NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
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Sen. Mark Kolterman

Sen. Mark Kolterman

District 24

My office receives a good amount of correspondence regarding the Keystone XL pipeline, so I wanted to address that issue with you.  I have always been supportive of the pipeline, and recently, I signed a bipartisan letter from 33 members of the Nebraska Legislature to the Public Service Commission in support of construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Having closely monitored the proposed project and reviewed TransCanada’s safety and environmental record in our state for the past six years, I believe they have demonstrated a strong commitment to operating responsibly in our state.  In conversations with Nebraskans along the existing Keystone pipeline route (Cedar, Wayne, Stanton, Colfax, Butler, Seward, Saline, Jefferson and Platte Counties) I have found enthusiasm for both the manner in which the company has operated and the property tax dollars its project has contributed since 2010.  I have spoken with friends and neighbors in Seward County that have pipeline in their property, and they have mentioned how easy it is to work with TransCanada when putting land back to its original state, like they were never there.

A large majority of Nebraskans agree with this view considering recent media reports indicating more than ninety percent of landowners along the proposed Keystone XL route have already voluntarily agreed to easements, most for figures at or above market value.  I am particularly pleased that these agreements, as they appear to cover crop losses and inconveniences which my constituents may experience during the anticipated construction time.

The proposed Keystone pipeline will be extensively monitored with checkpoints for oil spills.  It will be better than the current pipeline, and much safer than filling trucks and rail cars with oil, and then sending them on our roads and tracks.  The construction of the pipeline will create good jobs along the route, and lower the electrical rates of local electric systems.  In 2016, Seward County alone billed TransCanada pipeline almost a half million dollars for property taxes.  It was also announced that the latest route proposal would shift slightly west around the Seward County wellhead protection area.

I share your desire to protect the quality of water in our state.   The NDEQ has taken the proper steps to ensure protection of the Sandhills region and Ogalalla Aquifer by endorsing a route which avoids the Sandhills region and the areas of northern Nebraska which are home to fragile soils.

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. David 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.

 

Townhall meetings are an important way for elected officials to meet with their constituents to talk about issues in the district, pending legislation or to just enjoy a cup of coffee together. Last Friday I visited with about 20 constituents in Stromsburg at the 4th Street Coffee House. We discussed all aspects of this legislative session and issues that affect my district.  While I always appreciate hearing from constituents via letter, phone and email, it is nice to have an in-person conversation and meet face-to-face.

I have scheduled two more townhalls on Friday, March 24th. If you are available, I hope you are able to join me at one of them. At 9am I will be at PERKS (1045 N Main St) in Henderson and at 12pm I will be at the Stromsburg Public Library (320 Central Street). Food is being provided for lunch, so please RSVP by calling the library at 402-764-7681 so there will be enough for everyone.

Last week I shared an update about LB92, my priority bill. This week I wanted to tell you about another piece of legislation I introduced this year – LB323, a bill to create the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program and the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council.

Palliative care is an approach that improves quality of life for patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illnesses through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and treatment of pain and other problems besides physical, such as psychosocial and spiritual. Integrating palliative care into mainstream medicine for all patients and families facing serious illness offers an essential opportunity to deliver person-centered and family-focused care, achieve better health, better care, and lower cost. Despite the rising amount of evidence showing its benefits, many professionals mistakenly equate palliative care with end of life and hospice. Because of this lack of understanding of what palliative care is and when it should be provided, there are often barriers preventing access to it.

The purpose of this bill is to improve quality, patient-centered and family-focused care in Nebraska. The bill create the Palliative Care Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program, which relates to information sharing about palliative care through the department’s website. It would include: continuing education opportunities for professionals around palliative care, delivery of palliative care in the home, information about best practices, ​educational materials and referral information. The purpose of the education program is to maximize the effectiveness of palliative care initiatives in the state by ensuring that comprehensive and accurate information is available to the public, healthcare providers, and healthcare facilities.

