NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Kate Bolz

Sen. Kate Bolz

District 29

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 kbolz@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 8th, 2020

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 29th 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. Kate Bolz

On Friday, May 15th, I’ll be holding remote open office hours, and will be available by phone for meetings. If there are any COVID, legislative or state issues you’d like to share with me, I invite you to get in touch and schedule a time to talk.

To schedule a time, you can email my administrative aid Sam at shuppert@leg.ne.gov, and he can help with coordinating a time for a phone call.

Hello,

The past few months, all of us have faced varying degrees of challenges and adjustments to our lives.  Through this, we’ve seen many essential workers and first responders continue to do incredible work the face of unprecedented uncertainty.  I’ve been proud of the work that our state government has done in helping Nebraskans get through this difficult time.  We are here to help as well.  You can still call and email us at (402) 471-2734 and kbolz@leg.ne.gov.  We are working remotely, but checking in regularly.

 

Coronavirus Q&A

In March my office compiled a list of frequently asked questions about Coronavirus, and places Nebraskans can go for more information. We’ve recently updated this document, and have added new information on unemployment insurance, elder care, crisis hotlines and small business assistance. To view the May 1 update of the COVID-19 resources Q&A, you can do so here.  

Budget Op-Ed

Last week week, I shared my thoughts in the Lincoln Journal Star on how to best navigate the challenging budget circumstances that our state faces. 

There will be some economic pain ahead as state revenue declines, however, our state a stronger economic position than many others, and now is the time for us to maximize our state resources by addressing emergency needs (including ongoing assistance for flooding recovery and support for healthcare providers), family economic stability, helping businesses and nonprofits move forward, getting people back to work, retaining government institutions, and supporting local governments. If you’d like to read my full editorial, you can do so here. 

Reopening Healthcare Exchanges

In the Legislature, we’ve been looking at ways to provide additional help to Nebraskans. Last month, members of the Legislature sent correspondence to our Federal Delegation asking the federal healthcare exchange to be reopened in response to the virus. 

For those with short term coverage, opening the marketplace would provide an insurance option for individuals throughout this pandemic, a crucial step to enhancing our community’s general health and ability to control the spread of COVID. To read the letter, click here.

Frontline Worker Safety

Additionally, we’ve sent a letter to Governor Ricketts outlining suggestions for how we can utilize state government resources to help essential workers. This included adding grocery store workers, pharmacy workers, and food production workers the state definition of essential workers. 

The past week, we’ve seen this crisis explode at food production sites, and these employees need the same protections that we’ve given to other industries of essential workers. Doing this is critical to the safety of employees, but also to maintain food security statewide.

We’ve also requested that where possible, state employees work remotely and the state expand social distancing at workplaces where remote work is not possible. If you’d like to read the full letter, you can do so here. 

Unemployment Claims

Because of the high number of unemployment claims that have been filed with the Nebraska Department of Labor, some claims have taken a long time to be processed. If you’ve waited a significant amount of time for unemployment payments to begin, please reach out to me at kbolz@leg.ne.gov, and we can work with the Department of Labor to see when you can expect payments to begin. 

Insurance Updates

Recently, the Nebraska Department of Insurance issued guidance to insurance companies, clarifying that they are allowed to relax notice of loss requirements, premium payment provisions, and cancelation for non-renewal in response to COVID-19, as long as these policies are standardized and applied on a fair and consistent basis across all policies. Each insurance company is responding to consumer challenges meeting policy payments individually, but if you have questions about this, you should contact your insurance company directly. 

Furthermore, the federal government offers the following information for individuals with lapsed coverage and those whose insurance is provided through the Marketplace at https://www.healthcare.gov/apply-and-enroll/health-insurance-grace-period/

Today I’ve released “COVID-19 and State Government Services: Questions and Answers for Nebraskans” The document contains fifty frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and state government services, along with answers and resources.

This guide is a resource for Nebraskans seeking information about state government services and COVID-19. We are grateful to the state employees and agencies working to serve Nebraskans at this difficult time. This guide provides simple answers to questions we’ve received in our office and resources for people in District #29 and across the state.

Click here to access COVID-19 and State Government Services: Questions and Answers for Nebraskans

 

Attached are a list of local, state and national crisis response resources for COVID-19. I’ll continue to update my legislative blog as additional resources are made available. If you have any questions or need assistance during this time, please email me at kbolz@leg.ne.gov and my office will be happy to assist you.

