NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
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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

A New Session

January 4th, 2018

As we begin the 2018 Nebraska Unicameral Legislative session, you, my constituents, are on the top of my mind.  It is important to me to continue to stay in touch with you to let you know about the work that I am doing to represent District #29 as well as to hear your thoughts and ideas.

As the session moves forward, please feel free to contact me at (402) 471-2734.  You can also reach me via email at kbolz@leg.ne.gov.  At the end of session, I expect to have another legislative issues forum, where we can walk through the major legislative changes that were enacted and you can give me your input on our district’s priorities moving forward.

This session, some of my priorities include:

  • Balancing the state budget: Our state faces a significant budget shortfall which must be balanced this session.  I will work to protect your priorities, such as education, while making tough decisions about expenditures.  I welcome your input.
  • Public safety:  As you know, the state’s correctional system has faced challenges in recent years.  We must continue to address our overcrowded institutions while maintaining public safety by using parole options and by providing resources to make our institutions more safe and civil.
  • Jobs: Workforce development continues to be a major challenge for Nebraska businesses.  I will be proposing several pieces of legislation that promote job creation and job quality in our state.

I look forward to working with you and my colleagues to build a stronger Nebraska for all of us. I wish you the best in 2018.

Sincerely,

Senator Kate Bolz
Legislative District #29

The following opinion editorial ran in the Omaha-World Herald on November 19, 2017:

Midlands Voices Nov 19, 2017

Howard, of Omaha, represents District 9 in the Nebraska Legislature. Bolz, of Lincoln, represents District 29.

In Nebraska, the Department of Health and Human Services is trusted with the responsibility to protect children from harm.

As state senators serving on the Health and Human Services and Appropriations Committees, we take our role in providing oversight for children’s safety very seriously. We applaud the caseworkers, foster parents, extended families and others who are working hard to make Nebraska children safe and families successful.

Recently, however, the Department of Health and Human Services submitted documents to the Legislature showing that resources for the Division of Children and Family Services will fall a total of $61.5 million short for fiscal 2018 and 2019.

This follows a session in which the division testified to the Legislature that it did not require additional resources and could take on more responsibilities for kinship care and training.

After a gubernatorial veto that cut child welfare service provider rates, it is now more difficult than ever to guarantee that Nebraska will have the services, and providers, to ensure the safety of children.

Let’s cut to the heart of the matter: The Department of Health and Human Services deserves credit for examining ways to do things more effectively, and we respect the decision to ask for needed funding.

However, there must be a new commitment from both the Legislature and the administration to fund and support the child welfare system moving forward in a way that achieves our child welfare goals of prevention of maltreatment and stability for families.

As a state, we have work to do. The most recent report of the inspector general of child welfare cites nine reports of death or serious injury to a child in the custody of our state foster care system. It further notes a disturbing increase in sexual abuse cases and a need for an investigation into mental health needs and suicide attempts by state wards.

Also, while our state succeeds on some federal benchmarks, we fall short on measures relating to timeliness to reunification of children with family members and preventing recurring maltreatment in foster care.

As state senators, we are also mindful of the long-running problem of an overburdened protection and safety workforce. High caseloads, staff turnover and vacancies remain a source of stress for our child welfare system.

Finally, we know that parental substance use is a challenge in our child welfare system, and we need to look at opportunities for our child welfare system and our behavioral health system to partner in prevention and treatment.

As a state, we must do our part to prevent tragedies for children in the first place. The most pressing and obvious strategy is to provide adequate resources to serve the children entering the system and to ensure that there are enough caseworkers to appropriately support families.

Another is not to over-promise the ability and capacity of our current system or to underestimate future needs.

Specifically, we urge this administration to invest in a strong and efficient protection and safety workforce, to review data in order to accurately predict utilization and to embrace focused public-private partnerships that help serve children. This may mean investing more in caseworkers, reworking existing contracts and building stronger partnerships with service providers and the Divisions of Behavioral Health and Medicaid.

