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Thank you for visiting my website. It is my hope to write frequent updates so that you know what is happening in the District 29 Legislative Office.
First of all, as a Freshman Senator, I am busy learning as much about the legislative process as possible. My days currently consist of meetings, legislative debate in the mornings, Appropriations Committee briefings and hearings in the afternoons, and sometimes attending events at night.
State senators can only introduce bills during the first ten days of the session. All bills are assigned to a committee, and all bills will have hearings. Legislative hearings take place during the first half of the session. During the second half, when hearings are over, senators spend most of the days on the legislative floor debating bills that have advanced out of committee. This year, the Nebraska Legislature will be in session for 90 days; next year, we will meet for 60 days.
I introduced eight bills this session. Two of those bills have already had hearings. LB 297 would add coroners to a section of the workers’ compensation benefits law. The bill would provide coroners with benefits for mental injury if the injury occurred while performing their duties as coroners. Current law already provides this coverage for employees who are working as first responders. Coroners are asked to witness some truly horrific sites. I believe we need to help them recover from a mental injury just as we currently cover physical injuries that are job related. LB 297 was heard before the Business and Labor Committee on January 28, and there has been no further action on the bill since the hearing.
LB 264 would provide an income tax credit for caregivers. Specifically, the bill would give a $500 annual tax credit to caregivers, starting in 2013, for caring for a disabled person over the age of 65. In order to qualify for these tax credits, caregivers must earn less than or equal to 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Baby Boomers are growing older. Costs are very high to take care of our elderly citizens in nursing homes or assisted living centers. If we can help Middle Class families who take care of family members in their homes by giving them a tax credit, it will help their family budgets and save the state Medicaid dollars. LB 264 was heard by the Revenue Committee on February 1st. No action has been taken on this bill by the Revenue Committee.
Please feel free to contact my legislative office. You can email me at email@example.com, or send a letter to: Senator Kate Bolz, District 29, State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509. You may also call my office at 402 – 471 – 2734. My staff and I look forward to hearing from you.