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

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
January 9, 2017

CONTACT: Senator Kate Bolz, (402) 471-2734, kbolz@leg.ne.gov

Workforce Development Legislation Introduced by Senator Bolz

Lincoln, NE: State Senator Kate Bolz introduced a package of bills today promoting workforce development for Nebraska.  The bills address job quality, career education, access to child care, and retention of trained workers.

The Nebraska Chamber of Commerce reports that a survey of Nebraska’s business leaders found that eight in ten respondents said their community or business faced a workforce shortage, with skilled labor being highest in demand.  A report commissioned by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development entitled “Nebraska’s Next Economy” outlined workforce challenges slowing our economy including statewide workforce shortages, acute workforce shortages in higher skilled occupations, and failure to integrate underserved populations into the worker pipeline, among others.

Workforce development is the number one priority for economic growth in Nebraska,” states Bolz, “This package of bills represents a vision for investing in our workers, job quality, and career education and training to grow Nebraska and compete successfully in a global economy, using one of our states greatest assets, our people.”

The bills include:

  • A comprehensive bill investing $15 million dollars per year in career education and training, internship programs, student loan tax credits, and child care tax credits.

  • A bill to develop and fund the Integrated Education and Training Grant Program to fund efforts in community colleges to develop fast track career education programs that integrate developmental education and workforce preparation and training.

  • A bill defining job quality in Nebraska economic development programs as jobs paying 150% of the Nebraska average weekly wage and providing health care benefits.

  • A bill to expand the existing GAP tuition assistance program, which covers the educational costs of low-income students enrolling in programs that lead to industry recognized credentials and in-demand jobs, to include more eligible educational programs.

  • A bill to increase the value of the child care tax credit for working families.

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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.

Paraeducator Workforce Survey

October 10th, 2017

This summer, I worked with Project PARA to conduct a survey of Nebraska’s paraeducators. Project PARA is a University of Nebraska – Lincoln partnership between the State of Nebraska and Nebraska school districts to provides school based training and instructional resources designed to give schools flexibility in using paraeducators. It contains 14 units and three assessments that cover a variety of topics to aid paraeducators with the development of skills needed to work effectively in a classroom setting.

The last major surveys of paraeducators in Nebraska were conducted in the early 1980s, and subsequent guidelines published in 1991. These guidelines are the basis of the current Project PARA trainings. The goal of the paraeducator survey is to provide data to guide educational, administrative, and policy related decision making. You review our findings by clicking the memo link above.

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.

#NDOT#

Contact: Tom Goodbarn, District 1 Engineer, Lincoln, (402) 471-0850″

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

This week’s swing between sunshine and rain reminds us that Nebraska’s weather can shift at any moment. Last spring we saw storms that caused serious damage to parts of southeast Lincoln, and it’s important to be prepared during severe weather events and the cleanup afterward.  

To help Nebraskans during and after severe weather events, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services publishes its Recommended Procedures for Planning and Recovering from a Disaster, you can access this document through this link, or by emailing me at kbolz@leg.ne.gov.  

If your basement floods as a result of heavy rain, it’s important to make sure that the power is shut off before entering it. Additionally, in heavily flooded situations, water should be pumped out at a rate of roughly a third of the water per day, in order to maintain the structural integrity of the basement.

When cleaning up a flooded basement, hard-surfaced floors and other household surfaces should be cleaned with with soap and water. To disinfect these surfaces, a solution of one cup of bleach for every five gallons of water should be used. It’s important that any surfaces that many come in contact with food, or areas where small children play, are disinfected.

Items that remain wet for over 48 hours create conditions favorable for mold growth, so materials must be kept dry once water has been removed from an area. The state DHHS suggests using wet vacuums and dehumidifiers to assist in the drying. If you have a mold situation and would like more information on eradicating the issue, you can read the EPA publication “A Brief Guide to Mold and Moisture in your home”, which can be found here, or by emailing me at kbolz@leg.ne.gov.

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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