NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Mark Kolterman

Sen. Mark Kolterman

District 24

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 mkolterman@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 8th, 2020

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 24th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Mark Kolterman

Weekly Column – August 14th
August 14th, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, we did it.  This year has been unlike anything we have ever faced as a legislative body due to the uncertainty our state faced as COVID ravaged the country and widespread protests calling for criminal justice reform spread across the country.

But the Legislature took action.  After halting the legislative session on March 12, we came back in session to pass emergency appropriations to provide funding to the State to combat COVID-19.

This emergency funding provided much needed assistance for our local communities.  This money was used to purchase needed personal protective equipment and allowed our local public health departments to increase staffing, expand call center operations, and allowed for the purchase of laptops to document the spread of the disease.  Additional funding was used to pay for equipment and systems at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, allowing the University to purchase more testing equipment, increase their lab personnel, and other equipment as needed.

In response to the call for criminal justice reform, Senator Steve Lathrop and the rest of the Judiciary Committee held two listening forums in early June in both Omaha and Lincoln.  It was a challenge for the Committee to conduct such important sessions during a pandemic, but they conducted these sessions in a safe way.  Between the two sessions, the Judiciary Committee heard stories from nearly two hundred people explaining that we, as a Legislature, need to examine what is working in our communities and what can be improved upon.

Even with these unforeseen issues, the Legislature was still able to achieve our major goals this session: the renewal of our State’s business incentives program, significant property tax relief, and legislation that supports the Nebraska Transformational Project, a project that would allow for a significant expansion to the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine through a partnership of the federal government, the State of Nebraska, and private partners.

Achieving these three goals in an abbreviated timeframe after we reconvened in late July was a daunting task.  I want to thank all of my colleagues who worked as a team nonstop over the last couple of weeks to come to a bipartisan agreement that a vast majority of the Legislature is able to support.  LB 1107, a bill that combines the ImagiNE Nebraska Act, the Nebraska Transformational Project Act, and significant property tax, passed Final Reading on a vote of 41-4-4 and was signed into law on August 13.

The past two years have been a whirlwind fighting for these major programs that will benefit the entire State of Nebraska, but I am honored to have been at the table fighting for our community.  As the 106th Legislature, 2nd session wraps up, I hope I have made you proud.  I look forward to serving you for two more years before I will retire.  Even though I am two years away from being term-limited, I promise I will not stop fighting for my district to enact laws and policies that are equitable, fair and just.

As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is mkolterman@leg.ne.gov, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Tyler and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.

The Clerk’s Office of the Nebraska Legislature is Now Accepting Applications for Legislative Page Positions

The application process for selecting pages for the 2021 Legislative Session is now underway in the Clerk’s Office at the Nebraska Legislature. Legislative pages are local college students employed by the Legislature to respond to senators’ requests for assistance on the Legislative Floor, answer incoming calls to the Legislative Chamber, and possibly assist in committee hearings.

The deadline for submitting an application is Fri., October 2nd at 5:00 pm. A letter of recommendation from your state senator is encouraged. College students from District 24 requesting a letter of recommendation from Senator Kolterman should contact his office at (402) 471-2756 or mkolterman@leg.ne.gov.

Applications are available at the link below (PDF) or from the Clerk of the Legislature’s Office, Room 2018, State Capitol, 1445 K Street. For further information on the application process, please contact the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature at (402) 471-2271.

 

2021 Nebraska Legislature Page Application

Small Business Resources
March 30th, 2020

Our Legislative Research Office staff compiled a list of state resources for small businesses that I wanted to make available.

“Small businesses across Nebraska will be impacted in countless ways by the coronavirus global pandemic. Work is being done on many levels to provide relief to Nebraska businesses. The Nebraska Legislature is working with the banking industry, credit unions, local and state chambers of commerce, and others to connect you and your business with relief that is available.”

Small Business Resources

 

Senator Bolz’s office also put together a document with frequently asked questions about Covid-19 state government services.

