The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

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

Weekly Update 1-7
December 31st, 2020

Greetings from the Legislature and Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had a safe and blessed holiday season, and is having a great start to the New Year. At the time of this publication, the 107th Nebraska Legislature has convened for the 2021 session. This session is a long, 90 day session and includes eight new senators, three of which have previously served in the Legislature.

The first day of session involved the election of a new speaker and elections for committee chairmanships. As always, the beginning of the session also involves the introduction of bills, as all new bills must be introduced in the first 10 days of session. I have several pieces of legislation I have been working on, and look forward to sharing more information about them in the coming weeks.

This year, the COVID-19 situation will continue to be an important factor in how the legislature handles its proceedings. There are a number of safety precautions put in place last session that will continue into this session. Plexiglass dividers between Senator’s desks will remain in place, and lobbyists and members of the public will not be permitted in the balconies above the legislative chamber. All Senators and staff entering the chamber will also be required to have their temperature checked prior to entry.

As we have seen, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is fast-moving, so these procedures may change as the session progresses, depending on the circumstances. A safe environment for the Legislature to conduct its business remains a top priority.

The State of Nebraska moved from the “yellow” to the “blue” phase of its COVID-19 response plan. There are some new directed health measures (DHM’s) that took effect December 24th: Maximum capacity for indoor gatherings has been increased from 50% to 75%. Groups of eight or more people at bars, restaurants, and other venues can now be seated together, and seating for eight or less is now guidance instead of being mandatory. The requirement for people to remain seated unless ordering food, using the restroom, or playing games at bars or restaurants has also been changed to guidance. Elective surgeries can also continue unrestricted.

More information on the new DHM’s can be found by going to and clicking on the link for “Directed Health Measures.”

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or

Weekly Update 12-24
December 30th, 2020

Christmas cheer to you this Holiday season as we enter this special time of year.  A season of joy as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child, and the many blessings God has given us. In Luke 2:11 we read, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” While it may be easy to get caught up in the busyness of this season, it’s important to spend time reflecting on the meaning of Christmas. The gift of a child in the manger, a gift of love, unconditional love.

This Christmas we may be celebrating a little differently than in the years past, our focus remains on God’s gift to us.  This is also a time of opportunity to share His love with our neighbors who may be struggling due to job or family losses. Remembering them graciously with help and support directly or by giving to your local food pantry as the need in our communities grows during holiday vacations.  A gift of food or of clothing, coats, gloves and even sleeping bags or blankets.  A stuffed animal or toy for a child and a letter or phone call to someone homebound.  A touch of His love to someone you may never meet.

Our families may not be able to meet with relatives and loved ones as we have in years past.  For those loved ones that may be alone or staying home for the holiday season, it is important to remember them in your special way with Christmas cheer. If you are travelling during the holidays, be safe on the roadways.  In family and group gatherings it’s important to keep taking the necessary precautions to slow the spread of the virus.

Our thoughts and prayers for our military families.  Those members of the Armed Forces who are spending Christmas in foreign lands, far away from their home and their families.  I remember many Christmas’s that I spent away from home and in those times special gifts from friends and family brought a piece of home to me.  The best gift of all during those times away was the opportunity I had to celebrate Christmas and His joy, peace and love with those I was with.

From my staff, Riley and Edward and from Jan and I we wish you and your family a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.

Weekly Update 11-19
November 13th, 2020

As of last Friday, the District and State are seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 cases and because of this rise in cases and hospitalizations, Governor Ricketts announced increased Directive Health Measures (DHMs) to combat the spread of the virus. Under the new DHMs, indoor gatherings are now limited to 25% maximum capacity, down from 50%. Additionally, six foot distance between parties in restaurants, bars, gyms, and similar places is now mandated versus being recommended.

Governor Ricketts reiterated that a statewide mask mandate is not something he would consider. However, under the new DHM’s, masks are required in establishments where close contact within six feet occurs for more than 15 minutes, such as barber shops, nail salons, and bowling alleys.

I’ve had the opportunity to participate in meetings with health officials from east central Nebraska. This increase in hospitalizations of COVID patients has them very concerned that they will not be able to care for patients of both COVID and other medical emergencies and needs.  This is based on actual bed counts and patient care they are currently seeing.