The second part of the legislation creates the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council. This council brings together health professionals that have palliative care experience and/or experience in palliative care delivery models in a variety of in-patient, outpatient, and community settings with various of populations. The Advisory Council will consult with and advise the Department of Health and Human Services on matters relating to palliative care initiatives, especially the educational components that would go on the we​bsite. Significant advances in medicine have meant many of us will live longer and also live better, even in the face of serious illness. Helping patients and their families achieve these dual outcomes, longer life and higher quality of life, is a key objective of palliative care.

As many of you know, my wife is battling pancreatic cancer.  I learned about palliative care as we moved forward with her illness and her treatments.  Suzanne was placed on palliative care in July of last year.  It was an eye-opening experience for us to discover all the ways this service can help us through her journey.  I want other families to have the same resources we found, and this bill will go a long way in making sure that happens.

This bill advanced unanimously out of committee and has been placed on General File. I appreciate my colleagues recognizing the benefits of this program.

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. David 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.

 

March 10th – LB92

March 10th, 2017

Each year Senators are given the opportunity to select one bill to designate as their personal priority.  This year, the bill I chose to designate is LB92, a bill to require certain health carriers to provide coverage for certain services delivered through telehealth.  LB92 advanced out of committee unanimously and has no fiscal note, meaning it will not have a cost burden on the state of Nebraska.

Under this legislation, health insurance companies are required to cover any service offered through telehealth that is already covered for an in-person consultation.  Currently, even though many doctors have embraced telehealth technology, some have been reluctant to utilize it because they do not know whether insurers will reimburse them.  This reimbursement policy is already in place for state Medicaid, and it only makes sense that we would extend it to those covered by individual or group health insurance plans.

Initially, I was unfamiliar with exactly what telemedicine meant, but learned it is the use of advanced telecommunications and other technologies exchanged in real time via electronic communication between sites to monitor patient health status.  Tools that can be utilized to deliver telemedicine include networked programs, point-to-point connections, monitoring centers, or web e-based e-health patient service sites. I like to think of it as “Facetime” with a medical professional.

Under this legislation, services provided include primary care, specialist referral services, remote patient monitoring, consumer medical and health information, consultation, diagnosis, and health education to patients.

I believe telemedicine is particularly important in assuring timely and effective delivery of health services to vulnerable populations such as individuals in rural areas, low-income individuals, and individuals with mobility impairments. Telemedicine provides the opportunity for alternative delivery of care and cost saving opportunities for plans, providers, and beneficiaries.

I truly believe that this tool, designed to serve smaller communities that have health clinics but few if any full-time doctors, is incredibly valuable to Nebraskans. As we consider the shortage of doctors and practitioners throughout the state, especially in the rural areas, it is important for us to utilize all the options in reaching our entire population with vital services. Telehealth consultations can also be significantly less expensive than an in-person doctor visit.

I believe it is time for Nebraska to expand telehealth services across the state and eliminate any doubt for doctors and patients that these services are covered by insurance.  My colleagues agreed with me, and the bill was advanced to Select File earlier this week with strong support.

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. David 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.

 

 

 

As a state Senator I am often faced with interesting and complex issues that I hadn’t spent much time thinking about prior to being asked to look at these policy issues while serving in office.  One of those issues we have heard a lot about in recent years is the issue of medical marijuana.  As the country grapples with the legalization of this substance that has been around for years, in Nebraska we are looking at two pieces of legislation that deal with the topic.  These two bills are Senator Wishart’s LB 622, which would allow the legalization of medical marijuana in Nebraska, and Senator Ebke’s LB 167, which reschedules cannabidiol in a drug product approved by the FDA into Schedule V of the Nebraska Controlled Substances Act.

Under Senator Ebke’s legislation, upon FDA approval, rescheduling by the DEA will take place and take care of federal law, but Epidiolex (a drug currently in phase 3 of FDA testing) would be rescheduled in each state, including Nebraska. This bill allows the legislature to proactively reschedule cannbidiol in an FDA approved product, ensuring Epidiolex will be available to patients in Nebraska as soon as federal approval and rescheduling is complete.  I was glad to see Ebke introduce this legislation, as I believe it’s a way for people to access the drug, getting the help they need while going through proper and regulated channels. I believe it is an appropriate way for Nebraska to handle this issue through a common sense approach.