Covid-19 and State Government Services: Questions and Answers for Nebraskans

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at mkolterman@leg.ne.gov. You are also welcome to call my office at 402-471-2756.  

Weekly Column – March 27th
March 30th, 2020

As you may have heard, the Nebraska Legislature has recessed for the foreseeable future, due to the global Coronavirus outbreak.  With a majority of members in the body being in the high risk category, Speaker Scheer and Executive Board Chairman Hilgers believe it to be in the best interest to distance ourselves to prevent possible spread.  

 After we recessed, it was determined we needed to resume the session momentarily to pass an emergency appropriations bill in response to the pandemic.  On Monday, a vast majority of members came together to adopt a proposed amendment that would appropriate close to $84 million dollars of state funds to assist with response efforts.  This legislation unanimously passed the final round of debate on Wednesday and was immediately signed into law by the Governor.   

As of today, we have appropriated $38,156,700 dollars to local response efforts which provides additional funding to local jurisdictions to allow them to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies, and to support the local health departments for staffing, PPE, call centers, IT needs, and other expenditures.

$4,004,000 has been appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health to cover costs for overtime and additional staff.  The areas this touches are providing for sustained staffing for epidemiologists, support services, and interpreters to meet the higher demand. An additional $13,000,000 million dollars is being appropriated to cover additional staffing needs at our Veterans Hospitals and other DHHS care facilities.

We have decided to appropriate $3,458,900 dollars to the University of Nebraska Medical Center to provide for additional lab testing, laboratory personnel, and equipment to provide testing for the state.  Included in this appropriation is $100,000 to purchase UV lights that will be used to disinfect personal protective equipment that was once considered “single-use”, thus allowing for less demand on the supply chain. The university will also be creating a Knowledge Center system which will be used by coalitions and stakeholders across the state to create a platform for communications, bed tracking, and resource sharing that will be used across the state.

Finally, we have created an additional reserve of $25,000,000 million dollars of unobligated funds if any additional funding is needed.  If not utilized, this money will return to the rainy day fund.

Given this is an ever changing pandemic, we don’t know when the Legislature will reconvene to conduct normal business.  You can help us achieve this by slowing, and ultimately, ending the spread by practicing precautionary measures such as washing your hands, practicing social distancing, and staying home when you are sick.  While there are no known cases in Legislative District 24, we all must remain vigilant because it only takes one person to spread a case in a community.  

As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is mkolterman@leg.ne.gov, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Tyler and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature. 

The Business and Labor Committee collected information on the Department of Labor’s response to the current Covid-19 situation. I want to thank Senator Matt Hansen and his office for sharing this information. 
 

 
Office of Senator Matt Hansen
Chair, Business and Labor Committee
 
There are a lot of questions about those unable to work during the current crisis. First I want to thank the Nebraska Department of Labor and the Governor for their quick response to the pandemic. Below are resources available for those unable to work or working reduced hours during:

 

Short-Time Compensation
​​https://dol.nebraska.gov/stc
● Employers can apply for this program.
● For those still working but limited hours during the pandemic period.
● The Short-Time Compensation program allows employers to uniformly reduce affected​ employees’ hours by 10 to 60 percent while permitting the employees to receive a prorated​ unemployment benefit.

 

Unemployment Insurance
https://dol.nebraska.gov/uibenefits
● For those who are not able to work and not receiving a paycheck during the pandemic period. (If​ you are working from home or using sick or vacation leave then this does not apply to you)
● Under the executive order signed by Governor Ricketts starting March 22 through May 2 the​ following will be in place for unemployment insurance:
○ The waiting week for benefits has been waived
■ Benefits will begin immediately and not with the usual first week unpaid.
○ The work search requirements will be waived
■ Individuals will not have to apply to jobs in order to receive benefits. It will be assumed that they will be able to return to their jobs after the crisis is over.
○ Benefits will not be charged against individual employers accounts.
■ Money will be paid out of the general trust fund as the job losses are not the fault​ of individual employers.
■ Nebraska’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is well funded and is expected​ to handle the increased number of applications.
 
