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Today, I had the opportunity to present LR203 with Governor Ricketts and Speaker Scheer to Adjutant General Bohac, representatives of NEMA and a representative of FEMA. LR203 recognizes and commends emergency managers, first responders, and all those who volunteered their time and effort to assist with rescue and recovery during the flooding that plagued Nebraska last March. I would again like to extend my deepest gratitude to all those who assisted with the rescue and recovery efforts resulting from the floods.
STATE OF NEBRASKA
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) March 25, 2019
State Response: How to Get Assistance
If you are located in a declared disaster area, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Most homeowners and renters, and all businesses (including landlords) and private nonprofit organizations are automatically referred to the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. FEMA may offer some grant assistance to households. SBA disaster assistance loan programs are committed to helping businesses and residents rebuild and recover as quickly as possible.
What Types of Disaster Loans are Available?
All Nebraska schools are back in session with the exception of North Bend Central Public Schools. North Bend Central has been functioning as a community center for response efforts for the affected area as it was least impacted by the flood waters. School officials hope to resume classes Wednesday.
o $400 Million – Livestock loss
Includes: death, loss, veterinary care, loss of performance, additional transportation costs as well as additional labor costs
o $440 Million – Crop loss
Includes: removal of sand/debris, inability to plant this year, loss of inventory
Numbers do not reflect loss of infrastructure.
o Current primary needs are hay, fencing, volunteers, and equipment.
Homeowners and renters in the nine counties (Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders, & Washington) approved for FEMA assistance by the President are eligible to apply for federal disaster assistance.
Additional counties may be added as assessments are completed and submitted to FEMA.
The following steps be taken to begin recovery:
o Register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov (this will be the quickest option).
o Register by phone using FEMA’s toll-free registration line by calling 800-621- 3362. If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585 or use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) to call 800-621-3362. Telephone registration is available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
FEMA Teams Canvassing Disaster-Designated Counties to Help Survivors
Some tips to safeguard against fraud:
affiliated with FEMA. Do not sign anything you do not understand, or sign any contracts with blank spaces.
NEMA Joint Information Center has established a hotline currently staffed
24-hours-a-day to connect those impacted with needed resources. When possible, the call center is staffed with Spanish speaking operators and mental health professionals.
The Heartland United Way 211 is a resource for information including shelter needs, cleanup, food, clothing, etc. If you cannot reach them by dialing 211, please call 866-813-1731.
On February 27th I had the pleasure of meeting with 4th graders from Bellwood Elementary and David City. These students spent the day touring our State’s Capitol and learning about the history of Nebraska, the three branches of state government and the legislative process. Civics education is an integral component of our democracy. It equips our youth with the tools and knowledge to stay active in government affairs and allows them to make influential changes to our society.
Today I was pleased to attend a luncheon hosted by Mentor Nebraska. Mentor Nebraska’s mission is to fuel the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships, strengthen collaboration, and advocate for mentoring. The major topic of the lunch was LB511, which was introduced by Senator Tom Brewer and Co-sponsored by myself and Senators Gragert, Linehan Halloran, and Murman. LB511 would allow state employees to request a work schedule adjustment of 1 hour per week to participate in youth mentoring programs. It is crucial that our youth have the mentors and support needed in order to equip them with the necessary tools and knowledge to be successful in their life. Dr. Tom Osborne was the keynote speaker for the event and he explained the importance of mentors and guidance in the development of our youth. Young adults and kids who participate in mentor programs are more likely to graduate high school or college. Dr. Osborne also explained the need for more youth mentors in our state.
Work on the Capitol HVAC project has begun and my office has moved up to the 8th Floor. To access my office visitors may take the North Elevators up to the 8th Floor. My staff offices are located on the North Side of the 8th Floor in Room 807. These are shared office spaces but signs will help direct you to my staff. You may still contact my office using the same phone number (402-471-2719) and email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have any questions or have trouble locating my new office please let my office know and we would be happy to assist you.
I enjoyed the opportunity to attend the 2018 Governor’s Arts Awards in La Vista this week on the evening of Tuesday, May 8th. The Governor’s Arts Award ceremony is an opportunity to celebrate Nebraska arts organizations, arts professionals, and the people and businesses that support the arts in Nebraska. Two of the honorees this year are from District 23. Anna Nolan and Allen Covault of David City. They received the Thomas C. Woods III Partner in the Arts Award for their support and work in the arts and the Bone Creek Museum. The awards highlighted the Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art which opened in 2008 and brought national attention to the art of David City native Dale Nichols and others. Anna and Allen formed the Nolan Covault Foundation to assure future growth and success of the museum’s mission to connect people to the land through art. I appreciated the opportunity to witness the well-deserved recognition of these District 23 constituents and others for their contribution to the arts.
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.
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