriations and reappropriations for state operations, aid and construction programs, provides for transfers, and modifies intent language and earmarks accompanying appropriations for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2018 and the next fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.
The Appropriations Committee advanced their budget recommendations for LB944 on a unanimous 9-0 vote. LB944 includes a 2 percent reduction this year and another 2 percent cut the following year for state agencies. The Committee chose to prioritize higher education and hold the second year reduction to the University of Nebraska to 1 percent. To balance the budget, LB944 transfers $100 million from the Cash Reserve Fund. The budget seeks to protect funding for K-12 education, obligations for pension funds and the property tax credit. LB944 was discussed on general file on Tuesday, March 13th. After several hours of discussion on the amount of money transferred from the Cash Reserve Fund as well as a Title X provision, LB944 advanced to select file on a vote of 38-6 with 4 present and not voting.
The other two bills in the budget package LB945 and LB946 were also discussed. LB945 contains the Appropriations Committee recommendations as to fund transfers, creation of funds and changes governing the administration and use of funds, in those instances where statutory changes are necessary or desirable. LB946 provides for a transfer from the Cash Reserve Fund to the General Fund and changes a transfer from the Cash Reserve Fund to the Nebraska Capital Construction Fund for use in the Capitol HVAC project. Both bills advanced to select file. I will continue to keep you updated on the budget package as it makes its way through the legislative process.
I remain committed to real property tax relief this session and have been working with Senators and others toward advancement of legislation and policy that will aid in property tax relief. I will continue to work on property taxes and will keep you updated on any legislation.
As the legislature draws near the end of session, we will be working on moving priority bills through the legislative process. One of my own bills, LB901, was selected as a Speaker Priority Bill and was debated and advanced to select file. LB901 would protect historic Terrain Flight Training Areas for the National Guard and give them a voice in the permitting process in these crucial training areas to help them remain mission ready.
I will continue to keep you updated as we work on priority legislation for the remainder of session.
The legislature continued debate of priority legislation this week. The legislature heard debate on individual Senator Priority bills including LB42, LB44 and LB993. LB42 introduced by Senator Hilkelmann which would change occupant protection system provisions for children and adopt certain federal safety provisions was heard on general file. LB42 would update requirements for use of child passenger restraint systems when travelling in a motor vehicle. The bill did advance.
LB44 introduced last session by Senator Watermeier was reprioritized and debated again on select file with amendment AM1822. LB44 would adopt the Noncollecting Retailer Notice and Reporting Act which would require notification by noncollecting retailers of purchases made by Nebraska purchasers for taxable items. LB44 advanced to select file as amended.
LB993 introduced by Senator Friesen was discussed on general file. LB993 creates the 911 Service System Advisory Committee and amends the 911 Service System Act and allow for the implementation of next-generation 911 Services. LB993 advanced to select file.
Changes to certain district court judicial district boundaries were discussed on general file this week in LB697, a bill by Senator Ebke which was selected as a Speaker Priority Bill. LB697 was advanced to select file.
Two Committee Priority bills were also discussed by the legislature on general file. LB808, a bill introduced by Senator Harr was prioritized by the Agriculture Committee and debated on the floor. LB808 would amend the Community Gardens Act and create the Community Food Production Water Fund. A final vote has not been taken on the bill. LB1090 a bill introduced by Senator Smith and prioritized by the Revenue Committee was discussed on the floor. The bill would restore the personal exemption credit that was effectively repealed by the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for Nebraska taxpayers and amends other taxing provisions. LB1090 did advance to select file.
Increasing and Improving technology and access to rural broadband in this State continues to remain an important issue for me and those in our District. As a legislative liaison to the Nebraska Information Technology Commission I attended the Quarterly Meeting held on Thursday, March 8th at Varner Hall. It was a great opportunity to stay up to date on these issues and hear more from experts in these fields and the learn the status and progress of technology and its increasing uses in our State.
The legislature hosted the Ashland-Greenwood High School Concert Choir this week on Tuesday, March 6th. The Ashland-Greenwood Concert Choir was selected to participate in the Nebraska Music Education Association Capitol Concert Series. I enjoyed the opportunity to listen to the Choir’s performance in the Rotunda and applaud the students and staff for all of their work and accomplishments in music.
The budget bills LB944, LB945, and LB946 were advanced form the Appropriations Committee this week. The legislature will begin budget discussions next week and I will have more specifics to share on those bills at that time.