Other Important Considerations
● Please remind your constituents that there are expected to be long wait times when calling the​ Department of Labor. This is due both to the increased demand and the Department is also​ dealing with the same issues as all employers. If they cannot get through it is best to leave a call​ back number and they will be called back.
● Currently these programs do not apply to contractors or self employed individuals as they do not​ participate in the unemployment system. There may be coming Federal action to help these​ individuals. Please contact your Federal representatives.
● As we are aware the situation is changing rapidly. The Department and the Governor with his​ emergency powers can respond quickly as needed. We have been in close contact with the​ Department of Labor and will keep you updated.
Weekly Column – March 13th
March 13th, 2020

In this week’s column, I would like to share important information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  This is a major public health issue that is affecting every corner of the globe.

As you may know, COVID-19 is spread primarily by respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes from someone who is afflicted by the disease.  While it may be possible to become infected by touching a surface or object contaminated with the virus, this is not the primary source of transmission.  Therefore, it is imperative that if you are feeling ill, stay home.

As of March 10, there were more than 700 confirmed cases in the United States and in just two days, that number almost doubled to 1,323 confirmed cases, with 10 confirmed cases in Nebraska.  COVID-19 has symptoms of a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing that will show 2 to 14 days after exposure. It is all but certain the number of confirmed cases will spike at an alarming rate, given that people who have been exposed may not be showing any symptoms yet.  According to Nancy Messonnier of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an untold amount of people in the United States will be exposed to the virus in the coming months.

At least 80% of the cases globally have been mild, but if the death rate continues to hover around two percent, that could lead to tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths in the United States alone.  It is important that everybody reading this column take proactive steps for slowing the spread of the disease. Measures being adopted today such as the closing of schools, the cancelling of mass gatherings, self-quarantining, and avoiding crowds is designed to help alleviate this concern.  People will continue to get sick, but at a slower rate as to not overwhelm our medical system.

The two most vulnerable populations at risk for COVID-19 are those who are over age 60 and/or those with chronic medical conditions.  Even if you are young and healthy, it is important to remain diligent and to follow social distancing measures to avoid spreading the disease to others.   While most healthy individuals who become infected will only have mild symptoms, they can spread it to those at risk who can become very sick, very easily.

Thanks to coordination with our excellent professionals at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who specialize in infectious diseases, Nebraska is one of the most prepared states for this outbreak.  Our state government is working closely with experts and are listening to their guidance, but that can only do so much. Your help is needed as well. My call to action is for you to take the appropriate steps to help mitigate this outbreak – wash your hands frequently, sneeze into your elbow, consider avoiding events with large crowds, and stay home if you’re feeling ill.  Things will continue to get worse before they get better, but we all can make sure this outbreak doesn’t get as bad as it could.

If you would like more information on COVID-19, more information can be found at www.unmc.edu/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov or call Four Corners Health Department at 402-362-2621 or the United Way Resource Hotline at 211 or 402-444-6666.

As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is mkolterman@leg.ne.gov, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Tyler and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.

Weekly Column – March 6th
March 6th, 2020

In this weeks column, I would like to discuss a couple of bills that are advancing through the legislative process which will make positive changes for Nebraskansthat I am proud to support: LB 43 – Adopt the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights Act, introduced by Senator Bolz and LB 997 – Adopt the Out-of-Network Emergency Medical Care Act which was introduced by Senator Morfeld.

LB 43 provides for victims of sexual assault certain rights related to physical examinations, interviews, and/or depositions arising out of the assault.  Those who are victims of sexual assault would have the right to have an advocate of their choosing during a physical examination and have the right to a free forensic medical examination regardless of whether or not charges are pressed.  For those victims between three years of age and eighteen years of age, they would have a right to a forensic interview at established child advocacy centers by professionals who are specifically trained to handle these cases.

