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

 

The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee heard testimony Feb. 20 on two bills that would change state contracting rules.

Brewer said the proposal would prohibit the state or any political subdivision from giving preference to union or non-union contractors when it accepts bids for contracts. He said he was unaware of any situation in which the state had done so.Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon introduced LB151, which would adopt the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act. Under the bill, a request for bids could not require or prohibit contractors or subcontractors from entering into or adhering to a collective bargaining agreement.

“We just want to make sure the state isn’t playing favorites,” Brewer said.

David Chapin, chairperson of Associated Builders and Contractors, testified in favor of the bill. He said LB151 could prevent the state from entering into a project labor agreement—a collective bargaining agreement that details the terms of the contract before bidding begins. Such agreements drive up costs, he said.

“It’s a free-market issue,” Chapin said.

Electrical contractor Jay Buchanan also testified in favor of LB151. He said project labor agreements discriminate against the majority of workers who are non-union.

“It spits in the face of fair and open competition,” Buchanan said, adding that 24 states have outlawed project labor agreements.

Felicia Hilton of the North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters spoke against the bill. She said project labor agreements generally are used for large construction projects, like a football stadium, and are a valuable tool for states and municipalities.

“There’s nothing in state law that encourages or discourages use of these type of agreements, and it should stay that way,” Hilton said. “It makes no sense to ban the state from using this tool.”

Also testifying against the bill was Susan Martin of the Nebraska State AFL-CIO. Project labor agreements provide clear boundaries and expectations for a project, Martin said, leading to higher productivity and better pay for workers.

“The use of PLAs does not restrict competition by shutting out non-union contractors,” Martin said. “PLAs simply create a level playing field for all contractors by standardizing labor conditions on a project.”

The committee also considered LB21 introduced by Seward Sen. Mark Kolterman. The bill would allow a company to formally protest if it failed to secure a state contact that exceeds $5 million. The state Department of Administrative Services would create a protest procedure that would include a hearing within 60 days of a formal protest being filed.

“By not allowing judicial review, it puts Nebraska at a disadvantage,” Kolterman said.Kolterman said the current appeal process is flawed, causing contractors to refuse to do business in the state.

Attorney Tom Kenny spoke in favor of LB21. It would fill in gaps in Nebraska’s bidding process, he said, and safeguard taxpayer money.

“We have large contractors come to us and say ‘what do you mean you don’t have a protest process?’ ” Kenny said. “That differs from other states, significantly.”

Also testifying in favor of LB21 was Kerry Winterer, former CEO of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Currently, he said, appeals are decided solely by the state Department of Administrative Services. As a result, in the past appeals often led to lawsuits, he said, causing the agency to delay a project while litigation worked its way through the courts.

“[Under LB21] litigation may well decline in the future as court precedents are set,” Winterer said.

Bo Botelho, interim CEO of DHHS, testified against the bill. He said the current appeal process takes three to six weeks, and allows a contractor to submit evidence and cross examine witnesses, “just like a court.”

Botelho added that LB21 would increase the likelihood of litigation and delay projects.

The committee took no immediate action on either bill.

Bills seek changes in state contracting

February 15th – Weekly Column

February 15th, 2019

It may seem odd that one would have to mandate the prioritization of patient safety in the state, but that’s exactly what I proposed in 2018 and is what I reintroduced this year through LB25.

As background on the issue, the federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (Patient Safety Act) authorized the creation of Patient Safety Organizations (PSOs) to improve the quality and safety of U.S. health care delivery. The Patient Safety Act encouraged clinicians and health care organizations to voluntarily report and share quality and patient safety information without fear of legal discovery.

