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With a recess day last Friday and the President’s Day holiday on Monday, I had the opportunity to travel back home to Hastings. This gave me the time to reflect, recharge and visit my Alma Mater, St. Cecilia High School in Hastings.
While there, I enjoyed lunch with a number of class officers and student council representatives. Additionally, I took the opportunity to meet with the school administration team to discuss issues of importance to the delivery of Catholic education. In this meeting, I listened to concerns and hopes for the future of Catholic education and shared any thoughts I had on the legislative topics that were brought to my attention.
The highlight of the day was a meeting with 140 plus high school students. I shared with them my past experiences at St. Cecilia’s and offered some life advice. The meeting ended with a Q & A session delivered through a moderator.
On the legislative side, after two full days of debate we were able to advance LB62 through a first round vote with overwhelming support. The purpose of this bill is to restore the religious freedom rights of teachers. If ultimately passed, it will repeal statutes originally supported by the KKK that prohibited teachers from wearing any type of religious garb. The bill’s only opponent was Senator Ernie Chambers. LB62 would undo the ban on public schoolteachers from wearing religious dress or garb while engaged in the performance of his or her duties in the classroom.
Currently, a person found in violation of current law, as written, could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and could be fined up $100, cost of prosecution or a jail term not to exceed 30 days. Additionally, any teacher found guilty shall be suspended for a year for the first offence and permanently disqualified from teaching at that school. This antiquated law should be repealed because good Nebraskans should not have their jobs, nor their livelihood jeopardized because of simply wearing garb that is reflective of their religious beliefs. Protecting this basic right is very important.
March 4th is a “Coffee with the Senator” double-header! My first coffee meeting will be from 9:00 to 10:00am at Kitty’s Roadhouse in Hastings. Then from 2:00 -3:00pm my second coffee will be held in Doniphan at the Doniphan Area Event Center. My staff has recommended to me that I switch to decaf for the second coffee. I hope you can join me for these meetings.