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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.
On Tuesday, May 28 at 6:00 PM, I’ll be part of a Southeast Lincoln Listening Session at the Union College Krueger Center Lang Amphitheater. At the listening session, myself, LPS Board Member Don Mayhew, Lincoln City Council Member Jane Raybould and Lancaster County Commissioner Roma Amundson will be discussing city, state, and local topics relevant to Southeast Lincoln. We will also be having time for a question and answer session. To RSVP to the listening session, click here.
For a map of Union College’s campus, click here. The Krueger Center is building #7.
We hope to see you on May 28!
I’ll be holding open office hours in the afternoon on Thursday, May 16. If there are any legislative or state issues you’d like to share with me, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and he can help with scheduling a time. My office is located on the northwest corner of the first floor, in room 1015. Parking is available on the west and south sides of the building.
What does democracy mean? To me, it means getting involved and being an active participant in our community, and one way to do that is by lending your voice to the legislative process.
This session, I’ve been thinking about all we covered in hearings, and among these, I’ve had one hearing in particular that has stuck with me. On a bill to create the Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights, I was moved by all those who shared personally traumatic and painful experiences in the hope of creating a better state for others.
I’m proud to be part of our shared democracy in the Nebraska Legislature. With this in mind, I’m having a town hall at Union College on May 28 and I hope you’ll join me. If we’ve talked in the past, I’d love to see you again, or if you’re looking to get more engaged in these issues, this would be a great place to start. I’ve included more information below in this newsletter.
Of course, if you can’t make it, you can always reach me at email@example.com, or to call my office at 402-471-2734, as well.
Below is some of what I’ve been working on in recent weeks. If you’d like to watch the legislature as we debate these items, NET has gavel-to-gavel coverage over the air on the NET World channel and streaming online.
May 28th Town Hall
On Tuesday, May 28 at 6:00 PM, I’ll be part of a Southeast Lincoln Town Hall at the Union College Krueger Center Lang Amphitheater. Myself, LPS Board Member Don Mayhew and County Commissioner Roma Amundson will be discussing city, state, and local topics relevant to Southeast Lincoln. To RSVP click here.
I’ll be sending out additional details in a follow up email.
Open Office Hours
The afternoon of Thursday, May 16, I’ll be holding open office hours at the capitol. If there are any legislative or state issues you’d like to share with me, I invite you to get in touch and schedule a time to meet. To do so, you can call or email my administrative assistant, Sam at 402-471-2734 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and he can help with scheduling a time. Parking is available on the west and south sides of the building.
Working to solve Nebraska’s prison staffing crisis
This session, I used my personal priority on LB109, legislation that would improve frontline employee retention at the Nebraska Department of Corrections. LB109 achieves this by creating new pay structures based on skill and experience, providing a career path for employees that currently leave the Department for better career opportunities.
The Department of Corrections has long suffered from high turnover and staffing shortages, which have contributed to a number of security issues at Nebraska’s prisons. By bringing forward these new wage tiers, we can take steps to retain the most highly trained and experienced workers at the Department of Corrections. Recently, officers negotiated a new contract, and this policy is in line with these goals.
Enhancing Nebraska’s Workforce Training
Another bill I’ve introduced, LB180, expands program eligibility for Nebraska’s Community College Gap Assistance Program. In recent years, employees have increasingly highlighted the lack of skilled employees available to fill open positions. LB180 expands the number of fields eligibility for the Gap Assistance Program, which provides financial aid community college students taking non-credit courses that lead to jobs in high-demand fields. Examples of programs include certified nursing assistants and commercial driver’s license programs. LB180 passed through the legislature last week and has been sent to the Governor.
The lack of trained employees to fill Nebraska’s job needs will continue to hurt our state’s economy until we can find ways to link people with the training necessary to fill open jobs. A few weeks ago, Senator Matt Hansen of northeast Lincoln and I reaffirmed the need to seek a variety of solutions for this growing issue, including adequately funding Nebraska’s community and state college system, and seeking the perspectives of both business leaders and employees in finding ways to train Nebraska residents and attract new talent to our state to fill these needs.
Extending the Children’s Commission
Nebraska’s child welfare system is not a single entity. It relies on the work of a number of state agencies, nonprofits, private actors, and families. It’s in the best interests of kids being served to have all these organization on the same page and working in unison to carry out their missions. Since 2012, the Nebraska Children’s Commission has brought stakeholders, service providers, members of the Legislature, Supreme Court, Department of Health and Human Services, and Supreme Court together to coordinate a shared vision for Nebraska’s child welfare system.
Over its six years, the Children’s Commission has recognized a number of gaps in state laws that were harming kids, and has lead to a number of pieces of legislation to improve the lives of Nebraska children. The Children’s Commission is set to sunset in 2019. LB330removes this sunset on the Children’s Commission, clarifies and streamlines its responsibilities, and places the entity under the Nebraska Office of the Public Council. LB330 passed out of the Executive Board on a 9-0 vote, and is currently on General File.
Bridge to Independence
One of the recent recommendations from the Children’s Commission relates to minor changes we can make to the Bridge to Independence program to increase the number of youth assisted. The Bridge to Independence Program was created in 2013 and helps provide support to youth ages 19 through 21 that are aging out of foster care. Some of these services include Independence Coordinators to provide advice, resources and goals, as well as assistance with signing up for eligible health care coverage, such as the ACA exchange or Medicaid. To stay in the program, youth must be working, pursuing an education, or volunteering.