We are now over half way through this short 60 day session and the legislature has switched gears and began full-day debate of legislation on the floor. The legislature will focus its time discussing bills designated as a priority by a Senator, Committee, or the Speaker for the remainder of session.
Several Senator Priority Bills were debated this week. LB931 introduced by Senator Howard was discussed on general file. LB931 would create a 7 day duration cap on a prescription for an opiate issued to a person under the age of 19. The bill contained a Judiciary Committee Amendment which inserted portions of LB933 by Senator Lindstrom and LB934 by Senator Kuehn. As amended by Am1841 the bill would require with some exceptions that person receiving dispensed opiates provide photographic identification. LB931 as amended advanced to select file.
LB158 by Senator Pansing Brooks was also debated on the floor. LB158 is a carryover bill from last session that was reprioritized. The bill would require that all juveniles subject to the jurisdiction of juvenile court be appointed counsel. There was several hours of debate on the bill. A final vote has not been taken on the bill.
LB773 introduced by Senator Clements was also heard on general file. LB773 would change intimidation by telephone call provisions to prohibit intimidation by electronic communication to update the statute with our modern tools of communication. The bill did advance to select file.
Two Committee Priority Bills LB1078 and LB935 were discussed on general file. LB1078 a bill introduced by Senator Crawford and prioritized by the Executive Board would require the reporting of sexual abuse allegations involving those being served by the Division of Children and Family Services and placed at a residential child-caring agency as well as state wards, juveniles in probation, juveniles in detention or juveniles in a residential child caring agency to be reported to the Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare. The bill did advance to select file. LB935 is a bill introduced and prioritized by the Legislative Performance Audit Committee. The bill would authorize the inspection of certain tax return information and change application, reporting and record retention provisions under the Nebraska Advantage Act. The bill did advance.
This upcoming week March 5-10 is National Consumer Protection Week. The legislature has recently passed on final reading LB757, a bill aimed at providing additional consumer protections. I wanted to share this information from the Attorney General’s Office for those who may be interested in learning more about tips on how to keep their information secure. You may find this information at ProtectTheGoodLife.Nebraska.gov. The legislature will reconvene debate of priority legislation on Tuesday March 6th and I look forward to discussion of key issues affecting Nebraska and District 23.
The legislature reconvened Tuesday following Presidents Day on Monday, February 19th. All Senator and Committee Priority Bills for the session have now been designated. The Speaker has selected his 25 Speaker Priority Bills and one of my own bills LB901 was chosen. Committee Hearings will wrap up on Tuesday February, 27th and senators will move to full day debate and begin focusing their attention on debate of these priority bills.
Several Senator and Committee Priority Bills were debated on the floor this week. LB299, a bill by Senator Ebke, was discussed on general file. LB299 would adopt the Occupational Board Reform Act and change procedures for particular rules and regulations. No vote has been taken on the bill. LB439 introduced by Senator Wishart would update the Assisted-Living Facility Act and provide clarification to distinguish care between assisted-living and nursing facilities. LB439 advanced to select file. LB776 introduced by Senator McCollister would provide requirements for inmate access to telephone or videoconferencing systems in county and city jails. A final vote has not been taken on the bill.
The legislature heard several bills on Final Reading on Friday, February 23rd. One of my own carry over bills, LB472 was heard and passed on Final Reading. LB472 would eliminate the fee for certain advertising sings along the state highway system.
My Committee Hearings wrapped up this week with several internet and broadband related bills. The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee heard LB1113 introduced by Senator Walz dealing with broadband. LB1113 would provide an exception for leasing dark fiber or providing broadband, internet, telecommunications or video services by an agency or political subdivision of the state. The Committee also heard a bill introduced by Senator Morfeld, LB856, addressing net neutrality. LB856 would create the Internet Neutrality Act which would require Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) be transparent in regards to their business practices and provides that no ISP can engage in paid prioritization. I will continue to keep everyone updated as bills move from committee to the floor for debate.
I wanted to share this information about opportunities for those who may wish to serve on any Boards and Commissions. Serving on a Board or Commission is a great way to stay involved in our state and communities and I encourage anyone interested to apply. The open positions and application form can be completed at: https://governor.nebraska.gov/ under “Constituent Services”.
The legislature was visited this week by two groups of students from District 23. Fourth grade students from David City Public Schools toured the Capitol on Friday, February 23rd. Another group of fourth grade students from Ashland Greenwood Public Schools also visited the Capitol on the 23rd. I enjoyed the opportunity to visit with both groups of students and discuss the legislative process.
