NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Roy Baker

Sen. Roy Baker

District 30

Welcome

January 6th, 2016

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 30th 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. Roy Baker

Lincoln Public Schools dedicated the Sally G. Wysong Elementary School on Sunday, September 18th.

Lincoln Public Schools dedicated the Sally G. Wysong Elementary School on Sunday, September 18th.

 

Paula and I in Adams on Sunday Sept 18 for Gold Crest's fall benefit celebration.

Paula and I in Adams on Sunday Sept 18 for Gold Crest’s fall benefit celebration.

 

Nebraska Children and Families hosted the Changemakers event in LaVista on Sept 12. Featured speaker Victor Riva Rivers gave an outstanding presentation, enjoyed by Sen. Heath Mellow and myself.

Nebraska Children and Families hosted the Changemakers event in LaVista on Sept 12. Featured speaker Victor Riva Rivers gave an outstanding presentation, enjoyed by Sen. Heath Mellow and myself.

 

Lancaster County Farm Bureau dinner at the extension office in Lincoln on Sept 8.

Lancaster County Farm Bureau dinner at the extension office in Lincoln on Sept 8.

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“Stories of Champions” at NET Television on Sept 14th celebrated individuals and non-profit organizations dedicated to helping youth stay on track to graduate from high school.

Among the honorees were Tom and Nancy Osborne, co-founders of TeamMates.

Previous honorees also received plaques, including retired Crete Superintendent Kyle McGowan.

 

Ready for Odell Community Day on Saturday, August 27. The kids always love parades and the goodies tossed by parade participants!

Ready for Odell Community Day on Saturday, August 27. The kids always love parades and the goodies tossed by parade participants!

Roy Odell

 

We enjoyed the BBQ chicken dinner at the Adams community day, Saturday August 22nd.

We enjoyed the BBQ chicken dinner at the Adams community day, Saturday August 22nd.

 

Two important sites in Beatrice have been officially recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.

Two important sites in Beatrice have been officially recognized by the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Scott Denard and Jared Walczak of the Tax Foundation presented information at the 2016 Tax Reform Summit on August 17.

Above: Panel discussion by Senators Harr, Friesen, Lindstrom and Watermeier;  below: Scott Denard and Jared Walczak of the Tax Foundation presented information at the 2016 Tax Reform Summit on August 17.

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I have been impressed with the work of the Nebraska Dyslexia Association. On August 13, the NDA in conjunction with Clinic With a Heart, made dyslexia screening available. Pictured here with NDA's Gwelda Carlson and my wife Paula.

I have been impressed with the work of the Nebraska Dyslexia Association. On August 13, the NDA in conjunction with Clinic With a Heart, made dyslexia screening available. Pictured here with NDA’s Gwelda Carlson and my wife Paula.

 

Calder Lynch, Director, Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care, speaks to a morning meeting at Aging Partners, August 10.

Calder Lynch, Director, Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care, DHHS, speaks to a morning meeting at Aging Partners, August 10.

 

Attending a Federal Legislative Summit at Strategic Command and Aerospace Museum today. Speakers so far include Governor Ricketts and Senator Deb Fischer.

Attending a Federal Legislative Summit at Strategic Command and Aerospace Museum today. Speakers so far include Governor Ricketts and Senator Deb Fischer.

Roy StratCom2

 

Kicking off August with a town hall meeting for Senator Ben Sasse at UNL's Innovation Campus on Monday.

Kicking off August with a town hall meeting for Senator Ben Sasse at UNL’s Innovation Campus on Monday.

 

July Activities 2016

July 11th, 2016
No one minded the rain at Hickman Hay Days on Saturday, July 30! Fun for all!

No one minded the rain at Hickman Hay Days on Saturday, July 30! Fun for all!

 

Ag Appreciation Night and Classic car show at the Gage County Fair, July 26. This 61'Vette was my favorite!

Ag Appreciation Night and Classic car show at the Gage County Fair, July 26.
This 61’Vette was my favorite!

Roy Firth1

Nice hot weather for the dedication of the new splash pad in Firth on Saturday. Jill Hoefler addressed the crowd. Great community involvement!

 

Beau McCoy, Nebraska state senator and CSG National Chair, addressed the Midwestern Legislative Conference at lunch on Monday.

Beau McCoy, Nebraska state senator and CSG National Chair, addressed the Midwestern Legislative Conference at lunch on Monday.

 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett welcomes the attendees of the Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments. Eleven Midwest states and four Canadian provinces are represented.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett welcomes the attendees of the Midwestern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments. Eleven Midwest states and four Canadian provinces are represented.