While LB 622 was brought with similar intentions of allowing Nebraska citizens who need this drug for appropriate treatment an avenue to access it, I feel the legislation is too broad.  Additionally, I have concerns about the creation of the new program to administer the drug, which I fear could cost additional money that the state does not have at this time.  I very much empathize with citizens who suffer from medical conditions that respond positively to cannabidiol, but believe we need to make sure we are putting the proper regulations in place when they access this substance. I believe LB 167 works within the current framework while allowing those suffering from certain medical conditions that ability to access the substance they need.  I am hopeful the process will move forward quickly so those who need this substance have the ability to access it legally in Nebraska in the near future.

Another piece of legislation I support is LB 645 introduced by Senator Pansing-Brooks, which would add a definition of dyslexia to Nebraska statute, designating it as a specific learning disability.  While this law may seem simple in nature, I believe it is important, as once dyslexia is identified as a specific learning disability, children with this disability will able to access the resources available through school based learning disability programs in Nebraska.

Finally, one of the more interesting pieces of legislation I learned about this year, and one I will be supporting, is LB 506, brought by Senator Albrecht.  Under this legislation, a physician who diagnoses an unborn child as having a lethal fetal anomaly would provide the family with information provided by the Department of Health and Human Services pertaining to perinatal hospice care, including access to a list of perinatal hospice programs available in Nebraska and nationally.  It is my hope that these resources would provide an avenue for families facing this challenging process to gain support from professionals as they go through their experience.  Over the years I have known many families who have faced sad news about their children prior to them being brought into the world.  Whether grieving a child’s death while the child is in the womb or in the world, these resources should be made available to families and I am very supportive of this occurring.

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. David 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.

 

 

 

 

I thought I would take some time this week to share a bit about the importance of hearing from constituents in the district and how important it is for me to connect with you on a regular basis.  With Nebraska’s unique unicameral system, it’s always been widely accepted that the people are the second house in our state.  I truly believe that and have tried throughout my legislative career to keep the constituents as the focus of my service.  Each day I have many opportunities to connect with constituents who visit the legislature.

Today, as an example, I started my morning connecting with rural superintendents and administrators at the Nebraska Rural Community Schools Association breakfast, and I finished my evening at a dinner with teachers from the district who are members of the NSEA. At both meetings we visited about education policy as well as the much discussed topic of education funding as it relates to property taxes.

Last week I was able to spend time with members of the Leadership York class, Educational Service Unit 7 representatives, and the Bottlerocket Boys from Bottlerocket Brewery.  Each of these visits were productive in that we were able to discuss legislation that will impact each of these groups in some way.  Constituents shared their views on the legislation with me and I was able to provide them feedback about where I stood on the issues.  These are only a sampling of the types of meetings that take place regularly each and every week the legislature is in session.  It’s not uncommon for me to be invited to two or three events for breakfast and lunch every day.  I always try to attend when I know constituents will be present, as it gives me a great opportunity to connect with them and learn about the bills that are important to them, the legislation that might impact them, or emerging issues in their industries or businesses.  It’s often difficult to be at all of the events, but I do try to attend as many as I can.

Another way I try to connect with constituents is by visiting with them when they stop by the State Capitol.  In addition to the many school classes that visit on a regular basis, we also have groups and organizations who hold special days visiting the session.  If you are part of those groups or are just passing through, you can always give a note to the “red coats” who are positioned right outside of the legislative Chamber.  They will bring the note to me, indicating you are present.  If I am not engaged in an issue on the floor, I may be able to step outside the Chamber for a few minutes. This is a good way for an impromptu conversation or just to say hello.  People visiting the state Capitol are also welcome to stop by my office in room 2004 and visit with my staff.  Katie and David can help you set up an appointment with me or answer questions about legislation.  If you have specific questions about the Retirement Committee, my legal counsel Kate Allen is a wealth of knowledge and great at working through retirement issues with citizens who have inquiries.