If a victim arrives at a hospital and reports they have been sexually assaulted, the health care provider will notify the most appropriate law enforcement agency of the assault and shall submit the related evidence of the assault to law enforcement Law enforcement shall then retain the evidence for a time longer than the statute of limitations.  The victim would then have access to any reports regarding the sexual assault, including results of analysis of the evidence and whether or not the evidence matches anybody in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Combined DNA Index System.

LB 43 advanced from General File on March 5 on a vote of 41 to 0, with 8 not voting.

LB 997 allows for consumers to avoid “surprise billing” in emergency situations by out-of-network providers or facilities.  During a vast majority of emergency medical situations, an individual does not have the ability to check whether or not all of the medical professionals that will be treating them are in-network.  The Kaiser Foundation published a report in December, 2019, that heart-attack victims have a 50% risk of higher out-of-network charges than other diagnoses.  This is because while the facility or the initial emergency room doctor is in network, the cardiologist on duty may not be in-network.  When more medical professionals are added to the treatment of the condition, the risk for out-of-network charges increases.

LB 997 seeks to remedy this issue by providing that if a covered person receives emergency services at any health care facility, the facility or provider shall not bill the individual at a rate in excess of any deductible, copayment, or coinsurance amount applicable to the in-network services pursuant to the individual’s health plan.  During an emergency, the only thing a person cares about should be getting timely treatment, not if a provider is in-network or out-of-network.  Therefore, I was proud to support LB 997 on all stages of debate.  LB 997 advanced from Select File to Final Reading on March 6.

As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is mkolterman@leg.ne.gov, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Tyler and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.

by Fred Knapp, NET News, February 26, 2020 – 6:17pm

It could be easier for first responders to get help with post-traumatic stress disorder. And it could be harder for livestock diseases to spread in Nebraska, under bills advanced by the Legislature Wednesday.


The first responders’ post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD bill aims to help police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and frontline workers in prisons and social services who deal with horrific events.

Sen. Mark Kolterman of Seward, who served as an EMT for that community and Utica, talked about some things he’s seen.

“Until you’ve had the opportunity to go on a fire call or rescue call and watch a colleague or a friend burn up in a fire, or do triage on a family of six and lose five of the six and place kids in a closet because they’re not going to survive during the triage, you can’t understand what these firemen and parameds (paramedics) and people go through,” Kolterman said.

Currently, it’s up to a first responder to show their mental injury comes from something extraordinary that happened on the job. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Tom Brewer, would change that to presume for purposes of workers compensation coverage the injury comes from the job, if certain conditions are met. Brewer said mental injuries can be hard to detect.

Using himself, an Army veteran wounded multiple times in Afghanistan, as an example, Brewer said he didn’t come to terms with his injuries until he was literally forced to see a speech therapist and psychologist.

“They were able to kind of slow walk me through issues, challenges, problems and reveal what the true issues were, and that you had to come to deal with these problems or else they would haunt you the rest of your life,” Brewer said.

To qualify for the presumption, instead of having to prove the cause of their injuries, first responders would have to show their mental condition didn’t show up when they were screened for employment. They would have to have evidence from a mental health professional. And they would have to have participated in something called “resilience training,” to teach them how to deal with trauma.

Sen. Mike McDonnell, formerly a firefighter and Omaha fire chief, said that training is crucial.

“On an annual basis, you’re going to go through this training. And we’re going to make sure your injury, that mental injury — as important as any other injury — we’re going to try to prevent it. If it happens, we’re going to treat it and we’re going to help you deal with it. So you don’t deal with it yourself in other ways, and you can continue to serve and do the job that you love,” McDonnell said.

McDonnell said taking the training would be voluntary, but the expected cost of it was the major initial cost of the bill, estimated at $442,000 a year. Senators voted 42-0 first round approval of the bill.

While it was being debated, Sen. Kate Bolz took time to pay tribute to someone in the kind of situation it could cover. She talked about Santino Akot, a prison caseworker who, the Lincoln Journal Star reported, was attacked Saturday by a state penitentiary inmate and is in critical condition. Bolz referred to Akot’s background as a young man driven from his home in Africa by civil war in the 1980s.