The legislature returned to debate on several select file bills this week. LB757 introduced by Senator Morfeld which provides for additional consumer protections regarding personal and financial data was advanced to final reading. LB758 introduced by Senator Hughes which would require collaboration between natural resource districts and counties under the Nebraska Ground water Management and Protection Act also advanced to final reading. Senator Baker’s LB710 allowing for the recovery of court costs and attorney’s fees in certain civil claims advanced to final reading. My own bill, LB472 was heard on select file this week. LB472 is a bill I introduced on behalf of the Department of Transportation and would eliminate a fee for particular advertisement signs along the Highway Beautification Control System. The bill did advance.
Two Priority Bills were heard on general file this week. LB838 a bill by Senator Wishart that would prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from use of tanning equipment at a tanning facility was debated on the floor. No vote has been taken on the bill. An Urban Affairs Committee Priority Bill, LB874, was discussed on general file. LB874 would make a number of changes to the Community Development law related to tax-increment financing (TIF). LB874 advanced to select file with 33 votes.
There was a great deal of testimony on several bills in the Transportation and Telecommunication Committee this week. LB1063 introduced by Senator McDonnell was heard by the Committee on February 13. This bill would increase certain driver’s license fees to provide funding to assist victims of traumatic brain injuries. LB1031 introduced by Senator Friesen had its public hearing this week. The bill would change excavation notification and marking requirements and provide for large project planning meetings, rulemaking authority and allocation under the One-call Notification System Act. The Committee also heard two bills LB989 by Senator Wishart and LB1122 by Senator Larson regarding authorization of testing for automated and autonomous vehicles.
One of my own bills, LB1008 had a public hearing this week. LB1008 was heard in the Natural Resource Committee on Wednesday, February 14th. The bill would amend Nebraska Statute 37-613 to increase amounts of liquidated damages for certain violations of Game Law. LB1008 aims to help deter illegal killing of wildlife and protect a great natural resource in our state.
The Appropriations Committee heard testimony related to the status of the University of Nebraska system and the effect of current and potential future budget cuts on Wednesday, February 14th. There was significant testimony at the hearing. I will continue to keep everyone updated on the budget as this session progresses.
The Legislature will reconvene for session on Tuesday, February 20th following President’s Day on Monday. All Senator Priority Bills must be designated by adjournment on February 20th and the Legislature will then begin to focus debate on priority bills. I look forward to floor discussion of the new legislation.
The legislature continued debate this week of carry-over bills as well as a few 2018 Senator Priority Bills. Senator Priority bills which were heard this week include LB750, LB755 and LB710. LB750 is a bill introduced by Senator Williams. The bill would change provisions related to recording of real property documents and the rights and duties of secured creditors. LB750 advanced to select file. LB775 was introduced by Senator Stinner. The bill would adopt the State Park System Construction Alternatives Act and would allow the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to use alternative methods of contracting. A final vote has not been taken on the bill. LB710 introduced by Senator Baker would change provisions relating to civil claims. It would allow a successful plaintiff in cases involving four thousand dollars or less to recover costs, interest and attorney’s fees. The bill advanced to select file. The deadline for designating a Senator Priority Bill is February 20th and so we will be seeing even more discussion of new legislation in the coming weeks.
The legislature passed several bills on final reading this week including one of my own. LB177 a carry-over bill I introduced on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles was passed by the legislature this week on final reading.
Several hearings in my committees this week drew a great deal of testimony. Transportation and Telecommunications Committee heard LB1009 introduced by Senator Murante. The bill would provide for an increase of the speed limit on certain super-two highways and interstate systems. LB994 introduced by Senator Friesen would create a Rural Broadband Study Task Force to help enhance broadband telecommunications service to areas in rural Nebraska. I understand the importance of enhancing broadband in rural Nebraska and I am dedicated to finding ways to make real improvements in rural broadband. I will watch closely this and other proposals aimed at increasing broadband access.
My Natural Resource Committee heard significant testimony this week on LB1123 introduced by Senator Groene. LB1123 would make changes to future water rights and stream augmentation projects in regards to Natural Resource Districts and specifically addressing the N-CORPE project in Lincoln County, Nebraska.