 

A bill that is receiving a lot of interest across the state and media is LB632, an omnibus bill that handles many liquor control issues.  I have been contacted by several constituents and people from all over Nebraska who are concerned with this proposed legislation. The craft beer brewers did an outstanding job of raising awareness at the grassroots level by encouraging their consumers to contact state senators.  Since I have received my fair share of emails and calls, I want to address the issue in this column.

For a little history, I was a member of the General Affairs Committee last year when we passed LB1105.  That bill contained language that allows for craft brewers to operate up to five retail locations in addition to where they brew beer.  Several breweries have built or have plans to build these retail locations in cities where they are not located.  This year’s LB632 strips out the language that allows for these additional retail locations.  Both bills have the same sponsor, so it is puzzling to me why he introduced a bill this year that undoes what he wanted the legislature to pass last year, especially since it was overwhelmingly passed and hailed by the craft brewers.

I am not sure the reasoning behind this bill other than big, out of state breweries are trying to stifle growth of these small, locally owned breweries.  That it is not something I can support.  I do not support the bill as it is currently written for several reasons. LB632 would harm economic growth and kill jobs, which is a terrible thing to do when the state is facing a budget shortfall.  Zipline Brewing Company based in Lincoln currently is constructing their second non brewery retail location in downtown Omaha that will employ about 25 full and part time employees. That is in addition to construction workers, plumbers, electricians, and others involved in the construction of the building. LB632 would prevent a brewery like Kinkaider or Infusion from building a retail location in a city like York or Stromsburg.  LB632 could also give pause to any home brewer thinking about starting their own brewery.  It does not make sense to make things more difficult for entrepreneurship for anyone trying to grow a business, not just brewers.

This past week, I met with the owners of Bottle Rocket Brewing, a privately owned and operated brewery located in Seward.  We discussed LB632 and concerns that they have regarding the bill.  It was a fun visit and they recorded it for social media.  You can view our visit on the Bottle Rocket YouTube channel or on their Facebook page.

After speaking with a few of my colleagues on the General Affairs Committee, it does not appear that this bill will advance out of committee in its current form.  I hear an amendment is being drafted to reinsert the language that allows for the retail locations, which has been the objective of the craft breweries.  I commend them for their interest in the legislative process and for getting involved with a piece of legislation that will impact them.

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. David 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.

February 10th – LB30

February 8th, 2017

Since 2014 the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee has required political subdivisions with plans funded less than 80% to appear before the Committee and describe the circumstances that led to the underfunding and the entity’s plan to improve solvency and reach full funding.

The past two years I have heard the presentations on the metropolitan and primary class city Police and Fire Retirement Plans and have become increasingly concerned.   For example, the Omaha Police & Fire Plan has over $600 million in unfunded liability and are 51% funded – which hasn’t changed that much in the past number of years.

I introduced LB 30 in order to provide secure retirement benefits for current and future police and fire employees in the metropolitan and primary class cities, and to keep their pension plans solvent and sustainable.  We had an excellent hearing this week with 20 invited testifiers which included police officers, firefighters, city council representatives, and representatives of the Platte Institute, Reason Foundation and Retirement Security Initiative.

I appreciate the service provided by these brave public servants who risk their lives every day for all of us.  It is not my intent to take any retirement benefits away from current plan members.  My motive for introducing this bill is to ensure that current plan members receive what is promised them.  I believe that a promise is a promise.  I also want to ensure that new members receive an adequate and sustainable pension that is affordable for our metropolitan and primary class city taxpayers.

LB 30 requires cities of the primary and metropolitan class to place new police officers and firefighters in a cash balance retirement plan beginning on an unspecified date.  LB 30 also allows metropolitan and primary class cities to provide a supplemental retirement plan to provide an additional benefit since firefighters and police officers in these cities do not participate in social security.