Following the implementation of the Patient Safety Act, the Nebraska Legislature passed the Patient Safety Improvement Act in 2005 which protected reported events from discovery and required the establishment of a private, nonprofit PSO to receive those events as patient safety work product. Since Nebraska’s Act allocated zero dollars for funding the PSO, the Nebraska Hospital Association, Nebraska Medical Association, Nebraska Academy of Physician Assistants, Nebraska Pharmacists Association and the Nebraska Nurses Association took the initiative to create Nebraska’s PSO: The Nebraska Coalition for Patient Safety (NCPS).  The mission of NCPS is to increase the likelihood that all people who seek health care in Nebraska are not harmed by the care that is intended to help them.

The NCPS collects data supplied voluntarily from participating hospitals who pay to be members of NCPS. The collected information is disseminated quarterly back to the hospitals. Health care professionals who directly benefit from this information such as physicians, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, and others never see this report as they are not members of the NCPS. Safety issues addressed in the report could include medications errors, falls, sepsis, failure or delayed response, unsafe injections, and retained foreign objects. These are errors we can, and must learn from.

Prior to the 2018 legislative session, The Nebraska Medical Association (NMA) went to the board of the NCPS and asked how the NCPS can be properly funded in order to better collect and disseminate this information. To generate these funds, the NMA brought a legislative proposal to me which called for a $10 per year increase in licensure for physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and nurses to fund the Coalition. I introduced LB 1127 last year because I agreed that a nominal fee of $10 per year in the name of improving patient safety was well worth the investment.

During the hearing last year, I laid out the case for the additional funding needed for the NCPS.  We heard testimony from patient advocacy organizations, the NCPS Board President, physicians, physician assistants, and Nebraska Hospital Association representatives. Despite the oppositions’ testimony that $10 a year is too high an increase of fees, the bill advanced out of committee. Unfortunately, due to the short session and time constraints, we were unable to pass the legislation.

I support patient safety wholeheartedly, as do the members of the NMA, and this session I introduced LB25 to fund the NCPS. This time, the physicians agreed to show their support by increasing their licensure fees by $25 per year ($50 biennially), and the physician assistants agreed to the originally proposed $10 per year ($20 biennially) amount.

The bill was voted unanimously out of the Health and Human Services Committee and advanced on General File 33-0. When we have groups who are willing to step up to the plate and volunteer to contribute more of their hard earned dollars, I don’t know how anyone can oppose the effort to further excellent health care and patient safety. Like I said, it may seem odd that we need to mandate the importance of patient safety, but I believe this is an important effort and one I was happy to be a part of.

Last weekend I was also honored to attend the Seward Volunteer Fire Department annual dinner.  Having served as a volunteer fireman for many years, as well as an EMT, I always enjoy gathering with volunteers from fire departments from across the district.

I am happy to support LB 222, which was introduced by State Senator Joni Albrecht.  This legislation provides clarifications to the Volunteer Emergency Responders Incentive Act that was created in 2016.  Under this act and this legislation, once adopted, members of volunteer fire departments can receive a $250 refundable tax credit if they meet certain criteria.  Having volunteer fire departments in Nebraska is such an incredibly important part of our communities and I very much appreciate everything they do for us.

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 – February 8th

February 8th, 2019

In the last two columns, I’ve highlighted two of my legislative proposals for this session, LB 205 – Adopt the Surgical Technologist Registration Act and LB 720 – Adopt the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.  This week, I’d like to introduce you to another important piece of legislation that I have introduced that seeks to increase greater access to medical care, LB 29, an expansion of Nebraska’s telehealth statutes.

Last year I introduced LB 701, a bill that would allow physicians and physician assistants to establish a patient-provider relationship via telehealth.  This year, after working with the Nebraska Hospital Association, I introduced legislation to allow for other health care professions to establish those same relationships through telehealth.  Through LB 29, I have sought to expand permissions for athletic trainers, clinical nurse practitioners, mental health practitioners, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physical therapists, psychologists, and others.

Telehealth services are growing rapidly in the United States and can provide access to care for individuals who live far away from health care services, and can also provide access for those who are unable to seek care outside of their home or a local healthcare center.  Providers may also be able to handle larger patient volumes more efficiently by using telehealth due to decreased time for traveling and other tasks involved in a face to face visit which also has a positive impact on the cost of care.

