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Sen. Matt Hansen

Sen. Matt Hansen

District 26

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Designating Priority Bills
February 26th, 2016

News for the 26th

Greetings Northeast Lincoln! The Legislature has just finished a week of priority bill designations. Each senator has the opportunity to choose one bill, each committee two bills, and the Speaker up to 25 bills to prioritize in a single session.

This year, my priority bill is LB947, which declares all work-authorized persons eligible to obtain a professional or commercial operating license. Those affected by LB947 are the same population granted eligibility to obtain a drivers license through LB623, a bill passed last session.

Senator Hansen and Union members at the AFL-CIO Luncheon on the February snow day.

Senator Hansen and Union members at the AFL-CIO Luncheon on the February snow day.

2016 Legislation

Last month, I wrote about LB808, relating to the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act, and LB831, relating to automatic license plate readers. Both bills have advanced from the Urban Affairs committee and Judiciary committee, respectively, and have been placed on General File.

LR403: Election Technology

LR403 would create an Election Technology Committee as a special committee of the Legislature to address Nebraska’s aging election technology and equipment. The special committee would study the longevity of technology used by election commissioners and county clerks to conduct elections, and the feasibility of updating or replacing this technology.

LB1089: Tipped Minimum Wage

LB1089 would incrementally increase the minimum wage for persons compensated by way of gratuity from the current $2.13 per hour to $4.50 per hour by January, 2017, or 50 percent of the standard minimum wage.

While the state minimum wage was increased last year through a ballot initiative, the tipped minimum wage has not changed since 1991. In 1991, it was uncoupled from the standard minimum wage which was set at $4.25.

31 states have a higher tipped minimum wage than Nebraska. Increasing Nebraska’s tipped minimum wage would set us in line with Iowa ($4.35 per hour), Colorado ($4.98 per hour), and other neighboring states.

LB1090: NICS Denials Notification (National Instant Criminal Background Check System)

LB1090’s hearing is scheduled for March 3rd, before the Judiciary committee. This bill would require notification of law enforcement by the Nebraska State Patrol of denials of certificates to purchase, lease, rent, or receive transfer of handgyns.

LB1090 would also require an annual written report to the Nebraska State Patrol from state or local law enforcement agencies that have received notifications. The report would include information on certificate denials, the status of any open investigations, and explanations of denials that did not lead to investigations.

This bill is intended to provide law enforcement with the information they need to help prevent the next crime from happening, and to keep our families and communities safe.

Earlier this month…

Two LPS high school students interested in a career in politics shadowed me for a day. They were able to sit in on the morning floor debate and an afternoon committee hearing.


This month, I introduced LB945 before the Agriculture committee. LB945 is the Healthy Food Financing Initiative Act, aimed at alleviating the prevalence of food deserts.

Sen Hansen Food Deserts

Unicameral Update- LB945

If we haven’t heard from you yet, we hope this newsletter will serve as a reminder to contact us with any questions, concerns, or support regarding state legislation.

As always, thanks for reading!

Published February 12, 2016
Unicameral Update

A bill heard by the Agriculture Committee Feb. 9 would create a financing program intended to increase underserved Nebraskans’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other healthy food.

LB945, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen, would provide $150,000 to the program for fiscal year 2016-2017 and again for FY2017-2018. The state Department of Economic Development would contract with community development entities, which would award grants for eligible projects such as grocery store renovations and the creation of farmers’ markets, food cooperatives and community gardens.

The bill also would set aside up to $60,000 for the University of Nebraska to conduct a study that would identify areas in Nebraska with limited access to healthy food.

Hansen said that approximately 325,000 Nebraskans live in food deserts—areas that lack easy access to affordable and nutritious food. He said limited access to healthy food affects rural and urban areas and disproportionately affects low-income and minority communities.

“Lack of access to healthy, affordable food ultimately contributes to higher societal costs including increased public costs for providing health services,” Hansen said.

Traci Bruckner, speaking for the Center for Rural Affairs, testified in support of the bill. Research shows that rural grocery stores are closing across the nation, she said, making access to healthy food more difficult.

Data on rural Nebraska grocery stores is not available, she said, but in Iowa more than 43 percent of grocery stores in towns with less than 1,000 people have closed. In Kansas, 38 percent of grocery stores in towns with less than 2,500 people closed between 2006 and 2009.

Small stores could receive grants for distribution projects that would make it easier for them to stock fresh fruits and vegetables, she said.