Not everyone will need hospitalization, however, everyone does need access to medical treatment in emergencies and other medical needs.  By working together in reducing the spread we keep our hospitals and businesses open and our children in school.  Thank you to our medical personnel, long term health facilities, and first responders for all that you are doing in our communities.

The Nebraska Forecasting Advisory Board recently met to review their fiscal year 2020-2021 forecast and make their first forecasts for fiscal years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023. The results of the meeting are extremely encouraging for the Nebraska economy. The board raised their forecast for fiscal year 2020-2021 by $285 million after current receipts show the state being $84 million above the certified forecast as of mid-October, with the projected final tally to be $125 million. These numbers reinforce the fact that Nebraska’s economy is quickly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first official forecasts for fiscal years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 were also encouraging. They are estimating an increase of $118 million in total receipts for fiscal year 2021-2022. Fiscal year 2022-2023 forecasts are even more optimistic, showing an increase of $307 million.

Overall, these forecasts show that Nebraska will be able to meet the new required amount of Property Tax credit established in LB1107, which was passed in July. The forecasts predict that Nebraska will hit the 3.5% growth mark, which should trigger additional funds going into the property tax credit fund.

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will be issuing emergency supplemental allotments to SNAP recipients who received benefits for the month of November. For households not already receiving the maximum benefit amount, this will raise SNAP benefits to the maximum amount based on household size. More information on SNAP benefits can be found here:

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or

Weekly Update 11-12
November 6th, 2020

This year, Veterans Day will look different without the large school commemorations, parades and social gatherings at local American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other veteran organizations.  However, what does remain the same is that this day is a time we as a country acknowledge the bravery and service of all veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

This is the 102nd anniversary of the end of WWI with the signing of the armistice agreement between Allied Powers and Germany.  Established in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson, this day was originally called “Armistice Day” to honor the heroes of WWI. In 1954, the name was changed nationally to “Veterans Day” to honor veterans of all wars and conflicts.

We recognize that seventy years have passed since brave Americans defended a country and people that was under attack for three years in “the forgotten war.”  We remember and honor not just the brave Korean War veterans, but ALL who have served in the U.S. military. The continued service and sacrifice by our nation’s military members and their families.

Their stories and their love of brother/sisterhood, family, community and country will be told in small gatherings, in personal visits, and across the airwaves.  Veterans Day is a day to remember, reflect, and say thank you to a veteran.  A day to remember the families of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice, to share a hug, a phone call, or a visit to let them know you care and are there for them. A day for a veteran to tell children about their service, why they served, and the importance of Americanism and our patriotic values.

In 2018 there were 132,581 veterans living in Nebraska.  These men and women have sacrificed a great deal to protect our state, nation and freedoms.  They have spent time away from their families, missed children’s birthdays, graduations, and many other milestones.  I encourage you to tell veterans directly that you love them, that you appreciate them, and that you are grateful for their service.

We are their friends, their family, their co-workers, and their neighbors. It is up to us to ensure that every veteran feels that his or her service to this country is appreciated by their fellow Americans. There are many tangible ways that we can acknowledge their sacrifice, but the easiest is to simply say, “Thank you for what you have done for our country.”

We do not forget the veterans who have given their lives for freedom, or the families who have lost a veteran. We can never forget or diminish the sacrifices these great men and women made. To their families, may God comfort and give you peace. For those gone before us, may you rest in peace..

THANK YOU fellow veterans for your service and all that you continue to do for our state and nation.  May God Bless America and our veterans.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or

Weekly Update 10-5
October 30th, 2020

Last week, Governor Ricketts announced news about the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccine. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has been working with local health departments, hospitals, clinics, and other entities to develop a distribution network for the vaccine once it is made available. Initially, the state expects a limited supply of the vaccine, so it will first be distributed to healthcare workers, assisted living residents, and other high-risk individuals. The vaccine will be free-of-charge for anyone who wishes to receive it.

The Nebraska Department of Education announced that it has set aside about $12.5 million in an effort to provide better access to digital learning for students in Nebraska. The $12.5 million is being allocated from federal assistance provided through the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief fund and will be used to purchase desktop computers and laptops. This funding is available for all K-12 schools, public and non-public, in subsidies of up to $400 per device. Access to quality education is crucial for our children’s development, and I am encouraged by this program.