The hearing on LB 29 was held in the Health and Human Services Committee on February 6.  Following my introduction, the committee heard from ten testifiers from the affected industries who all spoke in support of the legislation.  We heard testimony from the Nebraska State Athletic Trainers Association, Children’s Hospital, the Nebraska Nurse Practitioners, the Nebraska Hospital Association, the Arc of Nebraska, the Nebraska Pharmacists Association, and the Nebraska State Board of Athletic Trainers, all of whom agreed that by enacting this legislation, health care providers would be able to provide greater access to health care for the citizens of Nebraska. To highlight how telehealth provides greater health care access, Children’s Hospital stated that in 2018 alone, their practitioners conducted approximately 1,800 telehealth visits.

I look forward to working further with the members of the Health and Human Services Committee to advance this important piece of legislation to the floor of the Legislature to allow the Legislature to adopt this proposal into law.

I’d also like to bring your attention to an exciting event being hosted by the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and other local partners.  On April 5 and 6, the program will be presenting the Heartland Shark Tank, which will have a number events included and is being highlighted as an Open Casting Call for ABC’s Shark Tank.  You may find additional information and a more details of the events during the program at www.heartlandsharktank.com.

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 – February 1st

February 1st, 2019

In last week’s column, I highlighted one of my priority bills for this upcoming session, LB 205 – Adopt the Surgical Technologist Registration Act.  Today, I want to bring your attention to another major priority of mine and of my colleagues.  As you may know, the Nebraska Advantage Act, the State’s largest economic incentive program, is set to expire in 2020.  If we allow the Nebraska Advantage Act to expire without a replacement, Nebraska will be the only state in the nation without a comprehensive economic development package to create higher paying jobs and to provide for more investment from companies within and outside of the state.

Before the legislative session began, representatives from the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce approached me to introduce what would become LB 720 – Adopt the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.  I happily accepted the opportunity to carry this critical piece of legislation.

LB 720 will increase the value of the incentive program to the Nebraska tax payer through better investments, better jobs, more robust reporting and more overall transparency.  LB 720 will accelerate the value of the tax credit by simplifying the process, will increase the competitiveness of the program by increasing the Net Present Value of tax credits, thus helping Nebraska to win more projects and other opportunities for our state.  LB 720 will allow the State to build stronger relationships with businesses in order to encourage greater levels of investment and will allow the Department of Economic Development to better understand the needs of businesses and the evolution of business thinking in real time.

LB 720 is a critical piece of legislation.  I am very passionate in finding ways to lower Nebraska’s already high tax burden.  If we cannot provide a competitive package to attract businesses to invest or to even relocate to Nebraska, there will be no money available for any type of tax relief and there will be less money for education.  If we, as a state, do not provide business incentives I believe we will hurt the opportunities of our children and our grandchildren.  Due to the national and global competition for talent and well-paying jobs, hard times will fall upon this state if we do not find ways to grow our population and diversify the State’s economy.

While I introduced the legislation, I am not alone in this effort.  I am honored that 22 of my colleagues from all corners of the state and of all political persuasions have cosponsored LB 720 to ensure our state’s economic future in this ever changing global environment.  Having incentives to help grow our tax base is critical for our children’s future, for tax relief, and for job opportunities down the road.

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: January 25th

January 25th, 2019

As the first week of legislative committee hearings draw to an end, I’d like to highlight one of the bills I introduced in front of the Health and Human Services Committee.  On Wednesday, January 23, I had the pleasure of introducing LB 205 – Adopt the Surgical Technologist Registration Act.

For background, surgical technologists are a critical part of every surgical team and are trained in setting up sterile environments and the preparing of the equipment and surgical instruments.  During surgery, a surgical technologist takes direction from the surgeon on handling instruments, holding retractors and suctioning wounds.  While the surgical techs are an integral part of every single surgery, they are the only member of the surgical team not required to prove minimum competency standards, something I find unsettling.

