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Homework isn’t just for our students this time of year, it is for your state senators as well. It is a season of balancing the work I need to get done at home in the farming operation with the work of studying the issues facing the Legislature.
As a result, I have been able to attend several listening sessions, hosted by a variety of organizations. In September I participated in gatherings with the Educational Service Units, the Blue River Area Agency on Aging in Beatrice, Public Health Solutions in Crete, and both the Platte Institute and OpenSky Policy Institute. I also met with individuals in my office, and with several senators to discuss what we have been hearing at these sessions.
The Appropriations Committee, on which I sit, has convened several times in recent weeks. We held joint hearings with the Health and Human Services Committee to discuss provider rates and hear updates on expanded Medicaid. At the end of this week we will be meeting jointly with the Agriculture Committee to hear from the Nebraska Brand Committee and get a briefing from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
All of this information gathering is very helpful as we focus on the big issues like property tax and business incentives, health care and problems in corrections. These are the areas that will command the most attention in the coming session and rightly so.
In the meantime, I believe we can also find ways to support and revitalize our state on a slightly smaller scale. And in truth, those critical services require attention to stay viable. I am continuing to work on securing sustained funding for the SIMS-NE program. The Simulation in Motion trucks go out to rural EMTs and hospitals to provide training and lifelike, hands-on experience in the areas of Nebraska where we do not have quick access to paramedics and ambulance service like Lincoln and Omaha do. The SIMS-NE program is one way to keep our quality of life in rural areas strong and inviting. My study resolution, LR 181, was heard by the Appropriations Committee last Friday. Doctors, EMTs and University personnel were on hand to speak in support of the program and educate my fellow committee members on the vital need to fund this project.
I had the privilege of hosting Beatrice high school student Chance Earnhart from Diller as a job shadow on the date of the hearing. In a very meaningful coincidence, Chance was able to provide testimony at the hearing about the role of EMTs in helping save the life of his father, Jim, who received Bryan Health’s Trauma Champion award for 2019. I appreciated the opportunity to get to know Chance and his willingness to speak at the hearing in support of EMT training.
On the last day of September, I participated in another listening session at the Legion Hall in Bennet, organized by the Center for Rural Affairs. We had an excellent turn out of residents from across District 30 and very good discussion. I appreciate very much the time people take to attend a listening session, their thoughtful questions and interest in the workings of our state government. A big thank you to all who came out and to CFRA for putting it together, and providing pie!
Please continue to contact my office as we begin to put together possible legislation to be introduced in January, or with any concerns you might have. 402-471-2620 or firstname.lastname@example.org.