The USDA is investing $1.1 million in Nebraska to assist food entrepreneurs and agricultural producers develop products and expand their businesses. Among the recipients of the grant is Jisa Farmstead Cheese, LLC from Brainard.  A family owned business, Jisa Farmstead Cheese produces, packages, and markets Omega 3 cheeses that may be found in local grocery stores.  Shopping local and supporting small businesses in our communities is very important, as they are the backbone of our communities.

There is also important news for America’s military members and families. The United States Department of the Interior, on behalf of the Trump Administration, recently granted U.S. military veterans and Gold Star Families free access to national parks, wildlife refuges, and other federal lands.

Beginning on Veterans Day of this year, entrance fees for the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and standard amenity fees for the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation sites will be waived for veterans and Gold Star Families. We are grateful and respectful of those that have served and those who have sacrificed so much for our country.   This gives veterans and family members a greater opportunity to spend relaxing time in the outdoors, and explore the beautiful country they served to protect.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or

Weekly Update 10-22
October 16th, 2020

The Department of Revenue recently released a report showing that over the last year, the State of Nebraska has provided a record-setting $2.2 billion in property tax relief and state aid to local governments.

When I was first elected to the Legislature in 2016, the state was providing $204 million in property tax relief to residents of Nebraska. Since then, we have been able to increase the aid to $275 million in 2019. Through LB1107, which was passed in August, the amount of property tax relief from the state will rise to $650 million by 2025. This means in the four years that I have been in the legislature, we have nearly tripled the amount of property tax relief for all Nebraskans. We have also increased the amount of state aid to schools by $80 million to offset increases in property tax levies.

Recent economic reports continue to reinforce the fact that Nebraskans are steadily recovering from the effects of COVID-19. The September 2020 general fund receipts show that our economy continues to outpace the certified forecast estimated by the Economic Forecasting Advisory Board. The receipts from September indicate that net receipts totaled $527 million, which was 3.2% higher than the forecast. For fiscal year 2020-2021, the net general funds receipts were $1.646 billion which is 5.4% above the forecast. This information, paired with a low 4% unemployment rate continues to indicate a bright future for Nebraska economically.

District 23 received a total of $6,598,703 of federal CARES Act funds disbursed to 497 entities. Those receiving funds include 237 livestock producers, receiving the $12,000 Livestock Producers Small Business Stabilization Grant and 240 small businesses. In total these small businesses received $2,880,000 in aid through the Small Business Stabilization Grant.

Windstream Nebraska, Inc. recently received a $1,275,000 grant through the Remote Access Rural Broadband Program to expand access to broadband in rural Ashland. The grant improves broadband service in underserved areas of the state by targeting areas that lack high-speed internet based on the Federal Communications Commission’s standards of 25 Mbp/s download, and 3 Mbp/s upload speeds. This is very good news, and I will continue to work on expanding broadband access across Nebraska.

The Nebraska’s COVID-19 website, has been updated. The website now contains the Coronavirus Relief Fund Dashboard with information regarding how Nebraska has utilized federal funds received under the CARES Act. The dashboard shows who received the funding, and can be sorted by program, grant name, city, county, and Congressional or Legislative District.

Areas of the state are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases and I want to remind everyone to continue to take necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you. It is important for those that are sick to stay home, wear a mask when appropriate, wash your hands regularly and maintain proper social distancing.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or


Weekly Update 10-15
October 9th, 2020

This week I want to highlight important news for District 23 regarding drought relief. The United States Department of Agriculture has designated six Nebraska counties, including Colfax County, as primary natural disaster zones, and 14 counties, including Saunders and Butler Counties, as contiguous disaster zones.

Under these designations, producers who suffered losses caused by droughts may be eligible for expedited emergency loans. The emergency loans may be used for a variety of needs including replacement of equipment or livestock, loss of crops, or to refinance certain debts. Producers may apply for this emergency loan through their local Farm Service Agency office until May 11th, 2021. More information on this program can be found at

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has also extended the deadline for emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in Colfax and Saunders counties until December 31st, 2020, with some restrictions.

Haying, for example, is restricted to one cutting at no more than 50% of each field, and the hay must be removed from the CRP acres within 15 days after being baled. Producers who graze their livestock on CRP acres should also leave 25% of each field ungrazed. Importantly, there will also be no annual CRP rental payment deduction for emergency haying and grazing authorizations. To participate in this extension or find more information on starting CRP haying or grazing, you will need to apply through your county FSA office.