I believe there is a significant need for surgical technologists to be regulated by the state for the safety of our citizens, which has been recommended twice by the state Department of Health and Human Services.  LB 205 establishes a first time registry under the Board of Medicine and Surgery for surgical technologists and provides for competency and education standards.

If a surgical technologist graduates from an accredited program, all they need to do to register is to show their documentation and pay a nominal fee.  LB 205 also allows for on the job training so individuals who do not have a college degree can become a surgical technologist as long as the individual is certified after successfully completing a competency assessment completed by a licensed health care professional.

LB 205 has been brought to the Health and Human Services after about six years of discussions, negotiations, and compromises between many stakeholders, including physicians, hospitals, and the Department of Health and Human Services.  LB 205 has the support of the Nebraska State Assembly of the Association of Surgical Technologists, the national Association of Surgical Technologists, the Nebraska Hospital Association, and the Nebraska Medical Association.

I look forward to continue working with the Health and Human Services Committee, the Nebraska Legislature as a whole, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Surgical Technologists in order to finally adopt this legislation in order to ensure greater patient care in this state.

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 – January 18th

January 18th, 2019

As we wind down the first full week of the new legislative session, senators are working vigorously to introduce bills before the Day 10 deadline this coming Wednesday.  Senators can only introduce bills for the first ten days, and there are currently around 500 bills that have been introduced.  At this time, I have introduced twenty five bills, many dealing with retirement issues, but they also include better access to health care for rural Nebraskans, insurance oversight, and patient safety.  For more information regarding each bill, committee hearing date, and bill status can be found on the Unicameral’s website: www.nebraskalegislature.gov.

As your representative for Legislative District 24, I continue to be very concerned about the high property taxes in our state.  These property taxes impact all citizens who own property, from our retired senior citizens to our farmers and ranchers who rely on the land for their income. The economy in the State of Nebraska relies heavily on agriculture, and with the down turn in the farm economy, we need to work hard to find real and meaningful property tax relief.  Governor Ricketts has brought three property tax relief measures for the Legislature to discuss.  His budget provides for $51 million dollars in new, direct property tax relief through the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund each year, establishing a statutory floor of $275 million for the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund, and establishing a three percent camp on property taxes levied by local governments.

As a new member on the Revenue Committee, I will work as diligently as I can to develop the best way, in partnership, to address the revenue challenges Nebraska faces.  Most likely, the solution will involve further financial restraint, reliance on money from the cash reserves and tax reductions to help spur more growth in our local economy.

On Tuesday, Governor Ricketts delivered his annual State of the State address.  Governor Ricketts highlighted economic achievements for the State such as being the number one state for fiscal condition, the number two state in the union for cost of doing business and regulatory environment, the third highest wage growth since 2014, the fourth best workforce participation rate and the sixth lowest employment rate.

I wish to highlight one more item from Governor Ricketts address.  In explaining what his administration is doing in terms of value-added agriculture, he brought up the Schulz family of Seward County, a family which recently gained approval to raise chickens for Costco.  I was honored to have three generations of the Schulz family join me for the State of the State address.

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.

 

Greetings and Happy New Year!  I hope everyone was able to spend time with loved ones during the Christmas season.

The 106th Legislative Session kicked off on Wednesday, January 9.  This year we will conduct a 90-day session, also known as the long session, with the expected adjournment date in early June.  There are many changes to the makeup of the legislative body.  We welcome 13 new Senators in the freshman class, and 8 of the 14 Standing Committees will have new chairpersons leading the way.

Senator Jim Scheer of Norfolk was re-elected as Speaker of the Legislature.  Other notable chair races include Mike Groene of North Platte defeating Rick Kolowski of Omaha for chair of the Education Committee and Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn defeating Brett Lindstrom of Omaha for chair of the Revenue Committee.  Other Chairmanships of note were John Stinner of Scottsbluff being re-elected as Appropriations Committee Chairman, Steve Lathrop of Omaha being elected as Judiciary Committee Chairman, and Matt Williams of Gothenberg being elected as Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee Chairman.