“Not only is he a Department of Correctional Services officer, he is also an immigrant from Sudan and was one of the ‘Lost Boys,’” Bolz said. “He is a caregiver for his family and is a breadwinner for his family. And he is someone who I appreciate fully and want to commend for his hard work and his service at the Department of Correctional Services.”

Bolz added that lawmakers are still trying to address dangerous conditions in Nebraska’s prisons.

“We continue as this legislative body to look for solutions to staffing and overcrowding issues. And we do keep Mr. Acot in our thoughts and prayers,” she said.

 

On another subject, senators gave first-round approval to updating laws designed to protect the health of livestock in Nebraska.

Sen. Steve Halloran, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, said the bill, LB344, and an amendment are important to prevent the kind of economic damage that’s happened elsewhere in the world.

“One quarter of the world’s pigs died in one year in China due to the African swine fever. We need to avoid the weaknesses demonstrated by China in that country’s lack of animal disease prevention and control. LB344 as amended with AM2486 will help Nebraska avoid an economic hit, as was experienced by China,” Halloran said.

The proposal would, among other things, augment existing criminal laws by giving the state Department of Agriculture power to levy administrative fines on producers for bringing livestock into the state, if the state veterinarian has declared an embargo on them. It got first-round approval on a vote of 30-0.

Weekly Column – February 28th
February 28th, 2020

As most of you know, one of the unique characteristics of the Nebraska Legislature is that every bill introduced by a senator receives a public hearing. On Thursday, February 27th, we concluded committee hearings for the 482 legislative bills and 16 legislative resolutions introduced this year. The legislature began full day debate on bills on Tuesday, March 3rd. With 27 days remaining in this short legislative session, we still have a lot of important legislation to tackle, including rebalancing the two-year biennial budget.

We have also reached the deadline for designating priority bills. As many of you know, the Rules of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature allow each senator to designate one bill each year as their priority bill. Senators may prioritize a bill they introduced or legislation introduced by another Member or Committee. In addition to individual Senator priority bills, each standing Committee may prioritize two bills that it advances. The Speaker of the Legislature is permitted to prioritize 25 bills.

Prioritized bills that have been advanced out of a committee will be heard by the Legislature before the bills that have not been prioritized. During this short 60-day session, it is unlikely that a bill advanced out of a committee will make it to floor debate without being prioritized. With 49 Senator priority bills, 31 Committee priority bills, and 25 Speaker Priority Bills, we are looking at the possibility of 105 total prioritized bills. Since we have already debated a handful of prioritized bills, the remaining bills will be debated over the course of the next 27 legislative days.

One of the bills that has received a speaker priority is a bill I introduced, LB 760 which would require health carriers to provide coverage for asynchronous review by a dermatologist by way of telehealth.   LB 760 ensures that Nebraskans, regardless of where they live, have the ability to access quality healthcare via telemedicine by a dermatologist, if the service is provided by asynchronous review, otherwise known as store-and-forward.

For example, if you were a patient in Gothenburg, and you visit your family physician who notices a suspicious area of skin on your forehead, that physician can take a photo and submit it to a dermatologist whose specialized knowledge allows them to assess, diagnose and treat the suspicious area. What was found, however, is that if the photo is sent to a dermatologist who is not participating in the live conversation, that service is not being covered by all insurers.

LB 760 advanced from the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee on February 11 on a vote of 7 ayes and 1 nay.  While there was one dissenting voice in advancing the bill from Committee, as technology expands access to quality care, it is vital that payment systems keep up in a changing world. With a growing trend in skin cancer occurrences in this state, it is imperative that we ensure Nebraskans, no matter where they live, the ability to access quality healthcare via telemedicine, even if the consulting dermatologist is not able to attend the live visit.

As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is mkolterman@leg.ne.gov, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Tyler and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman for Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.

While a band of rural senators is working to tightly tie the fate of a new business investment tax credit program to efforts to gain substantial property tax relief, Sen. Mark Kolterman has moved to put a little distance between those two major legislative proposals.