Another bill aimed at addressing property taxes was heard in the Revenue committee this week. LB1084, by Senator Briese was heard on Thursday, February 8th. This bill would adopt the Property Tax Request Limitation Act. LB1084 would address property tax relief by generating new revenue from changes in sales, excise and income tax and directing more revenue to state funding of K-12 education. The bill would also increase the amount in the Property Tax Credit Cash Fund. I will continue to closely monitor legislation affecting property taxes and remain committed to property tax relief.
I will continue to update you on legislation as bills move through the committee process and onto the floor for debate. I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office with any thoughts on legislation.
The legislature debated two Senator Priority bills this week on general file. LB743 introduced by Senator Lindstrom and LB757 introduced by Senator Morfeld were discussed on the floor. LB743 would adopt the Public Adjusters Licensing act and change related continuing education and pre-licensing education provisions. The bill advanced to select file. LB757 is a consumer protections bill and would change provisions of the Credit Report Protection Act and the Financial Data Protection and Consumer Notification of Data Security Breach Act of 2006. This bill aims to strengthen consumer protection regulations and would require that individual or commercial entities in Nebraska that hold personal information must implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices. LB757 would also assure that if a security breach occurs, the consumer reporting agency would not charge for a security freeze. LB757 advanced to select file.
One of my own bills, LB909 had a hearing this week in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on Tuesday, January 30th. LB909 is a bill that originated out of discussions between myself, the DMV, and interested individuals and car club members regarding titling of specialty assembled vehicles. LB909 amends Nebraska titling and licensing provisions and assembled and kit vehicle provisions to provide a process to and allow for the branding of certificates of title as reconstructed or replica. This bill would simplify and make more precise the titling and licensing process for specialty assembled vehicles. This titling change would help make our laws as convenient and precise as possible for individuals applying for an assembled vehicle title as well as the DMV.
Several notable bills had public hearings this week in my Committees. LB830 introduced by Senator Vargas was heard in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. This bill would allow an auto manufacturer that does not have, and has not previously had, any franchisees in Nebraska, such as Tesla, to sell its own product directly to consumers. LB1054 introduced by Senator Brewer was heard in the Natural Resource Committee. This bill would require wind energy projects in Nebraska to apply to the Power Review Board and require the Board to consider public comment when making its determination. There was a great deal of testimony heard on the bill.
Committees continue to hear bills addressing property taxes this session. LB947 introduced by Senator Smith at the Governor’s request was heard in the Revenue Committee on Wednesday, January 31st. This bill would adopt the Nebraska Property Tax Cuts and Opportunities Act. There was a significant amount of testimony on the bill. There are multiple pieces of legislation addressing property taxes this session and I will be watching these bills closely as they move through the legislative process.
The Nebraska Veterans Council held their legislative day on Friday, February 2nd. The Nebraska Veterans Council is comprised of representatives from nine veteran service organizations. I enjoyed getting to meet with these individuals who provide a great service to our state and our country and visit with them about veteran-related legislation.
The Legislature continued debate of carry-over general file bills this week. My own carry-over bill LB472 was heard on general file on Monday, January 22 and advanced. LB472 is a bill I introduced on behalf of the Department of Transportation that would eliminate a fee for particular classes of advertising signs placed along certain Highways and Interstate systems throughout the State. Other bills discussed at length this week were LB449, LB589 and LB758. LB449 a bill introduced by Senator Chambers which would repeal the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Management Act failed to advance. LB589 was introduced by Senator Crawford. LB589 adds certain requirements when deposing a child victim or witness in courts under certain circumstances. No vote has been taken on the bill. LB758 a Natural Resource Committee Priority bill introduced by Senator Hughes was heard on general file this week. LB758 would require natural resource districts that have acquired private land for the development of stream flow augmentation projects to collaborate with officials in the county where the project is located in an effort to lesson impacts to that county’s property tax base.
Several select file bills were heard and advanced on Friday, January 26 including my own LB177. I introduced LB177 on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles to update and harmonize DMV provisions. LB177 advanced to final reading.
Public Hearings continued this week on newly introduced legislation. Two of my own bills LB900 and LB901 were heard in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. LB900 is an annual update bill I introduced on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Nebraska State Patrol. LB901 is a bill I introduced which would amend Nebraska Statutes to require that the Director of Aeronautics of the Department of Transportation consult with the Military Department in certain structure permitting decisions when the proposed structure is located within an area classified as a Terrain Flight Training Area. This bill would give the Nebraska National Guard a voice in structure permitting decisions to help protect their ability to utilize these Terrain Flight Training Areas and remain mission ready.