Without opposition, I was unanimously re-elected as chairman of the Retirement Committee.   Moving forward in my role, I intend for the Retirement committee to continue its work in protecting the plans assets, responsibly managing taxpayer dollars via the State’s contribution to the plans, while fulfilling the promised return to our retirees.

This year I will continue to serve on the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee and I will be a new member of the Revenue Committee, a committee tasked with taxes and revenue.  I am also excited to announce that I have been selected by my peers to serve on the Executive Board of the Legislature, which supervises all legislative services and employees.

The Legislature faces many challenges this year, the greatest being a budget shortfall to the tune of roughly $95 million.  Governor Pete Ricketts and the Legislature will have to work together in order to make difficult, yet appropriate funding cuts to balance the budget while maintaining the state’s statutory duties.  The Legislature will examine tax reform while taking a close look at ways to relieve property tax burdens.  I know taxes are an important issue to all Nebraskans and we will work diligently to find solutions to our tax challenges.

In Nebraska, the first ten days of session is the only time Senators are allowed to introduce legislation.  While I do not know all the bills that will be introduced at this time, I foresee that some of the bills and issues to garner attention this year are property tax reform, corrections reform, medical marijuana and the funding of Medicaid expansion.

This year, I am excited to welcome Tyler Mahood to my team.  Tyler will serve as my legislative aide, assisting me with legislation, constituent issues, and communications.  Tyler comes to my office via Senator Merv Riepe’s office, where he served as committee clerk for the Health and Human Services Committee for the previous two years.  We are excited to have Tyler as part of our team and I look forward to him getting to know the wonderful constituents of District #24.

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 – November 16th

November 19th, 2018

This week was a busy one as I participated in the Legislative Council’s planning meeting for the upcoming session. This event gives the State Senators an opportunity to gather prior to the
holidays to discuss the upcoming session and discuss topics that we know will be priorities once the session begins.

This year the meeting was also an opportunity to start conversations with colleagues about leadership roles, committee assignments, and other matters related to the governance of the
legislative body – something that happens every other year at the start of the biennium. With much of the body changing due to term limits – the dynamics are different this year and as state senators we are getting to know our incoming colleagues, their interests, and what areas they may be interested in working on as it relates to policy matters.

As I have shared previously, I intend to run for re-election as the chair of the Retirement committee. Many senators have announced their intent to seek chairmanships as well and still others will announce in the coming weeks.

Committee assignments are made through a committee called the “Committee on Committees” made up of 4 individuals from each Congressional district in the state. I have served on this committee previously and hope to serve on it again this coming session as well. If given the opportunity, this will allow me to work with my colleagues on the committee to find the best
committee assignments for each state senator. We work through a variety of factors for each member of the body, including seniority, scheduling, which caucus they are from, and their
interest in serving on various committees. We try to accommodate each member in providing an opportunity for he or she to serve on a committee of preference, but sometimes for the newer
members of the legislature, it can be challenging.

With Thanksgiving approaching, I want to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, good food, and joyful hearts. I’ve always enjoyed Thanksgiving as a time to reflect on the bounty that is before us as Nebraskans. Even in our hardest times, I see good in Nebraskans who support and care for their neighbors, and at this time of year, I encourage you to reflect on the many blessings we share. A blessed Thanksgiving to all!

Weekly Column – November 9th

November 9th, 2018

This week, the voters of the 24th District gave me the opportunity to continue my work in the Nebraska Legislature, and I am grateful and humbled. Thank you for the trust you have placed in me. Please be assured I will continue to work hard for you over the next four years.

After being re-elected, I notified my colleagues that I am planning to seek re-election as the Chair of the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee. I have been a member of the Retirement Committee since 2015 and served as Chair of the Retirement Committee since 2016. I am proud of Retirement Committee accomplishments and its oversight of the state-administered and other political subdivision public pension plans.

