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A cold harvest season is flying by and we are headed into the last few weeks of planning before the Legislature convenes in January. To be prepared for the next session, I’ve attended several public hearings, district events, met with senators and had many conversations with constituents and stake holders.
Early in the month, the Appropriations Committee met jointly with the Agriculture Committee to hear from the state Brand Committee and get an update from the Nebraska Department of Ag. We will meet again jointly with the Revenue Committee next week. I also attended programs presented by the Open Sky Policy Institute and the Platte Institute. I appreciate being able to hear from both these organizations, which have different approaches to the issues.
Working with my fellow senators is an important aspect of serving in the Legislature. A couple weeks ago, I participated in a town hall meeting with Senator Lynn Walz in Scribner. I was able to hear some of the stories of how communities around Fremont dealt with the March flooding, and some of the flooding issues they still have including refurbishing houses, roads that are still closed and farm ground that has been taken out of production.
As you may recall, Senator Hunt spoke on KWBE with me in September. Later this week, Senator Vargas will join me on the radio program. Both of them represent areas of Omaha. Again, I believe it is helpful to hear why people approach the issues in different ways and the concerns that affect their districts.
At a pancake breakfast in Bennet on the 12th, I spoke with quite a number of constituents. We talked about property tax relief, conceal carry permits for volunteer fire department and rescue squad members, and the need for strong volunteer departments in our rural areas.
The junior class at Beatrice High School attended a school board meeting held over the noon hour at the school in mid-October. This helped fulfill the requirements of the new “civics” bill implemented by the Legislature this year. I was glad to see and hear about many important activities happening at Beatrice High School.
Another event I attended was the CAFCON forum held in Lincoln at Lutheran Family Services. CAFCON is a consortium of a dozen organizations which form the back bone of child welfare services in the state. They discussed many matters they are facing, the primary one being state funding and how it is handled.
Lincoln police Chief Bleimeister and staff from the mayor’s office met with me to discuss issues relating to District 30. Several organizations have met me in my office to talk about their legislative goals for the coming year. Along with other senators who represent portions of our capitol city, I talked with the editorial board of the Lincoln paper about the most pressing issues for the district.
The Nebraska Association of County Officials met at SCC in Lincoln in mid-month as well. We talked about the condition that county roads are in and how to fund them. I outlined the topics that will be discussed in the next legislative session. There were also concerns about how bills passed have impacts on counties, and more importantly, county budgets.
I was a panelist at a convention on solar and wind power in late October, along with several other senators whose districts are looking at energy generation projects. Part of our discussion centered on the new solar farm going in northeast of Lincoln.
In between these events, I have continued to meet with various groups to discuss ways to handle the property tax issues across our state. Since the upcoming session is only 60 days in length, we will need to be very intentional with bills introduced and our priorities.
My staff is at work on upcoming legislation, as well as working with individual constituents who have contacted my office. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-2620. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in District 30.