We also call on our colleagues in the Legislature. In this time of fiscal shortfall, the Legislature has an extraordinarily tough job of deciding who must do more with less. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Children and Family Services should not be on that list.

As the adults entrusted with responsibility for our kids, let’s rebuild our commitment to partnership, budget reality and problem-solving in our child welfare system.

Howard, of Omaha, represents District 9 in the Nebraska Legislature. Bolz, of Lincoln, represents District 29.

With Halloween coming up on Tuesday, now is a great time to brush up on the following safety tips provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services:

Keep the ‘Happy’ in Happy Halloween With These Safety Tips

In addition to pumpkins, decorations, costumes and treats, make sure safety is part of your Halloween plan. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services offers the following tips to help ensure Nebraskans have a safe and happy Halloween:

Be present – children and adults are reminded to put electronic devices down, keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.

Use extra caution – when driving, slow down and watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.

Go together – older kids who are going trick-or-treating with friends should stick to a predetermined route, while young children should go with a trusted adult. Never enter a stranger’s home

Be visible – use reflective tape on their costumes and bags. Kids can carry glow sticks or flashlights to be more visible to others and drivers.

Clear vision – wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

Save your treats – parents should inspect candy and treats to make sure they are sealed and show no signs of tampering.

Flame-resistant – be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes and don’t walk near lit candles or luminaries. Keep jack-o’-lanterns lit with candles away from doorsteps and walkways, and consider using glow sticks instead of candles.

For more Halloween safety tips, go to http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/, http://www.safekids.org/halloween and https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/100.pdf.

2017 District #29 Survey

August 29th, 2017

District #29 Survey Link

As your State Senator, focusing on the priorities that matter most you is important to me. These priorities include education, job creation, tax fairness, and serving children and seniors. As we prepare for the 2018 Legislative Session, I will examine survey results to inform my policy decisions in the next session and into the future.

Please share your thoughts by filling out this survey: District #29 Survey Link

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Your suggestions, ideas, and concerns are important to me! You are also welcome to call my office at (402) 471-2743 or email me at kbolz@leg.ne.gov.

Thank you for your input!
Sincerely,

Senator Kate Bolz

Apply to be a Legislative Page

August 23rd, 2017

If you are a Nebraska college student who is looking to get involved in the legislature, I encourage you to apply for a legislative page position. Pages perform a variety duties to help the legislature function, including responding to requests from senators on the floor, running errands, delivering messages, photocopying materials, assisting the presiding officer, and assisting committee staff with hearings. These positions are a great way to learn about the legislative process and supplement what you’ve learned in the classroom with job experience.

Applications are available at the Clerk of the Legislature’s Office, Room 2018, State Capitol, 1445 K Street. If you currently live in legislative district #29 or lived in the district in high school, I would be happy to assist with a letter of recommendation. To get in contact with me, please email kbolz@leg.ne.gov. To find your legislative district, you can use the legislature’s “find my senator” tool. Applications are open through 5:00 PM on Friday, September 29, 2017.

For further questions on the page program, you can reach out to my office at 402-471-2734, or the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature at (402) 471-2271.

Requirements: “Pages must be high school graduates who are currently enrolled in a Nebraska college or trade school with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. They must be able to work 20 hours a week during session. It is preferred that they work the same four-hour shift each day. The legislative session will begin January 3, 2018 and end in April 2018. This is a paid position and you may also be able to receive credit hours through your college. First year pages will earn approximately $10.37 per hour and second year pages approximately $10.78 per hour.”

2017 District 29 Survey

July 26th, 2017

District #29 Survey Link

As your State Senator, focusing on the priorities that matter most you is important to me. These priorities include education, job creation, tax fairness, and serving children and seniors. As we prepare for the 2018 Legislative Session, I will examine survey results to inform my policy decisions in the next session and into the future.

