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Suzanne Geist

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25

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We are officially past the halfway point of this session. This past week, Senators and Committees had to pick their priority bills. Each year, the Speaker is allowed to choose 25 speaker priority bills. Speaker Arch announced his speaker priority bills this week too. I want to share with you an update on a few of my bills.

I am happy to say that I had quite a few of my bills given a priority this session! The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee chose my bill, LB412, as a committee priority bill. It will allow grants for broadband deployment from the ARPA Capital Projects Fund in Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District to be deployed in an entire exchange area that includes a city of the second class or a village. This change would allow the grants to provide high-speed broadband services in rural areas not within municipalities, which are often unserved or underserved locations.

As the chair of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee part of my responsibility is to be in charge of any bills that the committee decides to introduce. The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee prioritized LB683 and it will create a statewide broadband coordinator.

The Judiciary Committee chose my bill, LB50, as a committee priority. This bill will be the bill that the Judiciary Committee uses to negotiate corrections programming reform and other updates to corrections laws.

Senator Bostelman chose my bill, LB165, as his personal priority bill. I am very thankful that Senator Bostelman agreed to prioritize this bill because it will allow 529 accounts to be used for K-12 tuition. The Federal Government has allowed 529 accounts to be used for K-12 tuition since 2018. It is time Nebraska allows this too.

Speaker Arch chose my bill, LB138, as a speaker priority bill. This bill will bring Nebraska up to date with federal laws for the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles and the Nebraska State Patrol.

Speaker Arch also announced that he plans on having a consent calendar. Senators can write a letter requesting any of their bills that had no opposition to be placed on the consent calendar. I plan on asking for two of my bills to be added to the consent calendar. I will keep you updated and let you know if they are chosen.

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

We are almost half way through session. This past week has been very busy. Senators are trying to pick their personal priority bill. Each Senator can pick one personal priority bill. This usually ensures that the bill will get debated on the floor, but this session, because we are moving so slowly, we may not be able to debate all of the priority bills.

I chose LB447 as my personal priority bill and it was voted out of the Revenue committee unanimously. LB447 allows firefighters with 20 years of experience to deduct their health insurance from their taxes. It also provides for a tuition waiver for firefighters and their dependents. This is one small way that we can thank our firefighters for putting their lives on the line to help save us. This bill also allows for the children of firefighters and law enforcement to receive college tuition if they attend a state college in Nebraska. This is designed to recruit and retain first responders in our state.

LB 753 was also debated this week.

LB753 allows a small number of low income students and their families an opportunity to choose a school that would best suit their child’s needs. It will allow for individuals and businesses to donate money into a fund and receive a tax credit for their donation. This bill will not take any money away from public schools. They will still receive all of the funding that they are currently receiving.

I support this bill because when my husband and I had young children, we had one child that would have benefited from having more one-on-one attention in a school program that was unavailable in our public school.

We were in a great school district, but our child just learned in a non-traditional way. We did not have the funds to send even one child to a private school at the time. I understand what it is like to have a child that you are trying to help succeed and have no options except keeping them where they are.

This week during the morning debate we discussed LB77. I wanted to share with you why I voted for this bill. I worked very hard to broker a compromise between myself, a group of Senators and police officers, and Senator Brewer. We had concerns with the bill as it was written. I have always been pro-second amendment. Which has made this a difficult decision on how to balance public safety, officer safety and the rights of law-abiding citizens.

There were a few issues a group of Senators, police officers and I wanted to clarify before we voted for the bill. A couple of those issues were the punishments for a person who carried a gun during the commission of certain dangerous misdemeanors such as violations of harassment protection orders or knowing violation of a domestic abuse protection order. We also added penalties when a person repeatedly does not inform a police officer that they are carrying a concealed weapon.

Senator Brewer agreed with every issue that we had concerns with. I was happy to see that the Legislature agreed and added the compromise amendment to the bill. Once that happened, I was able to vote for LB77.

My bill, LB165, which allows 529 Nest accounts to be used for K-12 private school tuition, was heard in the Revenue Committee this week. I introduced this bill because the Federal Government allowed 529 accounts to be used for K-12 tuition 2018, but the state of Nebraska has not allowed it. I am frustrated that the state is dictating how Nebraskans can spend their hard earned money. Parents and grandparents should be able to decide if a child’s 529 account is used for K-12 tuition or not. Nebraska is one of only 11 states that do not allow this. It is time for this to change.

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

This past week we passed day 34. We are officially over a third of the way through this session. It’s hard to believe! Next week, we will start debating priority bills During our morning debate.

There isn’t a lot to share from this week. We didn’t get very far during our morning floor debate. A few senators decided to filibuster and not let us vote on many bills.

One of my bills was heard in the Judiciary committee on Thursday. LB472 would allow juries to know if a person was wearing a seatbelt or not in civil lawsuits. There has been a prohibition on this information in civil lawsuits since 1985 and I believe that it is time for the prohibition to end.

I introduced a bill to allow 529 accounts to pay for K-12 tuition to private schools. This bill will be heard before the revenue committee next week.

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

We received the largest snowfall in the past two years, but that doesn’t stop the Legislature from meeting and holding public hearings for bills.

This past week, two of my bills were heard in the Judiciary committee. These bills are a result of listening to numerous families who have children caught up in the juvenile justice system. It has been an honor to walk with these families, but also one of the most difficult journeys I’ve taken as a state senator. Because of this journey, I’ve become acutely aware of gaps in our system and have spent time researching how I can help relieve some of the stress parents and juveniles experience.