Colfax County livestock producers, who suffered grazing losses due to drought, are also eligible for further drought relief through the USDA’s Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP). The LFP will provide compensation to eligible producers on small, grain, native pasture, improved pasture, ryegrass, or forage sorghum. In order to apply for this program, please contact the Colfax County FSA office at (402) 352-5200 before the January, 30th deadline. For further information such as covered livestock or further eligibility requirements visit

Governor Ricketts recently declared October as Bioscience month in Nebraska. Bioscience encompasses industries such as renewable fuels, agricultural processing, and human and animal health sectors. For District 23, renewable fuels such as ethanol play a vital role in our community economies. Farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and our environment all benefit greatly from the production and use of renewable fuel. Our district’s farmers further benefit from the bioscience industry with its research and development of more resilient seeds with greater outputs, and more efficient farming practices.

Lastly, Governor Ricketts also declared October manufacturing month in Nebraska. Manufacturing is Nebraska’s second largest industry, employing roughly 100,000 people in the state, and is one of the fastest growing industries for high-paying jobs. Manufacturing contributes nearly $13 billion to Nebraska’s gross state product annually according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or

Weekly Update 10-8
October 2nd, 2020

As Nebraska moves into the fall harvest season, one of the most dangerous times of year for those in agriculture, it’s good for all of us to take special caution when working on the farm.  According to the Grain Handling Safety Coalition, on average, 167 agricultural workers suffer work related injuries each day.  Being careful not to wear loose clothing around power take-offs and wearing safety harnesses when working in grain bins can save a life.

Our farmers are working long days with harvest, moving heavy equipment on our roadways and we all need to be aware and use caution when approaching them on the roads.  If you encounter a slow-moving tractor, combine, or semi always give them adequate room. Often these vehicles make wide turns and sometimes need both lanes to do so.

These vehicles may appear to be pulling off onto the right shoulder of the road, but in fact they are turning left by going wide to line up with a gate or driveway. Be careful not to pull out in front of farm vehicles as they may be hauling heavy loads which could make a quick stop impossible.  Be patient when attempting to pass a slow moving vehicle and double check to ensure that it is not obscuring oncoming traffic before you pass.  It takes all of us to ensure a safe harvest season.

Last Sunday, the National Firefighters Association hosted their annual “America’s Tribute to Fallen Firefighters”. The tribute included the weeklong vigil, “Light the Night to Fallen Firefighters” which saw national monuments and landmarks, fire stations, and homes lit up red to honor the fallen. The tribute honored 103 firefighters, 82 of which perished in the line of duty in 2019. Firefighters around the country put their lives at risk to save others and it is important that we honor and remember these heroes.

Recent fiscal and unemployment reports show that Nebraska is recovering quickly from the effects of COVID-19. The Nebraska Department of Revenue recently released the August 2020 General Fund receipts. This new report was encouraging as it showed that in August, Nebraska’s net receipts were 15.2% above the certified forecast of $446 million. The department also reported that the net general fund receipts for fiscal year 2020-2021 were 6.4% above the forecast of $1.051 billion.

Not only are our tax receipts showing a rapid improvement in Nebraska’s economy, Nebraska currently has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, at just 4% in August with about 4,600 Nebraskans collecting unemployment according to the Nebraska Department of Labor. This highlights the Nebraska work ethic, and shows that we are overcoming the impact caused by economic shutdowns.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or

Weekly Update 10-1
September 25th, 2020

The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced a new assistance program for our nation’s farmers and ranchers who continue to be negatively affected by COVID-19. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP2) will provide agriculture producers with direct financial assistance in order to help offset increasing costs associated with COVID-19.

Commodities eligible for assistance include row crops, livestock, dairy, alfalfa, broilers and eggs, and more. The USDA will be accepting applications for CFAP2 from September 21st to December 11, 2020. To apply, call your local Farm Service Agency office to schedule an appointment. A call center has also been established for one on one assistance which can be reached at 877-508-8364.  More information on CFAP2 can be found at

The USDA also announced that they are extending flexibilities in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infants, and children (WIC). This program helps low income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children up to the age of 5 have access to nutritional food and information on healthy eating.