Please share your thoughts by filling out this survey: District #29 Survey Link

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Your suggestions, ideas, and concerns are important to me! You are also welcome to call my office at (402) 471-2743 or email me at kbolz@leg.ne.gov.

Thank you for your input!
Sincerely,

Senator Kate Bolz

For the Lincoln Journal-Star’s version of the op-ed by Senator Williams and I wrote, you can visit this link.

Local View: Rules debate should be deliberate

BY SEN. KATE BOLZ and SEN. MATT WILLIAMS      January 30, 2017

The Nebraska Nonpartisan Unicameral Legislature is a unique institution that is designed to place high importance on the participation of the public and on public policy over partisanship. It allows for the development of unique alliances related to specific geographies and issues.

The rules debate is not about partisanship or the majority or minority party of the day, year, or session. It is about something much bigger than that: the institution. Our institution has unique rules, like allowing media access and ensuring that each bill gets a hearing. This allows for public participation, which is especially important in a one house system. The cloture process is one of those rules that protects the ability of the public to simply and clearly ask for support or opposition of a particular bill and allows for intense debate as well as the “watchfulness of the citizen” on the most controversial of issues. It is important that any changes to this long-standing process be taken seriously.

Rules debate should be slow and deliberate, especially on the processes that allow for the engagement of citizens. We applaud the members of the Legislature for continuing under the existing rules which allow us a fair framework under which to begin debate on the most important issue of the session: how we balance the budget in a responsible manner.

To quote George Norris, founder of our Unicameral, “To get a good government, and to retain it, it is necessary that a liberty-loving, educated, intelligent people should be ever watchful, to carefully guard and protect their rights and liberties.” We would add that to get good government, the rules must allow the people to be a part of the process in a meaningful way. As members of the Legislature, we will continue to uphold the traditions of Norris and work for the best interests of the state, in rules, in policy, and in our partnership with the people of Nebraska.

Sen. Kate Bolz of Lincoln represents District 29. Sen. Matt Williams of Gothenburg represents District 36.

2017 Session Information

November 15th, 2016

I’ve enjoyed meeting with many of you throughout the fall and summer. As session nears, I’m excited to join returning and newly elected senators to get back to work on balancing the budget and protecting your priorities.

The 2017 Legislative Session starts on January 4 and runs through June 1. In Nebraska, our legislature operates on a two year biennium budget cycle. In odd-numbered years, we have a 90 day session where we enact the next budget. On even-numbered years, the legislature has a shorter 60 day session.

If you would like to follow the session closely, the Clerk of the Legislature’s office produces the Unicameral Update, an online news source that gives information legislative activity, floor discussion, and committee hearings. Additionally, you can watch committee hearings and floor debate using NET’s state government streaming website.

I look forward to continuing our work for District 29 in the next session, and am always interested in hearing your legislative priorities. If you would like to share your thoughts on the next legislative session with me, you can reach my office at (402) 471-2724 or at kbolz@leg.ne.gov.

Over the summer, Highway 2 is undergoing resurfacing and repair. While this may cause a temporary inconvenience for many of us in District 29, the project will help Highway 2 remain a viable option for transportation through Lincoln and to its surrounding towns. The project starts just south of the intersection of Highway 2 and Van Dorn Street, and extends to 56th St.

To help ease congestion, highway closure for resurfacing will take place during non-peak hours from 7 PM to 6 AM Monday through Friday, and from 6 AM Saturday morning through 6 AM Monday morning. It is expected that the resurfacing will be complete by the fall.

During this time, a detour is being provided for through traffic, which utilizes I-80, Highway 6, and 84th St. Additionally, the 14th, 27th, 33rd, 40th, 48th and 56th cross streets will still be available for traffic.

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For additional information on the project, you can visit the Department of Roads Frequently Asked Questions document. Any questions or comments can be sent to Sarah Kugler, the Public Involvement Manager at the Nebraska Department of Roads. She can be reached by email at sara.kugler@Nebraska.gov or telephone at (402) 479-4871.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about the Highway 2 project, or any state issues, you can contact my office at (402) 471-2734 or by emailing me at kbolz@leg.ne.gov.