Kathy Siefken, representing the Nebraska Grocery Industry Association, testified in opposition to the bill, saying that it could exacerbate the problem it intends to solve. Funding food cooperatives or farmers’ markets that compete with small rural grocery stores, which operate on thin margins, could force them to close, she said.

The committee took no immediate action on the bill.

The 2016 Second Session Begins
January 29th, 2016

News for the 26th

Greetings Northeast Lincoln! We’ve just completed the sixteenth day of session, with bill introductions ending and committee hearings beginning. For a list of new bills and hearing schedules, visit Continue reading for information about our newly introduced bills.

Photo from Unicameral Update- Hall of Fame

Photo from Unicameral Update- Hall of Fame

LB945: Healthy Food Financing Initiative

With the closing of Hy-Vee Mainstreet nearly a year ago, many Northeast Lincoln residents are now living in a ‘food desert.’ This term was popularized in 2006 in a study done by Mari Gallagher. Food deserts are defined as low income areas with low access to fresh, healthy and affordable foods. Today, 18% of Nebraskans live in food deserts, affecting both rural and urban populations, and now many in my district.

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative establishes a source of funding in the form of loans, grants, and interest rate assistance, on a competitive, one-time basis, to projects committed to providing regular offerings of healthy and affordable foods in food desert areas. LB945 has been referenced to the Agriculture Committee; a  hearing date has not been set.

LB1031: Railroad Transportation Safety

This bill changes the levy authority of Railroad Transportation Safety Districts (RTSDs). We’ve introduced this bill to encourage the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County to work together to increase the safety of railroad crossings. Two crossings that may be affected are 33rd and Cornhusker Streets, and 35th and Adams Streets.

This bill has been referenced to the Revenue Committee; a hearing date has not been set.

LB896: Longevity Pay

This bill requires pay increases for state employees to recognize length of service and their commitment to the State of Nebraska. These pay increases will be in addition to any other pay increases provided for in state law or in any collective bargaining agreement.

The introduced longevity raise is similar to legislation introduced in other Midwestern states. We hope to establish longevity raises as a permanent component of the Nebraska state employees system. This bill has been referenced to the Business and Labor Committee.

Photo from the ACLU of Nebraska

Photo from the ACLU of Nebraska

LB831- “Today I’m not only standing up for the privacy of all Nebraskans, I’m standing for wise use of our tax payer funds”

Meet Our New Interns!

Please welcome our new interns: Sarah Wagelie and Joe Gruber. Sarah is in her final year at UNL, and will graduate in May with a degree in Political Science and a Public Policy Analysis Certificate. She is joining us from Nebraskans for Civic Reform. Joe is a sophomore at UNL, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Community and Regional Planning. Joe thinks state government is pretty cool, which effectively sums up how we feel about our new interns!

Until next time…

If you have questions or concerns about legislation or the legislative process, please let us know! Our office is always happy to help.

We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.

Day six bill introduction
January 19th, 2016
Published January 13, 2016
Unicameral Update

Senators reconvened Jan. 13 to introduce bills for the 104th Legislature, second session.

Among the 18 bills introduced were:

LB936, sponsored by Crete Sen. Laura Ebke, which would change inheritance tax rates and exemption amounts;

LB938, sponsored by Papillion Sen. Jim Smith, which would adopt the 911 Service System Act and transfer funds from the Enhanced Wireless 911 Fund to the 911 Service System Fund;

LB939, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Heath Mello, which would adopt the Nebraska Early Childhood Advantage Act;

LB940, sponsored by Wahoo Sen. Jerry Johnson, which would adopt the Tax Stabilization Act;

LB944, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen, which would change terminology relating to parentage and marital relationships;

LB945, also sponsored by Hansen, which would adopt the Nebraska Healthy Food Financing Initiative Act;

LB948, sponsored by Lincoln Sen. Adam Morfeld, which would change an application period limitation for the designation of enterprise zones;

LB951, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Burke Harr, which would adopt the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Act;

LB952, sponsored by Syracuse Sen. Dan Watermeier, which would require availability of emergency medical services and change membership of the Board of Emergency Medical Services; and

LB953, sponsored by Seward Sen. Mark Kolterman, which would provide protection for qualified adults from financial exploitation.

A complete list of bills introduced thus far is available at New bills may be introduced until Jan. 20.

Committee hearings will begin Jan. 19.

Sen. Matt Hansen

District 26
Room #2010
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2610
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