My bill, LB435, will create a parental adviser to help parents navigate the juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, when a parent or guardian has a juvenile in the system they do not know what services are available for their child and family or what each hearing with judges or probation officers could mean. My goal with a parental adviser is to have someone who has been in the same situation to provide not only emotional support, but also explain the whole process.

My bill, LB473, will create a grant pilot program for a safe and secure treatment center for youth in the juvenile justice system. From June 30, 2021 to June 30,2022, we sent 108 youth to other states because we do not have the ability to provide the much needed treatment for these youth. I have heard heartbreaking stories of youth whose parents are desperately trying to get intense mental health treatment for their children The resources in Nebraska are extremely limited. The parents are distraught over the emotional stability of their child and they are often put on a weeks long waiting list, or turned away for the lack of service space. There is also a population of juveniles who continue to run from home or school for days at a time. The police can bring these kids back home, but the kids just continue to run. I have heard heartbreaking stories of young girls on the run who have been sex-trafficked, beaten and have had so many horrible things happen to them. Currently, these kids can be sent to a treatment center, but the center can refuse to help them if the child is overly difficult or runs away. The center my bill envisions would be a treatment center that would have highly trained professionals specializing in the treatment of children in these circumstances. The center would also accept the child back every time they run away.

These bills could help so many youth and families in Nebraska and I am working very hard to ensure that we can provide the much needed help and treatment.

This week was the last week of all day committee hearings. All day hearings can go from 9:30 am to 7 pm. Next week, we will start debating bills in the morning on the floor of the legislature and we will continue with committee hearings in the afternoon.

Two of my bills had a hearing this week. LB471 was heard in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee yesterday. A recent study has found that 48.7% of the graduates from the UNK and UNL interior design programs leave the state after they graduate. My goal by introducing this bill is to find a way to keep these young people and potential business owners in Nebraska.

My bill, LB436, was heard in the Judiciary committee yesterday. LB436 brings Nebraska statutes into compliance with Federal updates to what is called the drug schedules in Nebraska. This means that we are adding certain fentanyl drugs and making them illegal in Nebraska. The outlawed fentanyl drugs are certain types of designer or street drugs. My bill also adds two drugs that have been approved by the FDA to this list so that they can be prescribed in Nebraska. It’s a simple but very consequential bill.

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

We are currently over a fourth of the way through the 108th Legislature, First Session. This week we started two weeks of all day hearings. This means that we check in for the day and then we head to our committee hearings.

I co-signed LB709 introduced by Senator Wishart and it was heard in the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee this week. This is an important bill for the City of Lincoln. It would provide up to $60 million towards a new convention center, up to $7 million towards the Lancaster County events center and up to $4 million for the Branched Oak Observatory by Branched Oak Lake. This is a one-time request for funds and these funds will help with improvements and to assist with the building of a new convention center. A new convention center and improving the Events Center and the Observatory will help draw more visitors to Lincoln. When we have more tourism in Lincoln, that also helps bring in more funds for our city and state.

My bill, LB50, had a hearing in the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. It has bi-partisan support. My bill is focused on creating a few pilot programs to provide programming, the ability for virtual behavioral health services and incentives for individuals involved in corrections, probation and parole. It also prioritizes payments for restitution and creates a pilot program to establish a technical parole violation residential housing program. This bill includes many items that the Criminal Justice Reinvestment Working group agreed on in 2021. I believe that these items will provide tools to start making changes to our current system and giving additional community support to those transitioning out of incarceration.

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

This week in the Legislature, we debated a few motions on the floor in the mornings and had committee hearings in the afternoons.

Part of my job as the Chair of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee is to meet with agency directors for agencies that my committee confirms. This week, I met with the new director of the Department of Transportation, Vicki Kramer. I am excited to see the direction that she takes the agency.

The Transportation and Telecommunications Committee heard two bills that I think is very important this week. The two bills will continue a program that allows for counties to apply for matching funds from the state to accelerate the repair and replacement of deficient bridges. We have all driven through Lancaster County and had to take detours due to bridges washing out or being unsafe to drive across. I will keep you posted on the progress of this bill.

I am also a member of the Judiciary Committee. Yesterday, we heard a bill that will create a network for transitional housing. There is currently a shortage of transitional housing. This is housing that provides a safe and rehabilitative space for those coming out of the correctional system. This type of housing is set up to assist former inmates in making a smooth transition back into society. We have seen some issues with a few of the transitional houses in Lincoln. This bill would create a network of houses with a board that can help hold operators of transitional housing accountable when issues arise. It will also provide them with resources to create rehabilitative transitional houses.

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

This week marked day 12 of the 108th Legislature, first session. My colleagues elected me to be the chair of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee on the first day of session.

We are only allowed to introduce bills the first 10 days of session. There were a total of 812 bills introduced. I introduced 12 bills this year. Over the next couple of weeks, I will highlight and share about my bills.

LB137 is called the drug induced homicide bill. Unfortunately, we have been seeing more deaths due to fentanyl laced drugs and I have been meeting with families who have unfortunately lost children because their children did not know that they were taking a drug laced with fentanyl. My bill will make it a class IB felony if a person knowingly distributes a drug that causes serious bodily injury or causes death.

LB165 would allow 529 plans to be used to pay for K-12 tuition costs in Nebraska. The Federal Government allowed 529 plans to be used for K-12 tuition costs, but it needed to be passed by each individual state. Nebraska has added every other option that the Federal Government has allowed 529 accounts to be used for except K-12 tuition. I think that we should allow this so that there is no more confusion on what is allowed and what isn’t allowed with our plans.

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

January 4th, 2023

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.

Sen. Suzanne Geist

Sen. Suzanne Geist

District 25
Room 1110
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2731
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