Cash balance plans are hybrid defined benefit plans because they guarantee an interest credit rate.  Each employee has an individual account which consists of employee contributions and employer contributions (if vested) with an interest credit that increases the value of the account.  Investment losses do not affect the members’ account balances – investment risks are borne solely by the employer.

What I am proposing in LB 30 is not a defined contribution plan which is like a 401(k) where the member assumes all the risk of any investment losses. These are the types of plans generally offered in the private sector for employees.

A cash balance plan is a solid and reliable pension plan. In Nebraska, state and county employees have been in cash balance plans since 2003.  These plans are solidly structured and were able to sustain the 27% investment losses in 2008 and 2009 without requiring any additional funding by the state.

It is clear to me that our metropolitan and primary class cities are struggling financially to pay their ongoing funding obligations to the plans.  This level of funding does not appear to me to be sustainable over the long-term.

I appreciate all the comments and written testimony presented at the hearing on LB 30 and I will continue to meet and work with all interested parties to seek a workable resolution to this problem.

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. David 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.

 

January 3rd – Budget

February 3rd, 2017

The legislature began discussing the state budget this week.  I have mentioned in previous columns about the $900 million budget shortfall the state faces over the next two years.  The first budget bill we debated was LB22, a bill introduced by Speaker Scheer for Governor Ricketts.  LB 22 contains the Governors recommendation for changes to the existing FY2016-17 appropriations as well as various fund transfers as part of his FY2016-17 budget adjustments.  LB22 eliminates over $137 million from the current budget.  I support this bill and do not feel that raising taxes to shrink the gap is in the best interest of Nebraskans.  I also support the Governor’s ban on nonessential out of state travel and state agency hiring freezes for non-critical positions.

Some people have asked me how Nebraska got into such a deep hole.  The main reason is agriculture commodities prices are extremely stressed to the tune of several hundred million dollars in Nebraska alone.  We also face lower than expected tax receipts.

This is a very difficult session for everyone, including lawmakers, tax payers, programs, and families.  I have met with many people, organizations, associations, and groups that have asked to be spared from budget cuts.  If we said yes to everyone then we would not save any money.  As difficult as it is to say, we must all tighten our belts and cuts need to be made across the board.  We may also have to consider dipping into the cash reserve fund.  At this point, almost all options are on the table, except for tax increases.

While examining the budget this year, I look at the same way I am sure the most of you do.  If your household budget suddenly needed to be trimmed significantly, where would you make the cuts?  Nebraska statute mandates a balanced budget each year, so we are not able to kick the can down the road by financing programs on credit.  For the most part, if any new legislation carries a fiscal note, more than likely, it will not pass the legislature this year.  As lawmakers, we will do our best to provide essential state benefits as we address the current budget situation.

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. David 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 legislature is beginning to kick into full swing.  We spent most of this week debating changes to the rules.  On Wednesday, I was pleased to address the Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska during an event at the Governor’s mansion.

I have heard from a few constituents regarding a couple bills in the legislature that deal with the privatization of education in Nebraska.  There are bills in the legislature that create independent public schools, school voucher programs, and additional school accountability.

All these bills have been referred to the Education Committee, of which I am not a member.  At this time I am not sure which bills will advance to the full legislature for debate.  I have many questions regarding voucher programs for public education and the creation of charter schools in Nebraska.

As we face a budget constraint, I also am waiting to see the fiscal impact that the privatization of school, vouchers, and charter schools.  Like many other institutions, public schools are on a tight budget, and I am not sure this is the right time for the state to be diverting state resources to new programs.

My two daughters attended parochial school through their elementary years.  They attended public high schools following elementary school before attending private colleges, so I have experience with both institutes of learning.  My wife and I are pleased with all their years of education. I struggle with this issue a lot, because I truly believe in the value of a Christian based education and see how vouchers can be a part of making that possible for families.  At the same time, I also know that my wife and I made a very conscientious decision to send our children to a parochial school fully knowing that it would be a sacrifice within our family to be able to afford it.  Yes, it was going to cost us money to both pay taxes towards the public schools and the tuition for the parochial school, but that was a decision we made because we thought it was worth the investment.

