NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Suzanne Geist

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25

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 sgeist@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 8th, 2020

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 25th 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. Suzanne Geist

We continued to debate Senator, Committee and Speaker priority bills this week.

I would like to share an update with you on my priority bill, LB814 which would ban the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortions during the second trimester. On Wednesday, I filed a motion to pull my bill out of the Judiciary Committee so that we could discuss it on the floor. A pull motion is a way for a Senator to request that the Legislature decide a bill that is stuck at an impasse in Committee will be debated by the Legislature.

I respect the Judiciary Committee and did not want to have to file a pull motion. After talking with the committee chair, I learned that the committee was at an impasse and they did not have the votes needed to pass my bill out of committee and they did not have the votes to kill my bill in committee. LB814 is my priority bill and I would like to see the Legislature discuss it on the floor. I also believe the citizens of Nebraska deserve to hear the details of my bill. I will need 25 votes to pass the pull motion and I will continue to keep you updated on the progress of LB814.

My bill, LB1017 which appropriates funds to the Supreme Court to create a pilot program for a mental health court was added to this year’s budget. We debated the budget yesterday for many hours and I am happy to say that the budget passed the first round of debate with my bill included in it.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

We continued to debate Senator, Committee and Speaker priority bills this week. There were quite a few filibusters again this week, but we passed a few bills that I strongly support.

Yesterday, my bill LB944 which makes changes to the provisions relating to motor vehicles was passed on Select File. The Transportation and Telecommunications committee had chosen my bill as the committee priority bill. Now that it was passed on select file, it will move to final reading before it is sent to the Governor for his approval.

On Thursday, we discussed Senator Albrecht’s priority bill. LB1186 requires salary to be paid to injured school employees as prescribed. The bill will allow schools to provide injury leave to employees if they are physically injured and have to miss school. Currently, a teacher or employee is required to use vacation time to see a doctor if they are assaulted during the school day. The injury leave will cover the gap between when an employee was assaulted and when worker’s compensation benefits starts.

We debated Senator Bostelman’s bill, LB832 on Wednesday. LB832 will provide immunity from civil liability for entering a vehicle to remove a child. This bill was a Speaker priority bill.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

This week is officially the half way point of session and it was the last week of Committee hearings. This is the point in session when we start debating Senator, Committee and Speaker priority bills. We start all day debate on Tuesday.

The week was filled with many filibusters. We debated LB963 introduced by Senator Brewer to change provisions relating to workers’ compensation for injuries to first responders and frontline state employees. Senator McDonnell prioritized this bill and we debated it on February 26th. First responders have a very hard and difficult job. I am grateful for each and every first responder and I was happy to vote in support of LB963 to help provide an option for first responders who are needing and asking for mental health treatment.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

Legislative Update: February 22
February 22nd, 2020

This week, Senators and Committees had to declare their priority bills to the Speaker of the Legislature by noon on Friday.

We debated LB974 which would change taxation and school funding provisions. I listened to the debate on this bill and it was debated for the three hour time limit before we moved on to debating the next bill. Negotiations are continuing on this bill and I am hoping we can arrive at a compromise that provides our Ag, residential and business communities property tax relief, while providing new State aid to public schools.

The hearing for my priority bill, LB814 to ban the brutal and barbaric method of dismemberment abortions during the second trimester of pregnancy was Thursday in the Judiciary Committee. I would like to thank everyone who came in to support my bill, testified in favor of it or wrote a letter of support. I do believe it’s possible to find some agreement in this controversial issue that no living human being should be torn apart limb by limb

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.Legislative Update: February 21, 2020

This week we continued to debate bills that are Senator Priority bills, Committee Priority bills and non-prioritized bills on General File that we did not debate last session.

More Senators are declaring their priority bills for this session. I decided to prioritize my bill, LB814 which would ban the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortions during the second trimester.

The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee chose my bill, LB944 to be one of the two committee priority bills. We debated LB944 that changes provisions relating to motor vehicles this week. The committee added an amendment which added a couple other bills from the transportation committee into the bill. I am happy to say that LB944 was passed on General File with 42 yes votes and will move to the second round of debate soon.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

This week we have been debating bills that are Senator Priority bills, Committee Priority bills and non-prioritized bills on General File that we did not debate last session.

The hearing for my bill, LB1017 which will provide funding to the Supreme Court to fund a pilot program for mental health courts was Wednesday afternoon in the Appropriations Committee. I am happy to say that there were no opponents to my bill. I brought this bill because throughout my time serving as a state senator, I have learned about drug courts and how they have changed the lives of so many people. My interest in drug and specialty courts in Nebraska led me to learn about mental health courts. The purpose of mental health courts is to provide an alternative for people who have mental health issues and have committed a crime that stemmed from their mental illness. Rather than incarcerating this individual they can be redirected to Mental Health Courts. This court will give the judge the ability to give this person a second chance by allowing them to go through strict programming that would help get them the medication, education, programming and services they need. This will not be easy option and the program will last for two years. If the person does not comply with the rules and regulations of the program they would end up being sent to jail to serve their sentence. The Supreme Court has meticulously worked on standards that are to be followed by judges and the mental health courts. This is a small, but important tool that helps address the needs of those who suffer from severe mental illness in our communities.