 

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The family and friends of Vonnie Higgins, long time Beatrice Hospital employee and volunteer, gather on what would have been her 81st birthday, to dedicate a bronze sculpture placed in the Exmark Healing Garden at BCH, July 15th. Artist Sondra Jonson of Cambridge, NE (holding blue umbrella) was also present for the dedication, sponsored by the Beatrice Hospital Foundation.

Nebr Ag Youth Institute graduation; seated by NAYI Counselor Collin Thompson, UNL student from Eustis, NE. July 13th

Nebr Ag Youth Institute graduation; seated by NAYI Counselor Collin Thompson, UNL student from Eustis, NE. July 13th

 

Gov. Ricketts addressing the Economic Development Conference at the Cornhusker today in Lincoln.

Gov. Ricketts addressing the Economic Development Conference at the Cornhusker today in Lincoln. July 12, 2016.

Nebr good

New Nebraska brand:  Nebraska. Good Life. Great Opportunity.

 

Kids are having fun on the water slide in Panama July 8. Fireworks followed later.

Kids are having fun on the water slide in Panama July 8. Fireworks followed later.

Today’s session at the Education Commission of the States national forum in Washington DC began with Shanna Peeples, 2015 National Teacher of the Year.

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The ECS (Education Commission of the States) National Forum on Education Policy begins this afternoon at 1:00. This morning I visited the Capitol and the Sam Rayburn House Office Building.

The ECS (Education Commission of the States) National Forum on Education Policy begins this afternoon, June 29th, at 1:00. This morning I visited the Capitol and the Sam Rayburn House Office Building.

Roy golf

With my former Norris fellow administrators Galen Boldt (just retired from Wahoo), and Matt Rice, and Beatrice’s Pat Nauroth at the annual Nebraska Council of School Administrators -NCSA golf event at Yankee Hill CC. We took 2nd place in the 2nd flight.

 

Homestead Days in Beatrice - Third Thursday event at the Black Crow with Husker coaches and AD in attendance. Good conversations with Beatrice Asst. HS Principal/FB Coach Bob Sexton, Coach Mike Riley, AD Shawn Eichorst; and good talk by Coach John Cook to the group.

Homestead Days in Beatrice – Third Thursday event at the Black Crow with Husker coaches and AD in attendance. Good conversations with Beatrice Asst. HS Principal/FB Coach Bob Sexton, Coach Mike Riley, AD Shawn Eichorst; and good talk by Coach John Cook to the group.

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The Mayor's 30th annual art awards at the Lied on June 15.

The Mayor’s 30th annual art awards at the Lied on June 15; hosted by Jon & Karen Vanderford.

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Great tour of housing needs in Gage County sponsored by NGage, attended by my staff. Part of the reason more housing is needed is due to the creativity and work ethic of Dist. 30! Several small businesses ship their products worldwide, while others employ hundreds of people! Pictured: new fireworks warehouse in Cortland, and "where the best tasting water in Nebraska" is stored (Cortland water tower); a new community fitness building near the highly ranked Diller-Odell High School, and the historic Rice Bed and Breakfast in Odell. We also stopped at the Arbor State Pharmacy and Diane's Dresses in Wymore!

Great tour of housing needs in Gage County sponsored by NGage, attended by my staff. Part of the reason more housing is needed is due to the creativity and work ethic of Dist. 30! Several small businesses ship their products worldwide, while others employ hundreds of people! Pictured: (above)  new fireworks warehouse in Cortland, (below) and “where the best tasting water in Nebraska” is stored (Cortland water tower); a new community fitness building near the highly ranked Diller-Odell High School, and the historic Rice Bed and Breakfast in Odell. We also stopped at the Arbor State Pharmacy and Diane’s Dresses in Wymore!

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NRD Blue River Basin tour stop at the farm of Senator Curt Friesen, who uses underground (subsurface) irrigation for water and fertilizer.

NRD Blue River Basin tour stop on June 14 at the farm of Senator Curt Friesen, who uses underground (subsurface) irrigation for water and fertilizer.

 

I am on the Nebraska Natural Resources District Basin Tour. First stop: Upper Blue NRD Recharge Lake near York. 2nd: farm it wetlands near Giltner. 3rd: City of Hastings, heard how they are partnering with NRD to address challenged over nitrate pollution, 4th: seeing water remediation project on the grounds of the WWII Naval Ammunition Depot.

Today (June 13/14) I am on the Nebraska Natural Resources District Blue River Basin Tour. First stop: Upper Blue NRD Recharge Lake near York. 2nd: farm with wetlands near Giltner. 3rd: City of Hastings, heard how they are partnering with NRD to address challenges over nitrate pollution, 4th: seeing water remediation project on the grounds of the WWII Naval Ammunition Depot. This morning we were welcomed at the NRD by the York Ambassadors.