It is my belief that since the State of Nebraska requires all children to attend school, it is our obligation to ensure that public schools are adequately funded to provide a good, quality education.  I believe that public schools across the state are above average in comparison to other states.  Many parents have the option of sending their children to private school now, it is just not subsidized by the government.  As these education bills advance out of committee, I will keep an open mind on how to advance these bills while expressing my concerns to the legislative body.

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. David 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.

 

Even though it was a short week in the legislature, it was certainly a busy week as well.  Wednesday was the tenth and last day for bill introduction, and it is usually the day where the most legislative bills are introduced, and this year did not disappoint.  177 bills were introduced on the tenth day.  In total, 667 legislative bills and 5 constitutional amendments were introduced by the 49 senators.  I personally introduced 25 bills, with 11 of those dealing with retirement issues.  Here is a list of all the bills I introduced this session.  If you would like more information about each bill, please visit the Nebraska Legislature website at: www.nebraskalegislature.gov.

LB18 – Change licensure and scope of practice for dental assistants and dental hygienists

LB19 – Change requirements for the practice of acupuncture

LB20 – Change provisions relating to homestead exemption certifications

LB29 – Eliminate the Class V School Employees Retirement Cash Fund

LB30 – Provide for a cash balance benefit plan by cities of the metropolitan and primary classes for certain police officers or firefighters as prescribed

LB31 – Change school retirement plan provisions relating to service credits

LB32 – Eliminate a duty of the Public Employees Retirement Board and change provisions relating to prior service retirement benefit payments for county employees

LB61 – Adopt the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact

LB92 – Require health carriers to provide coverage for telehealth services

LB94 – Increase amount of funds offered by the state investment officer to financial institutions as deposits under the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act

LB110 – Change duties and requirements relating to certain retirement plan reporting and change duties of the Auditor of Public Accounts and the Public Employees Retirement Board

LB166 – Change provisions of Uniform Controlled Substances Act and Pharmacy Practice Act

LB231 – Authorize disciplinary action under the Insurance Producers Licensing Act for failing to maintain a license in good standing

LB232 – Provide a property tax exemption for property leased to the state or a governmental subdivision

LB278 – Redefine disability and change disability retirement application and medical examination provisions for various retirement acts

LB323 – Adopt the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Act

LB324 – Adopt the Pharmacy Benefit Fairness and Transparency Act

LB359 – Authorize damages for property taxes and special assessments paid on property lost through adverse possession

LB360 – Adopt the Surgical Technologist Registry Act

LB406 – Change provisions relating to notice of cancellation, nonrenewal, or nonpayment of a premium for automobile liability policies

LB413 – Change a retirement application timeframe for judges and Nebraska State Patrol officers as prescribed and change supplemental lump-sum cost-of-living adjustments under the Judges Retirement Act

LB414 – Change a retirement application timeframe for judges and Nebraska State Patrol officers as prescribed and change supplemental lump-sum cost-of-living adjustments under the Judges Retirement Act

LB415 – Provide and change notification requirements and duties and benefits for certain retirement system members, change certain annuity and disability benefit provisions, and provide duties for school districts and the Public Employees Retirement Board relating to retirement

LB486 – Change continuing education requirements for insurance licensees

LB532 – Change provisions relating to a military service credit for certain retirement plans as prescribed

Committee hearings began on Tuesday and public testimony was heard on six of my bills.  Much of this week on the floor was spent debating referencing a few bills’ committee designations and debating the rules.  Chief Justice Michael Heavican also delivered the State of the Judiciary on Thursday.  Chief Justice Heavican stressed the need for the legislature to adequately fund justice reinvestment programs.  He also discussed the state of the Office of Public Guardian, juvenile justice, and technological updates in the courts.

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. David 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.

 

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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