There were many filibusters during floor debate in the mornings this week and we did not pass many bills. We were able to pass a few bills on final reading before we adjourned for the week on Thursday.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

This week we continued to debate non-prioritized bills that were on General File. There were quite a few filibusters.

The hearing for my bill, LB944 that will change provisions relating to motor vehicles was in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on Monday afternoon. I introduced the bill on behalf of the Department of Motor Vehicles. I want to highlight a couple of things that the bill does. The bill will add natural disaster as a reason for issuing a refund of unused registration fees and taxes when loss of possession of a vehicle occurs. This will be important if a person loses a car due to flooding in their area. It also allows for the potential in the future to have the ability to use an electronic driver’s license and providing for the chance to have remote knowledge testing under certain circumstances for a driver’s license.

The hearing for my bill, LB975 that will bring the state of Nebraska into compliance with federal regulations regarding Child Protective Services/Adult Protective Services and provides immunity for people who provide information or assistance (such as medical evaluations or consultations) in cases of alleged abuse and neglect on Friday. Nebraska will risk losing over $500,000 in Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act funding each fiscal year until we amend our statutes. I brought this bill on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

This week we started committee hearings in the afternoons. We debated non-prioritized bills on General File that we did not debate last session.

The hearing for my bill, LB879 which would eliminate funding for the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act and change the termination date for applications. The bill will sunset a program that is not used very much and provide funding to expand the Business Innovation Act.

This past Fall, one of my constituents, Annie Crimmins, invited me to an Invest Nebraska networking event. Annie and her husband are co-founders of a startup called CanaryBox. CanaryBox integrates music with data to help reduce the risk of distraction in the operating room and provides alerts when a critical event happens. CanaryBox received funding from Invest Nebraska through the Business Innovation Act and Annie shared their story with me. Her enthusiasm inspired me to learn more about Invest Nebraska and tour a couple of startup businesses that have received funding. All of the companies have inspirational stories to share. The companies have worked to recruit, plan to recruit Nebraskans or have helped draw employees from other states to live in Nebraska. One of my favorite stories has come out of a company called Matma here in Lincoln. Matma was able to recruit an employee to move from New Jersey and she was able to convince her parents and her sister to eventually move to Nebraska.

According to a University of Nebraska-Lincoln study, the overall economic impact from the startups was $ 284.3 million a year and the state has only invested $19.9 million in the program since 2012. This is a great return on our investment as a state. Invest Nebraska conducts it’s due diligence on each company to decide if they will move the company forward in the investment process.

These companies are creating high wage jobs in areas where there may not be the opportunity for students to stay in Nebraska. Invest Nebraska ran out of funding in November of last year and I believe that the extra funding would be very helpful in decreasing the brain drain and also will encourage others to move to Nebraska.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

This week we have been having all day floor debate. We have been debating bills that are Senator Priority bills and non-prioritized bills on General File that we did not debate last session.

I introduced LB975 that will change provisions relating to reports of child abuse or neglect. The federal government changed their regulations regarding reports of child abuse and neglect and adult abuse and neglect. Nebraska was not in compliance with these regulations and my bill would bring the state into compliance so that we would not risk losing funding from the federal government.

Throughout my time serving as a state senator, I have learned about drug courts and how they have changed the lives of so many people. My interest in drug and specialty courts in Nebraska led me to learn about mental health courts. I introduced a bill this week, LB1017 which will provide funding to the Supreme Court to fund a pilot program for mental health courts. The purpose of mental health courts is to provide an alternative for people who have mental health issues and have committed a crime that stemmed from their mental illness. Rather than incarcerating this individual they can be redirected to Mental Health Courts. This court will give the judge the ability to give this person a second chance by allowing them to go through strict programming that would help get them the medication, education, programming and services they need. This will not be easy option and the program will last for two years. If the person does not comply with the rules and regulations of the program they would end up being sent to jail to serve their sentence. The Supreme Court has meticulously worked on standards that are to be followed by judges and the mental health courts. This is a small, but important tool that helps address the needs of those who suffer from severe mental illness in our communities.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

The One Hundred Sixth Legislature, Second Session officially began on Wednesday. I am the Vice Chair of Transportation and Telecommunications committee, a member of the Natural Resources committee and the Chair of the Legislative Performance Audit committee. So far this week, my fellow senators and I have introduced a total of 199 bills.

This week we have been focused on introducing new bills for this session. Next week, we will begin all day debate. The Speaker of the Legislature has promised that we will begin all day debate by debating the priority bills that we were not able to debated last session.

I have introduced two bills so far this session. The first bill that I introduced was LB814 to ban the brutal method of dismemberment abortions during the second trimester between 13-24 weeks. I think we can all agree that no living human being should be torn apart limb by limb.

The second bill that I introduced was LB879 which would eliminate the funding for the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act and change the termination date for applications. This bill would allow the tax credit to sunset or expire this year and provide funding for the Business Innovation Act which provides funding for small start-up businesses in Nebraska.

I look forward to providing you with a weekly legislative update at the end of the week this session.

As always, feel free to contact my office. My office phone number is 402-471-2731 and my email is sgeist@leg.ne.gov.

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25
Room #2000
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2731
Email: sgeist@leg.ne.gov
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