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Speaking to Boys State at the Capitol on Friday afternoon June 10

Speaking to Boys State at the Capitol on Friday afternoon June 10

Roy Boys State1

 

I spoke to the Mosaic Friends & Family Association meeting in Beatrice on June 10.

I spoke to the Mosaic Friends & Family Association meeting in Beatrice on June 10.

 

In Kearney today at a meeting of the Nebraska Rural Community School Association, which has 190 member school districts and ESUs. The conference focus is Career and Technical Education.

In Kearney on June 9, at a meeting of the Nebraska Rural Community School Association, which has 190 member school districts and ESUs. The conference focus is Career and Technical Education.

 

 

Prairie Gold Homes (PGH) held a graduation "ceremony" on Tuesday at the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce offices. This was a graduation for several of the men currently working on the house on Ella Street.

Prairie Gold Homes (PGH) held a graduation “ceremony” on Tuesday at the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce offices. This was a graduation for several of the men currently working on the house on Ella Street.

Prairie Gold Homes' graduation ceremony in Beatrice. The first is of Sen. Baker and Byron Fischer, President of the PGH Board of Directors. The second is of the Senator with Mark Wentz, Assistant Executive Director, Prairie Gold Homes.

Prairie Gold Homes’ graduation ceremony in Beatrice. Above:  Sen. Baker and Byron Fischer, President of the PGH Board of Directors. Below:  Sen. Baker with Mark Wentz, Assistant Executive Director, Prairie Gold Homes.

Roy grad3

 

 

Proud of the hard work of so many people in District 30 to produce the 2016 Cattlemen's Ball north of Cortland at the Lienemann's, all to fight cancer!

Proud of the hard work of so many people in District 30 to produce the 2016 Cattlemen’s Ball north of Cortland at the Lienemann’s, all to fight cancer!

May in District 30

May 2nd, 2016
Celebrating the educational careers of those retiring from Norris Schools at this year's Norris Foundation Dinner. Pictured here: Doug Malone, Jan Zink, Bob Vogt and Gayle French.  Others retiring this year include: Rhonda Burbach, Nancy Etmund,  Marcia Henning,Jane Jenkins, Carol Jobman, Bruce Jurgens, Connie Jurgens, Janice Hestermann, Judeen Price and Shannon Urbanovsky.

Celebrating the educational careers of those retiring from Norris Schools at this year’s Norris Foundation Dinner. Pictured here: Doug Malone, Jan Zink, Bob Vogt and Gayle French.
Others retiring this year include: Rhonda Burbach, Nancy Etmund, Marcia Henning,Jane Jenkins, Carol Jobman, Bruce Jurgens, Connie Jurgens, Janice Hestermann, Judeen Price and Shannon Urbanovsky.

 

I met with the Government Affairs Council of the Chamber of Commerce in Beatrice 5.22.2016, then enjoyed visiting with BPS superintendent Pat Nauroth afterward.

I met with the Government Affairs Council of the Chamber of Commerce in Beatrice 5.22.2016, then enjoyed visiting with BPS superintendent Pat Nauroth afterward.

 

 

The 2016 Cattlemen’s Ball, bringing thousands of people to District 30, will be held at the Lienemann’s on Highway 77 north of Cortland, on Saturday, June 4. For a complete schedule including Friday night events at Nebraska Innovation Campus and special activities in District 30, a chance to stay at the Governor’s Mansion, the Clint Black concert, ticket information for both days and all the details about this benefit for cancer research follow the link to the website: https://cattlemensball.com/

Cattlemen’s Ball 2016logo

“Funding A Cure”

June 3rd and 4th

Princeton, NE

 

A Holocaust Commemoration was held at the Capitol on May 1st, with keynote addresses by Sen. Pansing Brooks and Sam Passer, grandson of Dachau survivor.

A Holocaust Commemoration was held at the Capitol on May 1st, with keynote addresses by Sen. Pansing Brooks and Sam Passer, grandson of Dachau survivor.

 

The Wymore Volunteer Fire Department celebrated its 125th Anniversary on April 30. Assistant chief Mark Meintz served as the emcee. I was honhored to speak to the audience, along with Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and other officials. Congratulations to all of the present and past Wymore volunteers.

The Wymore Volunteer Fire Department celebrated its 125th Anniversary on April 30. Assistant chief Mark Meintz served as the emcee. I was honored to speak to the audience, along with Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and other officials. Congratulations to all of the present and past Wymore volunteers.

