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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.
Sen. Kate Bolz
On August 1, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human services will begin accepting applications for those eligible for Medicaid Expansion. Under the changes passed by Nebraska voters, if your income is less than amounts in the table below, you may be eligible for Medicaid enrollment:
For a full breakdown of what’s covered under Medicaid Expansion, as well as a breakdown of the application process, please visit the Department’s presentation, Heritage Health Adult – Community Partners.
You can apply any of the following ways:
-Visit your local DHHS office, to locate your office, visit: http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/Public-Assistance-Offices.aspx
If you have questions about the application process, you can call my office at 402-471-2734 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week, the Nebraska Department of Labor announced that Nebraska will begin offering the Extended Benefits (EB) program for eligible individuals who exhaust their previous unemployment benefits. The program offers an additional 13 weeks of unemployment who have exhausted their initial unemployment, as well as the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Eligibility criteria is available here: https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/attach/UIPL/UIPL_24-20.pdf
The Nebraska Department of Labor will be reaching out to individuals eligible, and the extended unemployment benefit should be the same as the previous benefit.
My office is still here to assist with any issues that arise during the unemployment process, or any issues regarding state government in general. Please contact me at 402-471-2734 or email@example.com, and we will be happy to assist.
In the last few weeks, our community has been having a conservation about the balance between keeping people safe and responding humanely to the pain of racism and injustice. It’s clear we have a lot of work to do to confront uncomfortable truths and find a shared way forward.
I believe one of the best ways for me to be a good ally is to be a good listener and to work hard to be an elected official that supports racial equality. I’m listening to diverse leaders in my community and learning. Last week at the Malone Center, agency staff along with the police chief shared that the Lincoln community is working with local law enforcement to develop these kinds of community-based responses.
This week the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee held listening sessions in Omaha and Lincoln. I attended the Lincoln session, and was encouraged by the turnout in our community, and the thoughtful ideas brought forward in the session. I’m working with my colleagues to bring forward reform proposals when the legislature reconvenes in July, and we will remain committed to finding solutions to these inequalities.
In March, when the risks of COVID-19 to the general public and our health infrastructure became clear, the Legislature took the unprecedented step of going into recess. We briefly reconvened to pass emergency relief funding, and have been in recess since.
Recently, Speaker Scheer has announced that we will be reconvening on Monday, July 20, and adjourning on Thursday, August 13. You can view the updated session calendar here.
Nearly every corner of our state’s economy has been affected by COVID-19, and the Legislature will need to address these economic challenges. I’ve heard from many of you who have been directly impacted and I am working with my colleagues and community stakeholders to find the most effective way we can leverage state resources to help.
CARES Act Transparency
In March, the Federal Government passed a significant amount of emergency Coronavirus relief funds through the CARES Act. In order to ensure that these funds are administered in a way that most helps Nebraskans, my colleagues and I have sent a letter to Governor Ricketts, asking him to promote transparency and responsiveness in administering CARES Act funding and the Coronavirus Relief Fund. We’ve outlined a number of steps, including a public comment period, public database of funds, and hearings which are open to the public, among other suggestions. CARES Act Funds Letter June 10.
The high number of unemployment claims that have been filed with the Nebraska Department of Labor has meant that 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 471-2734 and we can work with the Department of Labor to see when you can expect payments to begin.
How to Contact Me
If you need assistance with Nebraska’s state government, or you’d like to share your legislative priorities, you can email me at KBolz@leg.ne.gov, or call my office at 402-471-2734.
Unicameral Update and NET Coverage
To stay up to date on the news of the Legislature, you can follow the Unicameral Update, a daily publication put out by the Clerk of the Legislature. Among the topics covered by the Unicameral Update include legislative activity, floor debate and committee hearings. Additionally, NET has gavel-to-gavel coverage over the air on the NET World channel and streaming online.
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 email@example.com, and he can help with coordinating a time for a phone call.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We are working remotely, but checking in regularly.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com, and we can work with the Department of Labor to see when you can expect payments to begin.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and my office will be happy to assist you.
Crisis Response Resources for COVID-19
Includes local, state, and national informational resources and guidelines
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Senator Kate Bolz, (402) 802-8312, email@example.com
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
For Immediate Release
December 30, 2019
Contact: Senator Kate Bolz, (402) 802-8312
Economic Development Task Force Recommendations Respond to Workforce Demands
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