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Greetings Northeast Lincoln! This month I had the pleasure of attending the Wreaths Across America ceremony in the Warned Chamber. I was presented with a wreath honoring veterans, and accepted it on behalf of the Nebraska Legislature.
The tradition of laying wreaths began in 1992, when the Worcester Wreath Company in Maine donated 5,000 wreaths to be placed on headstones at the Arlington Cemetery. As part of the program, Wreaths Across America sends a wreath to each state capitol to honor veterans during the holiday season. Over 1,000 locations around the nation participate in this event. This was the sixth year that Lincoln has participated.
On Saturday, December 12th, Wyuka Cemetery will host another ceremony, where over 600 wreaths will be placed on the graves of veterans in the Soldier Circle.
The 2016 Session
The 2016 Legislative Session will begin on Wednesday, January 6th. The Nebraska Constitution requires that the Legislature convene annually on the first Wednesday after the first Monday in January. Sessions in odd-numbered years last 90 days, and those in even-numbered years last 60.
During this short session, the first three days will consist mainly of bill introductions. Additionally, on the first day of session, the Legislature will elect a Retirement Committee Chair, a position that became vacant with the resignation of Senator Nordquist.
While there has been some rearranging of committee positions, I remain on the General Affairs committee; Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs committee and the Urban Affairs committee.
The ACCESSNebraska Special Investigative Committee has made its final report to the Legislature for the year. The committee finds that ACCESSNebraska has seen significant improvement over the last several months.
Many changes made to the system under the new administration should be attributable to these improvements; recognition by officials of the operational challenges plaguing ACCESSNebraska allowed DHHS to make necessary modifications. These include the creation of targeted lists and work groups which have helped the system rise from the critical stage it was formerly in. Additionally, allowing for the cross-sharing of documents between Economic Assistance and Medicaid and Long-Term Care has enabled clients to cut down on the amount of paperwork they must complete. It’s also important to recognize ACCESSNebraska’s long-term employees, who have continued to work hard through additional training and overtime hours, and continue to advocate for the ACCESSNebraska program.
The committee recommends that ACCESNebraska officials continue to explore funding opportunities that would allow the system to update its technology, to support the changing needs of social assistance programs. The committee does not recommend any related legislation, but does recommend at least one more year of legislative oversight.
With the start of the new year, our office will begin sending out newsletters at the end of the month rather than the beginning, as we’ve done in the past.
We look forward to hearing from you! As always, thanks for reading.