LB332 and the amendment, AM1384, adjust the Bridge to Independence Program by changing the eligibility criteria to expand access to youth who entered into a guardianship from the juvenile justice system before they were 17. These changes are paid for by eliminating duplicative payments and limiting program eligibility to Nebraskans. This allows the program to serve more youth while staying within current funding levels.
Lancaster County recently released their new preliminary property values report, which will be the basis for property tax bills in 2020. Because of increasing home values, many residents of LD29 will see an increase in home valuation, and subsequent property tax bill. In order to see your new assessed value, you can visit the Lancaster County Assessor’s website at http://lancaster.ne.gov/assessor/2019Values.htm
On March 25, the finalized valuation changes will be posted on the Lancaster County Assessor website. At this point, if you feel that your protest was not properly evaluated, there is a formal appeals process through the Nebraska Tax Equalization and Review Commission that is outlined in this document.
The timeline for the appeals process is listed here and the formal complaint must be filed by June 1. You can also contact the Tax Equalization and Review Commission directly at (402) 471-2842 if you have specific questions about this process. As always, you can contact my office at (402) 471-2734 for other questions.
One of my goals while in the legislature has been to shape our state’s tax discussion to include the effect that property taxes have on residential property taxpayers. As a member of the appropriations committee, I have supported increases in the Property Tax Cash Fund, a dedicated fund that directly reduces the property taxes you pay. Additionally, this year I’ve introduced legislation, LB420, to create a property tax “circuit breaker” which provides a tax credit in the event that property taxes increase significantly compared to a person’s income. The bill will have a hearing on Thursday, February 21 at 1:30 in the Revenue Committee.
On Monday, November 12, I’ll be available from 9am to noon for open office hours.
If you have the day off in observance of Veterans Day and would like to meet with me to discuss potential legislation, policy issues, casework or anything else that may be on your mind, you can schedule a time by calling my office at 402-471-2734, or emailing email@example.com.
If you’re unavailable on November 12, but would still like to discuss upcoming policy issues, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call at 402-471-2734.
I’m looking forward to the chance to see you in our community this summer. I’ll be at the Sunday Farmers’ Market at College View (4801 Prescott Ave) on July 15 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, please stop by and say hello!
I’ll also be holding open office hours at the Capitol on Saturday July, 7 and Saturday July 28 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. If there’s anything you would like to meet with me about, you can schedule a time by calling my office at 402-471-2734, or emailing email@example.com.
Join us at our South Central Lincoln town hall!
On May 16, I’ll be joining fellow Lincoln elected officials at a town where you can hear our priorities for the community, and we can get your input on what you would like to see moving forward. Join myself, Lincoln School Board Member Don Mayhew, and City Councilman Jon Camp on Wednesday, May 16 at 6:00 at the Union College Lang Amphitheater to discuss how we can build a strong future for South Lincoln.
The program will include brief remarks from the elected representatives and time for a question and answer session. A campus map of Union College can be found here. The Lang Amphitheater is located in the Krueger Center, which is building #9 on the map.
You can let us know you’re attending by filling out this RSVP form.
For more information about the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 402-471-2734.
Thank you for your interest!
On Saturday, March 24, from 1:00 PM through 5:00 PM, I’ll be holding open office hours at the capitol. If there are any legislative or state issues you’d like to share with me, I invite you to get in touch and schedule a time to meet. To do so, you can call or email my administrative aid Sam at 402-471-2734 or email@example.com, and he can help with scheduling a time. Parking is available on the west and south sides of the building.
What: Open Office Hours
Where: Nebraska State Capitol, Room 1015 (first floor by the west entrance)
When: Saturday, March 24, from 1:00 – 5:00 PM
If you can’t make it on the 24th, you’re always welcome to let me know your views on issues by calling me at 402-471-2734, or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation recently announced an upcoming public hearing regarding the Lincoln South Beltway Project. The hearing will be at the Sesostris Shrine Center at 1050 Saltillo Road on Tuesday, October 3 from 6:00pm to 6:30pm.
For more information on the South Beltway Project, or to submit comments to the department on the project, visit http://dot.nebraska.gov/lincoln-south-beltway/
For more information on the public hearing, please see the Department of Transportation’s event advisory below:
Public Hearing October 3 for Lincoln South Beltway
September 7, 2017 (Lincoln, Neb.) — The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, October 3, regarding the proposed Lincoln South Beltway project in Lancaster County. The hearing, held at the Sesostris Shrine Center, 1050 Saltillo Road (northwest of intersection at Saltillo Road and US-77), will include an open house from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m., a panel presentation at 6:00 p.m., followed by a public forum from 6:20 to 7:30 p.m.
The proposed Lincoln South Beltway project would construct a new 11-mile east-west freeway south of the City of Lincoln, located between US-77 on the west and N-2 on the east, approximately 0.5 miles south of Saltillo Road. The purpose is to improve east-west connectivity for regional and interstate travel through Nebraska, and to reduce conflicts between local and through traffic, including heavy truck traffic, in Lincoln. NDOT has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) to evaluate the potential effects of the project. The public hearing will present information regarding the DEA analysis and provide the public with the formal opportunity to comment on the project. The DEA is available on NDOT’s website athttp://dot.nebraska.gov/lincoln-south-beltway and comments will be collected through October 7, 2017.
Contact: Tom Goodbarn, District 1 Engineer, Lincoln, (402) 471-0850″
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