Crisis Response Resources for COVID-19

LINCOLN

    • Grab-n-go Breakfast and Lunch (through Lincoln Public Schools)
      • Lincoln Public School students can go to any of these sites for a meal. Students must be present. One meal per student. Monday-Friday from 11am-12:30pm (or while supplies last)
        • SCHOOLS: Belmont, Arnold, and Hartley elementary schools, Park middle school, and Northeast high school. 
    • Food Bank of Lincoln (Food BackPacks and Food Pantries)
      • Schools with LPS BackPack Program:
        • For those families currently receiving BackPacks from the Food Bank of Lincoln, they will continue BackPack distribution on the regularly scheduled Friday afternoons. Distribution will begin BackPack according to each school’s regularly scheduled dismissal time and continue for 30 minutes.
      • School Food Markets:
        • Food Markets will temporarily take place outside of school buildings during the school’s regularly scheduled day and time. To simplify distribution and increase health and safety, food will come pre-bagged, except produce, bread and meat, which will be bagged onsite. Look for them close to the front door of your school.
      • LPS Emergency Pantry:
  • Food Bank of Lincoln
  • AA Meetings via Conference Call
      • Pause a While will host free conference calls for AA meetings
      • 2pm everyday
      • Call (425) 436-6360; Access Code: 422932#
  • Bryan Health
    • COVID-19 Hotline – (402) 481-0500
      • A nurse will answer medical questions about the COVID-19 coronavirus 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • ezVisit COVID-19 Online Screening Questionnaire
      • To access the COVID-19 screening tool, visit bryanhealthezvisit.org or download the Bryan Health ezVisit app. The screening is free. Patients are asked a series of questions. 
      • In addition, Bryan Health ezVisit is offering complimentary visits for individuals experiencing symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Enter the promo code COVID19 at the payment screen and the visit will be free.
    • Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing
      • Bryan Health will offer a drive-thru testing location at our Bryan LifePointe Campus where individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 – and have completed a screening – can be tested. The opening of the drive-by testing location will occur as soon as we receive confirmation of delivery of additional test kits.

STATEWIDE

  • Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Includes local, state, and national informational resources and guidelines 

NATIONAL

  • Online AA Meetings
  • Free/Discounted Educational Resources
    • List of educational companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t3r618pd8MAi6V87dG2D66PtiKoHdHusBpjPKXgm36w/htmlview?fbclid=IwAR3SBsUpiv3rARC23PleB-1mkWcJrXdtGRG9g195dGNQpBwg_rsf6KmhKvQ#gid=0

 

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Senator Kate Bolz, (402) 802-8312, kbolz@leg.ne.gov

New legislation would cap the cost of insulin in Nebraska

January 13, 2020 (Lincoln, NE) — Senator Kate Bolz introduced legislation today to improve insulin affordability in Nebraska. The bill caps the total co-pay for a one month supply of insulin at $100. Over the past fourteen years, the out of pocket cost of many insulin brands increased 555% adjusted for inflation, according to the American Medical Association. 

“For the 174,000 Nebraskans with diabetes, the spike in insulin costs is a real problem,” said Senator Kate Bolz. “These are our relatives, friends and neighbors who have to make decisions they know will damage their health, simply because they can no longer afford their insulin dosage.” 

According to the American Medical Association, nearly 1 in 4 diabetics have reported rationing or skipping insulin doses because of cost. Deviating from prescribed insulin can result in serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness, and death. From 2012 to 2016, the average annual cost of insulin nationwide has increased from $2,900 per year to $5,700. Currently, no medication is known to substitute for insulin to manage diabetes.  

The legislation brought by Senator Bolz proposes to cap patient out of pocket expenses for prescription insulin drugs to no more than $100 per month. The bill would be suspended if it results in an insurance premium increase of more than 3 percent. 

“With over 7 million Americans relying on insulin to live, the American Diabetes Association is committed to bringing down insulin prices for all those who need it. Senator Bolz’s efforts to make insulin more affordable and accessible is a critical step towards that goal, and we applaud her for standing up for the more than 170,000 Nebraskans living with diabetes,” said Christine Fallabel, Director of State Government Affairs with the American Diabetes Association. 

The 174,000 Nebraskans with diabetes represent 11.6% of the state’s population, and 8,000 additional Nebraskans receive a diagnosis each year. Furthermore, an additional 487,000 (38.5% of the state’s population) have prediabetes. Of these Nebraskans, the American Diabetes Association projects that 15% to 30% will develop diabetes in the next ten years. 

“The insulin cost crisis in our state is an unprecedented health issue in cost and scale,” said Senator Kate Bolz. “We simply can’t continue a situation where 1 in 10 Nebraskans rely on a drug that doubles in price every few years. This bill addresses insulin affordability while protecting insurance premium payers.” 

Senator Kate Bolz of Lincoln represents District #29 in the Nebraska Legislature
###

Bolz Insulin Release 1-13-2020

PRESS RELEASE 

For Immediate Release
December 30, 2019
Contact: Senator Kate Bolz, (402) 802-8312 

Economic Development Task Force Recommendations Respond to Workforce Demands 

Lincoln, NE: The Economic Development Task Force of the Nebraska Legislature released recommendations today regarding workforce development. 

Recognizing economic development as a priority, the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature established the Economic Development Task Force in 2017. The task force is responsible for making recommendations to the legislature regarding economic development in the state. The task force identified workforce development as a priority. 

“Nebraskans have a strong work ethic and the state as a whole has a low unemployment rate. At the same time, our state faces a mismatch between available workers and the skills needed by employers. Specific shortage areas include: information technology, science, technology, engineering, and math, building trades, and more. The Economic Development Task Force recommendations support new opportunities for education and training for workers to grow our businesses and communities,” states Senator Kate Bolz, chair of the task force. 