One property tax proposal had a hearing this week in the Revenue Committee. LB829 introduced by Senator Erdman was heard on Thursday, January 25. LB 829 is a property tax relief bill. The bill would enable Nebraska property owners to get a credit or refund on their State income tax return equal to 50% of that portion of their property tax bill which goes to fund K-12 education. LB829 provides property tax relief in the form of a credit and would not take any funding directly away from K-12 education. There was significant testimony on the bill which drew people from all across the state to testify.
The legislature was visited this week by high school students from Cedar Bluffs government class. I enjoyed meeting these students and discussing the legislative process and several key topics that the legislature will likely focus on this year.
Senator Bostelman and Senator Walz with Cedar Bluffs High School Students
The legislature reconvened this Tuesday following Martin Luther King Jr. Day and picked up on debate of carry-over bills. A majority of the week’s floor discussion focused on two bills by Senator Larson, LB469 and LR18CA. LB469 would adopt the Fantasy Contests Act by codifying in statute how fantasy contest operators are to be licensed and regulated in Nebraska. No vote was taken on the bill. LR18CA would propose a constitutional amendment to change the age of eligibility for public office. This resolution would propose a change to tie the age of eligibility to all public offices to the federal voting age, currently age 18. In Nebraska there are currently differing age limits for different offices. No vote has been taken on the resolution.
Committee hearings started this week on newly introduced legislation. One of my own bills, LB902 had a public hearing on Thursday, January 18th in the Government, Veteran and Military Affairs Committee. LB902 would provide an additional exemption to the public records statute 84-712.05 for information obtained by a government entity regarding certain firearm permit documents. Such information would still be made available to any law enforcement agency.
Chief Justice Heavican delivered the State of the Judiciary on Thursday, January 18 to the legislature. He emphasized the judicial branch’s focus on its work to make the state’s court and probation systems more effective. He also highlighted the great work of creative problem-solving courts including two new veterans’ treatment problem solving courts. The implementation and increasing use of technology within the court system was detailed in the speech. The Chief Justice concluded by expressing the judicial branch’s commitment to an open and fair court system.
All bills for this legislative session have now been introduced and will have a chance to be heard in committee. 482 bills were introduced this session for the legislature’s consideration. There is around 28 bills that deal with agricultural issues including property tax and around 18 bills proposing other tax related changes. I will be watching each of these bills closely as they proceed through the hearing process. I wanted to notify any constituents who may be interested in providing a letter for the record on a piece of legislation in committee on the new committee procedure. Beginning January 23rd letters for the record must be submitted to the Committee Clerk of that Committee by 5:00 P.M. the business day prior to the hearing or they will not be read into the record. You may still send written opinion on legislation throughout the legislative process but if you want your letter read into the formal record at the hearing it must be in by 5:00 P.M. the day before. I look forward to discussing all issues and legislation as each moves through the legislative process and welcome all constituents to contact my office with thoughts on legislation as the session continues.
Things are picking up at the legislature in its second week as we began floor debate and continued introduction of new legislation for this session. Over 300 new bills have already been introduced this session and more are expected until the deadline for new bill introduction on Thursday, January 18th. The legislature began discussion this week of carry-over bills from last session including one of my own bills LB177. LB177 was a bill I introduced last year on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles which would make necessary updates to portions of DMV statutes. LB177 advanced to select file.
One 2018 senator priority bill has already been debated this session. LB368, a bill introduced by Senator Lowe last session was reprioritized this year by Senator Krist. LB368 would repeal the helmet law for motorcycle riders. After several hours of discussion on the bill LB368 failed to advance.
The Governor delivered the Stated of the State to the Legislature on Wednesday, January 10th. The Governor reported that the state of Nebraska is strong and growing and highlighted economic development projects, international trade deals, and legislation aimed at streamlining government. The Governor also unveiled his new budget and tax plans which include a focus on property tax relief. The Governor’s proposal will be one of several property tax relief bills that the legislature will look at this session.
Committee hearings start next week on legislation introduced this session as new bills will begin to move through the legislative process. I remain on the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee as well as Vice Chair of the Natural Resource Committee.
The legislature will not meet Monday, January 15th in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and will reconvene on Tuesday January 16th. I look forward to continuing to work on legislation and issues that affect Nebraskans and constituents of District 23 this year and will keep everyone updated throughout the session.