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

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 http://dhhs.ne.gov/pages/accessnebraska.aspx

-Call 855-632-7633

-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 kbolz@leg.ne.gov

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 kbolz@leg.ne.gov, and we will be happy to assist.

June Legislative Update
June 17th, 2020

Hello,

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. 

Resuming Session

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

Unemployment Claims

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 kbolz@leg.ne.gov 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 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

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

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:
Topics

You are currently browsing the District 29 News and Information blog archives for the year 2020.

Committee Assignments
Search Current Bills
Search Laws
Live Video Streaming
Find Your Senator