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 email@example.com
Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 35th 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.
Sen. Dan Quick
2019 BILLS INTRODUCED
Senators have the first 10 days of each legislative session to introduce bills in the Nebraska Unicameral. This session, I have introduced 15 bills that address a wide variety of issues that I campaigned on and that were brought to me by constituents. I plan to speak more in depth on each of these bills as session continues, but for now I have included a listing of each bill’s number, a brief description, and a link to the bill on the Nebraska Legislature’s website to learn more.
LB149: Change provisions relating to vapor products
LB160: Redefine terms under the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act to include early childhood infrastructure development and quality early childhood care and education programs for certain cities and villages
LB225: Appropriate funds to the Nebraska State Historical Society to fund the Nebraska Main Street Network
LB226: State intent relating to appropriations for the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Kearney and the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Geneva
LB287: Change and provide duties for the Game and Parks Commission and change provisions relating to stamps, permits, fees, and hunter orange display requirements as prescribed
LB326: Appropriate funds to the Department of Health and Human Services
LB348: Adopt changes to the state building code
LB364: Change provisions relating to a limit on fees under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act
LB383: Provide for an annual adjustment to the minimum wage
LB401: Adopt the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact
LB408: Change provisions relating to compensation paid upon the death on an employee under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act
LB424: Change the Nebraska Municipal Land Bank Act
LB480: State intent relating to appropriations to local public health departments
LB579: Authorize issuance of ignition interlock permits to persons who caused serious bodily injury while driving under the influence
LB596: Adopt the Office of Inspector General of Nebraska Public Health Act
Committee hearings began on Tuesday, January 22. This year, I will continue to serve on the Natural Resources Committee, which meets on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons. I have also been assigned to serve on the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee, which meets on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. I have appreciated the last two years serving on the General Affairs and Urban Affairs committees, and I look forward to the upcoming opportunities.
GOVERNOR’S INAUGURAL BALL
Alice and I enjoyed attending the Governor’s Inaugural Ball on Saturday, January 12. It was an amazing event, and it was great to see everyone come together to celebrate Nebraska!
This month, I helped host a legislative luncheon in partnership with ProRail Nebraska and SMART labor union regarding Nebraska’s adoption of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact (MIPRC). MIPRC brings together state leaders from nine Midwestern states to advocate for passenger rail improvements. As members of MIPRC, Nebraska gains a seat at the table to advocate for passenger rail improvements in Nebraska. Nebraska’s membership is set to expire this summer, and I introduced LB401 to continue Nebraska’s involvement in the compact.
During the luncheon, I joined other state senators and staff to hear from Laura Kliewer, MIPRC Director, and Tim Hoeffner, Michigan Department of Transportation Office of Rail Director and MIPRC Vice-Chair. It was a great opportunity to discuss the benefits of MIPRC membership and of developing intercity and interstate passenger rail travel.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2019
Senator Quick introduces bill to provide for an annual adjustment to the state minimum wage
Statement from Senator Quick
LINCOLN, NE – Fulfilling a campaign promise to be a voice for working families, today Senator Dan Quick introduced LB383, which would require an annual adjustment in the state minimum wage. Under this bill, beginning in 2020, the State Treasurer would adjust the minimum wage each year to reflect the average annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the most recent five-year period.
“I have experience working with employers to adjust wages using the Consumer Price Index, and I think it’s the best way to keep up with the cost of living for our state minimum wage,” said Senator Quick.
“If we adjust the minimum wage to keep up with inflation each year, we’ll make smaller adjustments that won’t be as painful for businesses instead of having to make big adjustments every few years. In fact, under this bill the changes would be automatic and we wouldn’t have to address the minimum wage again, and it would automatically keep up with the cost of living.”
The CPI is already used to adjust Social Security payments and to automatically provide cost-of-living wage adjustments to millions of workers and military and Federal Civil Service retirees. Rather than having a dramatic increase in minimum wage every few years as a result of a ballot initiative, this proposal will allow for a gradual increase that is tied more closely to the cost of living, allowing for less harm to businesses and more benefits for our working families.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2019
Senator Quick introduces bill to provide restrictions relating to the sale and use of vapor products and flavored liquids
Statement from Senator Quick
LINCOLN, NE – Today, Senator Dan Quick introduced LB149, which would provide restrictions relating to the sale and use of vapor products and flavored liquids.
