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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: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/SNAP.aspx
I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or firstname.lastname@example.org.