The workforce development recommendations include:

i. Recommendation: Support a longitudinal data system to identify gaps in our education and training system, respond to those needs, and build on strengths.

ii. Recommendation: Invest in apprenticeship programs aligned with high demand skills and industries.

iii. Recommendation: Develop a career-education scholarship program for students pursuing careers in high demand, high skill, high wage jobs.

iv. Recommendation: Retain young Nebraskans with needed skill sets through student loan repayment initiatives. 

“Nebraska has difficulty retaining and attracting young talent – our state has one of the lowest growth rates for the population 25-29-years old. Overall, Nebraska has an annual “workforce deficit” of 24,600 per year, ” said Senator John Arch, vice chair of the task force. “Our recommendations provide short and long term strategies for promoting good jobs and vibrant communities.” 

The members of the committee included the following: 

Chairperson of the Appropriations Committee: Senator John Stinner
Chairperson of the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee: Senator Matt Williams
Chairperson of the Urban Affairs Committee: Senator Justin Wayne
Chairperson of the Revenue Committee: Senator Lou Ann Linehan
Chairperson of the Planning Committee: Senator Tony Vargas
Chairperson of the Education Committee: Senator Mike Groene
Chairperson of the Business and Labor Committee: Senator Matt Hanson
At Large: Senator Kate Bolz, Senator Dan Quick, Senator John Arch 

Committee Chair: Senator Kate Bolz
Committee Vice Chair: Senator John Arch 

##### 

Press Release Economic Development Task Force Report

2019 Economic Development Task Force Report

January 3 Open Office Hours
December 26th, 2019

Next week, I’ll be holding open office hours from noon to 5pm on Friday, January 3. With the 2020 legislative session starting on January 8, if there are any state issues or legislative ideas you’d like to share with me before the session starts, I invite you to get in touch and schedule a time to meet.

To schedule a time, you can call or email my administrative aid Sam at 402-471-2734 or shuppert@leg.ne.gov. My office is located on the northwest corner of the first floor of the state capitol, in room 1015. Parking is available on the west and south sides of the building.

The following op-ed, submitted by Senator Gragert and I, appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star on December 4

Water is the lifeblood of Nebraska. It fuels our economy and sustains our quality of life.

Despite floods, droughts, pests and economic challenges, our valuable water resources and their effective management have made Nebraska a global leader in agriculture. In fact, we have more irrigated acres than any other state, including California.

Yet even as Nebraska has maintained its water resources, food and water insecurity is becoming an increasingly urgent global challenge. Almost 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night – making this both a quality of life and international security issue.

Closer to home, this year’s devastating floods across Nebraska are a powerful reminder of the importance of effective water management, particularly in the face of an unpredictable climate.

As the Appropriations Committee heard in a recent hearing on water research at our university, the people of our state are fortunate that our University of Nebraska is leading the way in developing solutions.

This year the university is celebrating 150 years of research and education. Since the beginning, the university has focused on water, agriculture and the management of critical resources. Researchers and students have a rich history of working closely with our farmers, ranchers and resource managers to develop new technology and find better ways of managing water to achieve maximum production, without over-using this precious resource.

We deepened our investment over a decade ago when a founding gift from the Robert B. Daugherty Foundation helped create the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska, a system-wide effort to bring the talents and expertise of faculty across the campuses to address the enormous challenge of achieving water and food security for our growing world. 

In just 10 years, the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute has developed a reputation as the go-to resource for water and agriculture productivity innovations. Senators heard just a few examples of the interconnected issues our university tackles on a daily basis, including drought, floods and other weather extremes; water and soil contamination; changing diets and demands for more water-intensive foods; economic disparities and conflict; and the infrastructure needed for sustainable agricultural production and effective water management.

We’re already seeing new innovations borne of partnerships between the university and farmers and ranchers. For example, many Nebraska farmers are now using drones to keep an eye on their fields and see the pockets of crops that need water. They use soil moisture probes that send data to satellites and accessed by smartphone. They have specialized meters attached to their wells, measuring the energy used to pump water for irrigation.

Our ranchers are also doing remarkable work with the university, implementing new practices for producing beef, chicken and dairy products that are served at Michelin star restaurants around the world – but with significantly less water than it took 25 years ago.

We have much to be proud of in our agricultural heritage, but Nebraska’s continued global leadership will require more work and more investment. All of us should have a goal to make certain families have dinner on the table every night. That’s a future we think we can achieve – through continued support of University of Nebraska research and with the engagement of Nebraskans who have made our agriculture and natural resources management so successful.

Senator Kate Bolz represents District 29. Senator Tim Gragert Represents District 40. 

We’ll be out celebrating Independence Day this weekend and my office will be closed on Friday, July 5th.

I’ll be in the district on Friday, if you need to reach me, you can call directly at 402-802-8312. You can also leave my office a voicemail at 402-471-2734 and we will return your call on Monday.

Sen. Kate Bolz

District 29
Room #1015
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2734
Email: kbolz@leg.ne.gov
Search Senator Page:
Committee Assignments
Search Current Bills
Search Laws
Live Video Streaming
Find Your Senator