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Last week, the Legislature debated the Appropriation Committee’s budget amendments on general file. These proposed changes included funding for a variety of programs such as flood relief and mental health courts. Furthermore, these budget amendments retain the budget increase of three percent for this biennium.
One of the key changes to the budget was the inclusion of flood relief funds for the March, 2019 floods. The Legislature approved $55 million in order to match the FEMA Public Assistance flood claims resulting from President Trump’s disaster declaration. These funds are important for the continued recovery of Nebraska’s infrastructure and for future disaster mitigation.
In addition, the budget amendments also included $250,000 in grant funding for volunteer EMS services. Currently, our volunteer EMS services are facing funding and staffing issues across the state. This grant funding will help volunteer EMS services provide tuition assistance for initial and ongoing training for their paramedics and hopefully attract new volunteers.
Also included in the budget amendments was $637,788 to provide for a pilot program for problem solving courts for mental health. These courts are designed to be a type of intervention for defendants who will be treated for mental health instead of incarcerating them. This will help to alleviate overcrowded prison system.
With Coronavirus now here in Nebraska I would like to provide some useful websites where you can find a wealth of information on the virus. Johns Hopkins University has an interactive global map with the most current information detailing current cases and fatalities. This map allows you to narrow the search down by country and states. You can find this map at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html. Another valuable website is https://icap.nebraskamed.com/. This website provides valuable information on nearly all things concerning coronavirus in our state such as healthcare facilities, school information, and self-assessment tools.
Finally, registration is now open for the Unicameral Youth Legislature. The Youth Legislature is open for any high school students who have an interest in government, debate, and public policy and is a four day simulation in which the students will play the role as a state lawmaker. The students will be presented with bills from the previous legislative session and will then have the opportunity to conduct committee hearings and debate the legislation presented to them. They will also work with State Senators and Staff to better understand the workings of the Unicameral. For students wishing to apply, please visit nebraskalegislature.gov/uyl before the May 15th deadline. Also, those who do apply it is encouraged to apply for the Speaker Greg Adams Civic Scholarship Award which covers the full cost of admission.
I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or email@example.com.