Thank you and Drive Safely!

During my time in the Legislature, I have focused on children, education, seniors, jobs, public safety and taxes.  Here is a short list of legislation from the 2015-2016 biennium which works to build a stronger Nebraska by implementing solutions for specific needs across the state.

KIDS

LB591

I introduced the Nebraska ABLE Act, which allows families to set up tax-exempt 529A savings accounts for disability-related expenses. The legislature overwhelming passed LB591. Launching sometime this summer, the ABLE program will help families shoulder the costs associated with disabilities. If you are interested in the program, Nebraska’s program, titled “Enable” can be found at https://enablenebraska.com/.

LB243

All kids in our state deserve stable and supportive households. With this in mind, I introduced LB243, which created a statewide project for Family Finding services for children in foster care. Research consistently proves that children do better in family-based settings than out of home care. The family finding model finds relatives for children who are in out of home care, with the goal of finding lifelong connections to families and permanent homes. The legislature passed LB243 on a 35-9 vote.

 

EDUCATION

LB379

After school programing provides kids with opportunities to learn and grow outside of the classroom. In 2015, I introduced LB379, which provides funding for expanded after school and out of school programing through school-community partnership grants. In addition to funding for existing learning centers, LB379 provides expanded learning opportunity programs in areas of the state with a high percentage of at risk children. LB397 was amended into a broader bill on school funding, LB519, and passed by the legislature.

 

SENIORS

LB708
As Nebraska’s population ages, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias is increasing. By 2025 it is expected that over 40,000 Nebraskans will be diagnosed with these diseases.  I introduced LB708, which creates a high quality standard endorsement for assisted living facilities that want to serve individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The optional endorsement would reflect a facility’s commitment to high-quality staffing, programming, safety and other factors, and helps provide a greater degree of information for those seeking to find care for their loved ones. LB708 was amended into LB698, and passed by the Legislature.

 

JOBS

LB36
Many times, people that wish to obtain noncollege professional certificates cannot afford the programs needed to find work. Not only does this restrict opportunities for Nebraskans to find quality jobs, it also makes it increasingly challenging for employers to find qualified employees to fill their openings. LB36, which I introduced in 2015 created the Community College Gap Assistance Program. The program provides financial aid to low-income students for professional certificate programs, filling a gap in skills for many Nebraskans seeking employment. The Community College Gap Assistance Program provisions were amended into LB519, which was passed by the Legislature.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY

LB592 and LB910

As part of a continuing effort to increase public safety, it’s important that there is an independent parole board structure. Following recommendations from the LR424 Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee, I introduced LB592 and LB910, which provides the Board of Parole with the tools it needs to be the independent body that it  must be to oversee of the process in which those in the correctional system are paroled into our communities. LB592 was passed by the legislature in 2015, and LB910 was amended into LB1094, which was passed by Legislature this year.

LB931 Amendment (2016)

People with serious mental health issues often have a difficult time finding stable housing. I introduced LB931, a bill to expand a program for people who are very low income and who have serious mental health problems. When people have a safe place to call home, they are more likely to comply with their doctor’s recommendations, and to lead productive lives. Failure to address housing for those with mental illnesses can lead to greater incarceration of them. Significant portions of LB931 were included in this year’s budget.

 

TAXES

LB186

One of my goals while in the legislature has been to shape our state’s tax discussion to include the burden that property taxes have on residential property taxpayers.  Last year, I introduced LB186 to provide a “circuit-break” in the event that property taxes take a certain amount of a person’s income. While this legislation did not advance, it’s my hope that the continued discussion on property tax will include the real and serious effect that rising property taxes have on working families.

Sen. Kate Bolz

District 29
Room #1015
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2734
Email: kbolz@leg.ne.gov
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