Sine Die

April 22nd, 2016

The One-Hundredth and Fourth Legislature by the numbers.

 

Sixty days does not seem like a long time for the legislature to meet.  Yet there were days where debates dragged on for hours on seemingly inconsequential issues and then days where the pace of voting was swift and sure.  This year there were 24 filibusters compared to only 14 last year.

 

In this short session, 446 bills were introduced; and 664 bills were introduced in 2015, for a total of 1110 bills.  Of these, 210 bills were passed into law this year along with 243 bills from last year.  With all the filibusters, only those bills with priority designations were heard in the last three or four weeks of the session.  107 bills were designated as priorities and eventually 78 of those priority bills were passed by the Unicameral.

 

Eleven senators are term-limited out of office this year.  Senators Bloomfield, Campbell, Coash, Cook, Gloor, Haar, Hadley, McCoy, Mello, Schilz and Sullivan have served their two term limit.  Five of these senators are chairpersons of a committee and one is the Speaker.  They leave with a great deal of knowledge on issues and a passion to work hard for the citizens of this state.  They will be missed.

 

April 20th was the sixtieth and final day of this session.  Vetoes made by the governor were taken up that day. Three appropriation bills had line item vetoes (the bills passed but only after the Governor made selective cuts in these spending bills). The Governor vetoed several bills, but LB 947, allowing immigrants with lawful presence in the United States to apply for professional licenses, received two hours of debate before senators overrode the gubernatorial veto with 31 ayes, 13 nays, and 5 present and not voting.

 

The Governor made closing statements to the Legislature. Senators indefinitely postponed (killed) all bills not enacted this session according to the rules, so those issues will need to be introduced again in the future to be acted upon. Other motions were made regarding directives to the Clerk of the Legislature for the final postings of the Legislative Journal – and with that a final motion was made to adjourn sine die which formally ended the session.

 

The lights in the chamber were turned off, desks cleared, and senators headed home.  The interim months of 2016 begin the work of researching potential legislation, working on interim studies and constituent issues.

 

I would like to make the constituents of District 30 aware of opportunities available to youth and adults alike.  The Unicameral Youth Legislature is an opportunity for high school students to attend a four-day camp, June 5-8.  Held at the State Capitol, student senators will sponsor bills, conduct committee hearings, debate legislation and discover the unique process of the nation’s only unicameral.  Senators’ staff take an active role in the camp and work as advisors to the student senators. More information can be found at: www.NebraskaLegislature.gov/uyl or call (402) 471-2788.

 

 

For the adults in the district, the Governor is always looking for good people to fill vacancies on various boards and commission.  To see positions available, follow this link:

www.governor.nebraska.gov/board-comm-req.  Applications can be filled out on-line.

 

Please continue to contact me at any time throughout the interim with any issues that concern you.  rbaker@leg.ne.gov or 402-471-2620.

 

Nearing the Finish

April 15th, 2016

The 104th Session of the Nebraska Legislature is drawing to a close. For these past two years, I have served on the Education Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee.

 

In the education realm, I came into the 2016 legislative session believing the most imperative issue was changing the Learning Community provisions – especially eliminating the common levy.  The Learning Community was created by the Nebraska Legislature and began on January 1, 2009.  The Omaha Public Schools attempted to make all eleven school districts part of OPS under an old ‘one city – one school district’ law that had never been used in the past.  The Learning Community accomplished the freezing of school district boundaries.  However, the common tax levy proved to be untenable to the districts involved. In 2014 the member schools all agreed on changes that should be made.  We failed to enact any of those changes in the 2015 legislative session.  The eleven superintendents came to me in the summer of 2015 and asked me to use my influence to make important changes in the 2016 session. I was able to work this bill through the process and consider my involvement in the passage of LB 1067 my greatest accomplishment of the year.

 

In the Health and Human Services Committee, I introduced three bills, all of which passed.  LB 722, my priority bill, establishes the Stroke System of Care Act.  The main provision of this act establishes a statewide system by designating hospitals as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, a Primary Stroke Center or an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital. The purpose of the Act is to improve the overall outcomes of stroke patients.

 

LB 721 provides for the licensure of surgical first assistants who help the surgeon in the operating room.  As the result of a credentialing review, referred to as the 407 process, completed by the Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Division in January, 2016, LB 721 was introduced.  It creates a process for licensure of surgical first assistants and sets the education and training requirements. A grandfather clause allows former assistants to go through an approval process with the department to begin practicing again.

 

LB 899 brought Nebraska statues into compliance with lead free federal regulations regarding materials used in public water systems.  The department has been in compliance with the new regulations for a few years but needed the state statute to mirror the federal law.

