NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Sen. Bruce Bostelman

Sen. Bruce Bostelman

District 23

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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

 

CONTACTS:

Taylor Gage, (402) 471-1970 Taylor.gage@nebraska.gov Alyssa Sanders, (402) 405-6137 Alyssa.sanders@nebraska.gov Mike Wight, (402) 471-7428

 

State Response: How to Get Assistance

 

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

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?

  • Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster- damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Working capital loans to help small businesses including: agricultural cooperatives, businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, nonprofit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
  • Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster- damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles.
  • SBA offers disaster assistance in the form of low-interest loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofits and homeowners and renters, as low as 2.063% for residents and 4% for businesses, to recover from damages not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries. SBA Loans not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
  • Residents and Business owners with questions about SBA’s disaster assistance can call (800) 659-2955 or go to www.sba.gov/disaster to apply online.

 

 Schools

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.

Agriculture (NDA)

  • Losses include (as of 3/25/19):

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.

  • If a farmer or rancher feels overwhelmed with stress, depression, or other mental health related issues they are urged to contact the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline at

800-464-0258.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

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:

  • Report your damage to your local emergency manager. This helps provide information about locations and extent of damage that can be used to assess additional recovery needs for your jurisdiction. A current list of local emergency managers can be found at http://nema.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/0bc3537ed2a145bba2ffbd37b54209ed
  • Call your insurance agent. There may be coverage for your losses under a traditional homeowner’s or renter’s policy or under a flood insurance policy.
  • Document your damage. Take photos or video. Make lists of damage items.
  • Register with FEMA. The process is free, take about 20 minutes:

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.

 

 

  • Be ready to register. When calling the FEMA number, be prepared to provide your current address, the address of the damaged property, contact information where FEMA can reach you, your social security number, the makeup of your household (occupants), insurance, and income information.
  • Register, even if you are insured. Your insurance may not cover everything, and some damage may not show up until later. Do not wait until you have settled with your insurer to register with FEMA.

 

FEMA Teams Canvassing Disaster-Designated Counties to Help Survivors

  • Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) team members can be identified by their federal photo identifications and FEMA clothing. Nebraska residents are reminded to ask for official photo identification before providing personal information. FEMA employees do not solicit or accept money from disaster survivors. FEMA will call to schedule a meeting before arriving at a residence.
  • Survivors who have already registered with FEMA can expect housing inspectors to inspect damage sustained by weather related events. When FEMA-contracted inspectors arrive at a home, they will display official photo identification. If the photo identification is not visible, it’s OK to ask to see it. This helps prevent fraud.
  • Many legitimate disaster assistance representatives also may visit your property such as insurance agents, damage inspectors, FEMA and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) staff.  Please ask to see all identification.
  • Again, federal workers do not solicit or accept money. FEMA staff never charge applicants for disaster assistance, inspections, or help with registration.

 

Some tips to safeguard against fraud:

  • Ask to see ID badges. All FEMA representatives wear a federal photo ID badge. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not absolute proof of identity. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with anyone you encounter, please contact local law enforcement.
  • Beware of people going door-to-door. People knocking on doors at damaged homes or phoning homeowners claiming to be building contractors could be con artists, especially if they ask for personal information or solicit money. Be sure to verify ID badges of disaster assistance staff who may visit your home.
  • FEMA does not have “approved” contractors. Beware of contractors who say they are

affiliated with FEMA. Do not sign anything you do not understand, or sign any contracts with blank spaces.

  • If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at

866-720-5721.

  • Always use licensed and bonded contractors and ask for credentials.  Never pay for anything in advance of work being done.

 

NEMA

  • The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) continues to address needs and direct resources across the State.
  • The NEMA website – www.nema.nebraska.gov – is a good resource for current conditions, photos and video, and information on what to do after returning home.

 

  • NEMA Call Center 402-817-1551

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.

Nebraska 211

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.

 

Nebraska Strong

  • Those who are looking for a one-stop option for donations can go to the #NebraskaStrong website: www.nebraska.gov/nebraska-strong . A variety of nonprofit relief agencies are available for donations.
  • Visitors to the NebraskaStrong website can also list specific resource needs, and those with resources to donate can connect with those in need.

###

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.

A Word from the 23rd
February 14th, 2019

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.

Our Office Has Moved!
August 15th, 2018

Office Update:

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 (bbostelman@leg.ne.gov). 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.

Victorian Festival Parade
June 1st, 2018

This last weekend I participated in the Victorian Festival Parade in Superior, NE, where I am from.

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.

Senator and Ruth Nichols

Senator and Gabrielle Comte (center) and Ruth Nichols (left)

Senator with Anna Nolan (right) and Allen Covault (center) at the Governor’s Arts Awards

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.

Sen. Bruce Bostelman

District 23
Room #8th Floor
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2719
Email: bbostelman@leg.ne.gov
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