“Although many people may think that the use of vaping and e-cigarettes is primarily as a smoking cessation device for adults, the reality is that many teenagers and children are accessing e-cigarettes with nicotine and using them at alarming rates,” said Senator Quick.
“LB149 will combat this public health issue by restricting the purchase and use of vapor products and flavored liquids for youth under the age of 21. It will also license e-cigarette distributors the same way as traditional cigarette sellers and will add vapor products to the Clean Indoor Air Act. These changes are an important way to reduce the access to these harmful devices by our children.”
The legislation will ensure that vapor product retailers are licensed in the same manner as traditional nicotine products retailers. It will raise the age of purchase for e-cigarettes and vapor products to 21 and will prohibit those under 21 from being able to purchase flavored nicotine liquids used in e-cigarette and vapor products. It will also add these products to the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act, which will prohibit vaping and e-cigarette use in public spaces and workplaces.
Today marks the beginning of the 106th Legislature–First Session, and I am just as honored and humbled to serve the people of Grand Island as your state senator as I was when I took the oath of office two years ago to represent District 35 in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.
Since then, I have been fortunate to grow and learn many valuable lessons with the help of my fellow senators and with the help of constituents who have taken the time to reach out and share their views with me.
In my two years in the Legislature, I have learned about a lot of issues affecting the lives of Nebraskans, and I have worked to address a broad range of topics, such as the state budget, child welfare, water rights, and public power.
I have also learned the importance of working together. The Unicameral is unique as a nonpartisan body, and I firmly believe that our top priority as legislators is not to serve the partisan interests of one political party over another, but rather to serve the hardworking people of the state. Although we may not agree on every issue, it is essential that we remain willing to listen, to learn, and to keep an open mind.
If not, we won’t be able to address pressing issues, such as finding realistic and effective ways to address property tax relief, to support public education, to improve child welfare and access to healthcare, to provide support for working families, and to encourage job growth in Nebraska, in addition to many other important policy issues.
This session, I plan on introducing legislation to address abandoned properties that have plagued communities across Nebraska by enabling them to create land banks. Over the summer, the Urban Affairs Committee heard testimony in support of land banks, which are a common sense solution to fix abandoned and dilapidated properties in the state. Land banks can help make properties and neighborhoods safer, and they are an important tool to increase affordable and workforce housing. During the hearings, we heard about Habitat for Humanity’s support to expand land banks, and I have also met with private developers, such as the Central Nebraska Home Builders Association, to discuss this legislation.
I also will be working this session to address the current lack of quality early childhood education programs. In addition to providing children with important opportunities to grow in social and intellectual development, early childhood education programs give working families a safe and trusted place to take their children.
Finally, recent reports and news articles have made it clear that there is a troubling rise in youth usage of e-cigarette and vapor products, including within our schools. I plan to introduce a bill that will work to limit the availability of these products to youth.
The start of the new year and the new session is a great opportunity to reflect on goals for the future and ways in which Nebraska’s state senators can collaborate to pursue practical and innovative solutions to the challenges the state faces. I begin this session feeling confident and hopeful for what’s in store for the future. I hope you will reach out to me or my staff and share your thoughts this session as we work together to help Nebraska.
Note: This opinion was also published in The Grand Island Independent on January 9, 2019.
WISHING YOU A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Alice and I would like to wish you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season this year! We hope your next year is filled with many blessings.
NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE HEARING
In addition to gearing up for the start of the 106th Legislative Session, I have had the opportunity to continue to participate in interim committee hearings since the last session adjourned in April.
On Friday, November 30, the Natural Resources Committee met in Omaha to discuss LR464, Sen. Justin Wayne’s interim study to review public power.
Prior to the hearing, the members of the Natural Resources Committee were given a tour of the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Energy Plaza in Omaha. As you may know, I worked for the Grand Island Utilities Department at Platte Generating Station for 28 years before retiring to serve as a state senator, and I appreciated the opportunity to learn from OPPD about their current practices. It was a nice chance for other members of the committee to learn more about public power as well.
That afternoon, we then heard testimony on Sen. Wayne’s LR464. I’m thankful to all who came out to discuss the current state of public power in Nebraska.
MIPRC AMTRAK VISITS
Derrick James, a regional official for Amtrak, visited Nebraska this month to meet with state and local officials to discuss Nebraska’s membership in the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact (MIPRC).