In the end, he suggests, there will be additional property tax relief and a modernized business investment program, plus a legislative funding commitment to a blockbuster new project at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Kolterman, the quiet-spoken and collegial senator from Seward, is the sponsor of the latter two big-ticket proposals and will be a key legislative figure in the days that lie ahead.

While he says he has reached agreement with Revenue Committee Chairwoman Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn that a series of substantial amendments to the business incentives bill already agreed to by the committee will not move to the floor of the Legislature until senators reach a property tax relief decision, Linehan notes that the proposals will begin to move in tandem at second-stage floor consideration. ​​

That depends on whether the committee’s property tax relief and school aid reform package (LB974) clears first-stage floor debate. It currently is on hold while Linehan attempts to negotiate concerns raised largely by big-city school districts.

If those concerns are addressed, Linehan will then need to convince Speaker Jim Scheer of Norfolk that she can garner the 33 votes required to eventually disarm a filibuster in order to at least proceed with the bill.

Linehan believes she can do that.

The business incentives bill (LB720) sits at second-stage floor consideration, where it was blocked in the final days of the 2019 legislative session by rural senators seeking action on substantial property tax relief.

Joining this cluster of major decisions is the blockbuster $2.6 billion proposal (LB1084) to build a new center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center that would respond to national health threats and crises, Kolterman said.

That plan includes a $300 million state funding commitment and the promise of at least $300 million in private donor support.

Thirty-two senators have co-signed onto that bill now, Kolterman noted.

“It will be merged into LB720, and it will pass this session,” he said. “Our commitment will be there.

“Everyone knows we have to have some sort of business tax incentives plan,” Kolterman suggested.

And in the end, he said, “we’ll have property tax relief” along with the new business tax incentives plan and the bold state commitment to help fund the UNMC plan.

The state’s current business tax incentives program expires at the end of the year.

“The new Imagine Nebraska Act is so much better,” Kolterman said. “And we’re ready to go.”

The original proposal will be broadened to include provisions to “help us grow rural Nebraska,” he said. Those changes resulted from negotiations with rural senators and rural manufacturers.

As the Legislature grapples with the challenge of property tax reduction now, Kolterman said, “we’ll wait our turn.”

The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry chose Kolterman to shepherd the new tax incentives bill, and University of Nebraska Medical Center Chancellor Jeffrey Gold asked him to lead the way on its groundbreaking project.

“I’m a little nervous,” Kolterman admitted, “and somewhat humbled that they chose me.

“When I came to Lincoln, it was not because of issues,” he said.

“I came down to be a representative of the 24th District, and I have tried to build relationships (with) individual senators and the lobby” in order to be effective, he said.

“I am willing to listen to both sides,” he said. “I try to get along with everybody.

“And I don’t like to lose,” he added.

Perhaps the most visible example of Kolterman’s positive chemistry with fellow senators is the challenging and kidding exchanges he sometimes has with Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha during floor debate as they prod one another from opposite sides of the legislative chamber.

“He and I have a great relationship,” Kolterman said. “I sat by him for the first two years. I asked to do that. I wanted to learn.

“The longer you are here,” he said, “the more you learn.”

When Chamber of Commerce President Bryan Slone told Kolterman that he might ask him to carry the business incentives package through the legislative process, Kolterman said he told him: “I’ll think about that. I’m not real good on the mic. But I can get it done.

“I said OK just before the (2019) legislative session started. And it’s been a lot of fun. It’s a work in progress.”

Gold came to him, he said, because he had developed “a really strong relationship” with the chancellor and with the Medical Center during Kolterman’s wife’s 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Suzanne Kolterman died in November 2017.

“We’ve got to get this done,” Kolterman said.

https://journalstar.com/legislature/sen-mark-kolterman-at-the-center-of-big-legislative-proposals/article_c86ab8e1-0cbb-5a95-8879-23330ab7c14b.html

Sen. Mark Kolterman

District 24
Room #2004
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2756
Email: mkolterman@leg.ne.gov
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