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Greetings Northeast Lincoln! This September, the capitol tower will shine red for Hunger Action Month. The tower lighting was sponsored by the Food Bank for the Heartland and Lincoln, a non-profit organization that delivers food to schools, pantries, and shelters from Nebraska to Western Iowa. The office of the Capitol Commission invites you to view Lincoln’s changing colors from the tower’s observation decks. They are open during public hours, and are accessible via the northeast elevator. To see the capitol’s public hours, go to capitol.nebraska.gov.
Over the course of the summer, I had the pleasure of attending two legislative conferences. The Council for State Governments (CGS) held it’s Midwest Meeting at the event center in Bismarck, North Dakota, and the National Council of State Legislators (NCSL) Summit was held in Seattle, Washington. NCSL is a bipartisan organization that provides research and technical assistance to legislators and staff. Prior to the Summit, I was appointed to NCSL’s Legislative Effectiveness standing committee to examine practices, procedures, and strategies promoting effectiveness among legislatures. The committee’s next meeting will be this December in Washington, D.C.
Interim hearings have been scheduled for General and Urban Affairs Committees. General Affairs will meet on September 25th and October 23rd. In September, the committee will hear LR288 and LR290, examining issues related to public libraries, and LR307, examining issues that fall under General Affairs’ jurisdiction. In October, the committee will review LR287, examining licensure of craft breweries, and LR289, examining UNL alcohol policies.
The Urban Affairs committee has scheduled hearings on September 25th, October 23rd, and November 5th. The first hearing will address two resolutions: LR512, examining the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act of 1991, and LR155, examining potential economic development tools for municipalities. In October, the committee will hear LR278, examining tools for municipalities to encourage neighborhood revitalization, and LR174, examining issues surrounding the Nebraska Energy Code. The third hearing will be held at the Lifelong Learning Center at Northeast Community College in Norfolk.
The Government committee has not yet scheduled any fall hearings. However, two of my interim studies will be addressed in this committee. LR196 examines current statutes governing population thresholds while LR335 examines the Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s latest report.
ACCESSNebraska’s first hearing of the session was held on July 17th. At the hearing, DHHS shared ACCESSNebraska performance metrics for the months of May and June. The metric program began recording in April to measure the system’s functionality. More recently, DHHS shared performance metrics for the month of July.
July’s metrics show that most categories have seen performance improvements since April. On the Economic Assistance (EA) side, both expedited and non-expedited applications are meeting federal standards of processing timeliness. Also on the EA side, metrics show a major decrease in average call wait times since June- from 23 minutes and 10 seconds to 15 minutes and 51 seconds. Call wait times have not been this short since October of 2014.
In addition to these successes, the number of Nebraskans enrolled in SNAP has increased in number of households and number of individuals for the last three months.
On the Medicaid side, application timeliness for Children and Families, and the Aged and Disabled has improved to exceed federal standards. However, Medicaid has seen continual decreases in total enrollment, Children and Families enrollment, and Aged and disabled enrollment for the last four months.
The next special investigative committee hearing has not yet been scheduled.
On August 18th, Nicole Fox was sworn in to office by Governor Ricketts. Appointed by the Governor, she will represent LD 7, effectively replacing Jeremy Nordquist.. Senator Fox has been assigned to two committees: Health and Human Services, and Banking, Commerce & Insurance.
Don’t miss the last University Place Community Market of the season on Wednesday, September 16th. The market will have produce, food, and crafts, from 3-7pm at 48th and Madison streets.
On September 19th, Speak Truth to Sexual Violence is sponsoring an Assault Awareness Rally at noon on the North Plaza.
The Nebraska Legislature is seeking Legislative Pages for the upcoming session. Call the Clerk’s office at (402) 471-5100 to request an application. Applications will be due by Wednesday, September 30th.
Senator Hansen’s office is seeking an intern for the upcoming session. Please e-mail email@example.com for more information.
Now that we have reached the interim, our office will not be sending out a monthly newsletter, but we will continue to keep you up-to date with less frequent newsletters. My staff will continue to be available to you during normal business hours.
We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.