 

I appreciate that many of you reached out to my staff and me on issues that were important to you.  On most of the significant issues, public opinion was divided and it was impossible to please everyone.  We were always open to listening to the thoughts of District 30 citizens and those from all parts of Nebraska. Please continue to contact me over the summer and fall months if there are state government issues you want to discuss. rbaker@leg.ne.gov  402-471-2620.

 

 

 

Stalled Debate

April 11th, 2016

The big story of the week was the decision by Senator Ernie Chambers to slow down the law-making process for the remainder of this 104th Legislative Session.  Senator Chambers was able to accomplish that by using the rules of the Legislature.

According to those rules, up to six hours of debate time can be consumed the first time a bill is debated, before a cloture vote can be taken.  Thirty three votes are required for cloture (cease all debate). If the thirty three votes are attained, then the bill can be voted on for advancement. On Select File, four more hours of debate are allowed before cloture.  If a bill advances to Final Reading, two more hours of debate are allowed.

With the stall tactic employed by Senator Chambers earlier this week, little will be accomplished in our remaining days. Some important, good bills will not make it in 2016.  Speaker Galen Hadley has moved to suspend the rules to get some of the most important bills through final reading, including the two property tax relief bills, LB 958 and LB 959, so those bills will be voted up or down this session.

LB 958 directs $20 million to farm and ranch land owners. LB 959 removes the minimum levy requirement for qualification for state equalization aid. This benefits primarily rural school districts.  I support both LB 958 and LB 959.

Another bill that will be fully heard is LB 1067, which would change the Learning Community of the Douglas and Sarpy County school districts.  An important provision is the elimination of the common levy – that levy is harmful to the rural Springfield-Platteview and Douglas County West districts.

Senator Chambers was upset by the defeat of LB 1056, The Patient Choice at End of Life Act, (Die with Dignity) and the passage of LB 10, making Nebraska a winner take all state with regard to presidential elections. LB 1056 had no chance and I was present and not voting.

While the Unicameral is officially nonpartisan, the nature of LB 10 was partisan.  I voted for LB 10 along with the Republicans, and the Democrats voted against the bill.  Senator Chambers was convinced that Governor Ricketts had contacted the Republican senators to pass the bill. Neither the Governor nor anyone from his office contacted me at all.  “Winner take all” is the practice in all other states except Maine.

The Legislature ended its work week on April 7 and we come back on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 12th and 13 to try to get a few more bills across the finish line.  We then recess for five days and return on April 20th.  The Governor is given five days (not counting Sunday) to return any bills with vetoes to the legislature.  On April 20th, the last day of session, overrides will be taken up if desired.  At the end of that business, the Legislature will close out the 104th Session and adjourn sine die (the final adjournment of the session).

As we approach the end of the session, your contact is as important as ever. You can reach me at rbaker@leg.ne.gov or 402-471-2620.

 

April Events

April 4th, 2016
The Legislature adjourned Sine Die on April 20, 2016.

The Legislature adjourned Sine Die on April 20, 2016.

 

The investiture dinner for University of Nebraska president, Dr. Hank Bounds.

The investiture dinner for University of Nebraska president, Dr. Hank Bounds.

Roy Hank

 

And today, April 13, 2016, LB 721 was adopted by the Legislature, concerning Surgical First Assistants. This licensure process will allow surgeons to have greater access to the assistance necessary for providing services to patients and increase the availability of appropriate surgical staff.

And today, April 13, 2016, LB 721 was adopted by the Legislature, concerning Surgical First Assistants. This licensure process will
allow surgeons to have greater access to the assistance necessary for providing services to patients and increase the availability of appropriate surgical staff.

Beatrice eclipse

Plan now for this once in a lifetime event – with one of the best locations in the entire nation right here in District 30 – the August 2017 eclipse! Find more information at http://www.eclipsebeatrice.com

The Nebraska Stroke System of Care Act is adopted by the Legislature on April 12, 2016.

The Nebraska Stroke System of Care Act is adopted by the Legislature on April 12, 2016.

 

 

Members of the Bennet Area Community Foundation break ground for a new splash pad in the Bennet park! Shown with shovels, left to right: Justin Apel, Drew Ramaeker and Doug Jose.

Members of the Bennet Area Community Foundation break ground for a new splash pad in the Bennet park! Shown with shovels, left to right: Justin Apel, Drew Ramaeker and Doug Jose.

bennet

One of the best locations in the entire United States for viewing the August 2017 eclipse will be in District 30!  For more information follow this link:  http://www.eclipsebeatrice.com

Sen. Roy Baker

District 30
Room #1522
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2620
Email: rbaker@leg.ne.gov
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