One of the key waivers that was extended allows for participants applying for WIC to be approved without the need to be physically present at a local office to take height, weight, and bloodwork requirements previously required for enrollment and re-enrollment. In addition, this waiver allows for the remote distribution of benefits so that participants are not required to come to the clinic to pick up benefit cards or paper coupons, decreasing the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19. Another critical waiver being extended includes flexibility in food package contents for dairy, grain, vegetable, and infant food when availability is limited.

Governor Ricketts recently announced a new program to provide short term housing accommodations for Nebraskans so they can safely quarantine and prevent transmission of the virus between their place of work and their home, protecting family members who may have adverse health conditions. Presently, the program is open to teachers and other school staff, meat processing workers, and first responders. The program provides free accommodations at hotels for 14 days or until the condition improves. More information and the application process can be found at

Finally, the Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with Nebraska’s 19 local health departments has issued new quarantine guidelines for students who have been exposed to COVID-19. The new guideline changes allow for students who have been exposed to the virus to continue attending classes In lieu of quarantining, if: they self-monitor and wear a mask, the exposure occurred during extracurricular activities, outdoors, or in a non-confined space, or if the exposure occurred in a confined space such as a classroom but both persons were wearing masks.

Over the interim, my office remains open and we look forward to a busy schedule working on issues affecting this District and Nebraska.  I appreciate hearing from you and encourage you to contact my office at 402-471-2719 or

Weekly Update 9-24
September 18th, 2020

The Legislature successfully passed LB1107 providing substantial property tax relief for Nebraskans.  The bill delivers $650 million in annual property tax relief in two forms.

The first places into law a minimum level of funding of $275 million annually for the existing Property Tax Credit Relief Fund. From 2015-2019, the Legislature worked to nearly double the amount of direct property tax relief from $140 million annually to $275 million annually.  This relief is applied directly to your property tax bill, and appears as a credit on your statement.

Second, the tax relief bill creates a new refundable income tax credit based on your property taxes paid to schools. Once the tax credit is phased in, the state will provide an additional $375 million in property tax relief. The relief from this credit will be delivered to you when you file your state income tax return. After the credit is phased in, the amount of credit from the state will grow as property valuations grow.

For instance, in Saunders County the refundable tax credit is expected to equal 5.6% of taxes paid to schools in 2020 and 15% in tax year 2025 when the total credit will amount to $375 million.  Based on the above, the total tax credit received by property owners in Saunders County would equal $2 million for tax year 2020 and $5.5 million in tax year 2025. The credit for agricultural landowners will amount to $1 million in tax year 2020 and grow to $2.7 million in tax year 2025.

Using data from the USDA and Dept. of Revenue, the average farm in Saunders County has 421 acres of taxable agricultural land.  So, the tax credit for tax year 2020 would be approximately $1,104 per farm and would equal approximately $2,947 per farm for taxes paid in 2025.

There is also news related to COVID-19 directed health measures. Most counties in Nebraska, including Saunders, Colfax, and Butler counties are now in phase 4 of the directed health measures put out by DHHS.

What this means in District 23 is that indoor gatherings are now limited to 75% capacity, and outdoor gatherings can now be at 100% capacity. Additionally, gyms, childcare facilities, bars, restaurants, salons, and wedding/funeral receptions are now removed from the directed health measures, but health precautions at these places are still advised.

However, facilities, indoor and outdoor, with 500+ capacity must submit plans outlining how the facility will meet applicable social distancing, sanitation, and other DHM guidelines to their local public health department before being able to reopen. The plan must also include the number of guests planning on attending the event. You may find the application for reopening plans on your local health department website.

Over the interim, my office remains open and we look forward to a busy schedule working on issues affecting this District and Nebraska.  I appreciate hearing from you and encourage you to contact my office at 402-471-2719 or

Sen. Bruce Bostelman

District 23
Room 1210
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2719
Search Senator Page:

You are currently browsing the District 23 News and Information blog archives for the year 2020.

Committee Assignments
    Committee On Committees
    Natural Resources
    Transportation and Telecommunications
    Rural Broadband Task Force
Search Current Bills
Search Laws
Live Video Streaming
View video streamView live streams of floor activity and public hearings

Streaming video provided by Nebraska Public Media

Find Your Senator