In 2016 the state’s actuary conducted an Experience Study which was used to establish actuarial assumptions for the state-administered retirement plans. The Committee worked closely with the actuary and the Public Employees Retirement Board to enact statutory changes to reflect the new actuarial assumptions, which included lowering the investment assumption from 8% to 7.5% and updating mortality tables to more accurately reflect the fact that plan members are living longer. Even with these costly assumption changes, the state-administered retirement plans remain well-funded. Last year the funding status of the County Cash Balance Plan was 107%, State Cash Balance 104%, Judges 94%, School Plan 87%, and the Patrol Plan was 85%. The Judges, Patrol and School Plans earned an investment return of 8.5% this year, so I would expect to see funding levels increase when the valuation reports are released later this month.

The Committee has continued its work on pension reform to reduce long-term funding obligations of the defined benefit plans. In 2017, the minimum retirement age was increased from age 55 to 60 with the enactment of the modified Rule of 85 for the School and Omaha School Employees Retirement (OSERS) plans. The actuary calculated that this single pension reform will save the School and OSERS plans approximately $100 million in funding obligations over the next 30 years.

I believe my leadership skills and open-door policy have helped facilitate legislative accomplishments and the long-term sustainability of the public retirement plans. I continue to work closely with the Nebraska Investment Council, State Investment Officer, Nebraska Public Employees Systems, employee groups, the Governor’s office, Chief Justice and Attorney General to address funding, policy and potential litigation issues.

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. Todd 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.

Weekly Column – November 2nd

November 2nd, 2018

We had a good turnout at my town hall meeting in Stromsburg with Nebraska Department of Transportation Director Kyle Schneweis. I know that he appreciated everyone in attendance who engaged in a thoughtful discussion about transportation issues, especially the expansion of U.S. Highway 81 to four lanes.

There has been a lot of activity around the Capitol the last few weeks. Last Friday, I attended the Nebraska State Patrol 59th Basic Recruit Class graduation ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. It was a pleasure joining with Governor Pete Ricketts, Secretary of State John Gale and State Patrol Superintendent Colonel John Bolduc to welcome the 14 new State Patrol officers in their service to our great State. Their dedication and hard work is an inspiration to their families, friends, and everyone who has taken part in their formative years in attendance. The ceremony was especially meaningful for me to watch as Lucas Gleisberg – a member of Suzanne’s extended family – received the R.J. Buchholz Physical Fitness Award.

It is important to note that this was Secretary Gale’s last State Patrol swearing in, as he is not seeking reelection this year and will conclude his time in office in early January. It was mentioned during the ceremony that Secretary Gale has sworn in more than 300 Nebraska State Troopers during his 18 years in office.

Also on Friday, I attended a special meeting with other senators to review Nebraska’s economic development programs. We reviewed research compiled by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness with the goal to enhance the Nebraska Advantage Act. I am hopeful that this will lead to meaningful policy changes that will help us as a State to overcome major challenges including outmigration of young talent, tight labor markets and infrastructure gaps including broadband access.

I also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from several organizations as we prepare for the next Legislative session. A new one that I wanted to mention involves a collaborative effort called Invest in Nebraska. It is comprised of several of our State’s leading educational organizations including the Nebraska Department of Education, Nebraska Council of School Administrators, Nebraska Association of School Boards, Nebraska State Education Association, STANCE, Greater Nebraska Schools Association, Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association, Educational Service Units Coordinating Council, Beyond Bells, Holland Children’s Movement, Voices for Children in Nebraska, Stand for Schools and First Five Nebraska. They will be focusing on ways to ensure Nebraska schools provide a 21st century education for our young people.

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. Todd 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.

Sen. Mark Kolterman

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

You are currently browsing the archives for the Column category.

Search Current Bills
Search Laws
Live Video Streaming
Find Your Senator
>