I currently serve as one of two legislative commissioners for MIPRC, which brings together state leaders in the Midwest to advocate for passenger rail improvements.
I joined Mr. James for many of his meetings. We met with Sen. Mike Hilgers, who represents District 21; Sen. Suzanne Geist, who represents District 25; Mayor Corey Stutte of Hastings; and Mayor Doug Young of Holdrege. Mr. James also had meetings with Sen. Dan Hughes, who represents District 44 in southwest Nebraska, and Mayor Mike Gonzalez of McCook.
It was nice to speak to so many individuals across Nebraska about developing and improving passenger rail systems in the state.
THANK YOU, SARAH!
On Wednesday, December 19, I got to show Sarah, my Legislative Aide, around the district in Grand Island and meet with folks at Grand Island Public Schools, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Heartland United Way. I’m glad she could see what makes Grand Island so special and discuss policies that can benefit the district and the state!
LEGISLATIVE SESSION STRUCTURE
One of my main goals for my monthly update is to help my constituents feel more connected to the Nebraska Legislature and make it more accessible to understand how the lawmaking process works in the state. So, this month I’d like to take the opportunity to explain the structure of the legislative session itself and how bills become laws in Nebraska.
This year, the 106th Legislature begins on January 9, 2019. Bills can be introduced by state senators or by committees during the first 10 working days of the session, so this year all bills must be introduced by January 23.
After being introduced, all bills are then assigned to a committee and given a public hearing. Based on the testimony given during the hearing, committee members debate the bill and either vote to advance the bill to General File with or without amendments, to indefinitely postpone the bill, or to take no action on it.
If a bill makes it out of committee, it must then go through two rounds of debate and be voted on three times.
The first time the full Legislature debates and votes on a bill is called General File. The second time is called Select File. During the two rounds of debate, state senators can propose amendments to the bill. The last round of votes is called Final Reading, and during this stage a bill cannot be debated or amended.
If a bill is advanced from Final Reading, it is given to the Governor, who has five days either to sign it into law, to decline to act on it (in which case it also becomes a law), or to veto the bill.
THANK YOU, VETERANS!
On Thursday, November 8, I was honored to speak to the veterans in our community for the 20th annual Veterans Day program at the Grand Island Veterans Home. It is the responsibility of all Americans to recognize and to honor veterans’ service to our country and the sacrifices they have made and to help those with struggles heal after they return to civilian life. Thank you for your service to our country.
GRAND ISLAND SENIOR HIGH CAPITOL TOUR & LUNCH
On Tuesday, November 13, I had the pleasure to tour the Capitol with a small group of students and faculty from Grand Island Senior High (GISH). I especially appreciated hearing about their experiences at GISH and learning their thoughts on other topics over lunch. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet them!
For years, manufacturing has been a major industry here in Grand Island. To celebrate 2018 Manufacturing Month, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Dream It. Do It. Nebraska held tours of two businesses to learn about the products and objects being manufactured right here in our community.
Two businesses were chosen by the Chamber to highlight this year. On Thursday, October 25, I toured Chief Fabrication, and on Thursday, November 1, I toured Penrose Machining.
These tours were a great opportunity for me to learn about what manufacturing businesses in our community are currently doing and to gain further insight into their plans for the future. I am thankful to the local workers and business leaders who helped with the tours and to the Grand Island Chamber Commerce and Dream It. Do It. Nebraska for planning them.
CONGRATULATIONS, GISH FOOTBALL!
Congratulations to the Grand Island Senior High (GISH) football team for a great season. I enjoyed attending and watching our team play in the Nov. 19 Class A State Championship game along with Dr. Grover, parents, friends, and students who cheered them on. They played with heart, determination, and impressive teamwork which allowed them to lead for most of the game. We are all proud of you and congratulations again on your second place finish and winning season.
During the last session, the legislature voted on and passed LR296.
This resolution created a special committee to look at assisted living facilities that provide mental health care. LR296 states how the committee shall be composed and provides a guideline of the actions the committee can take in order to thoroughly investigate state-licensed care facilities. This resolution also states the committee will release a report with its recommendations and findings before December 15, 2018.
We had meetings early in the process with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) which provided us with information about facility inspections and the inspection process. We also heard from advocates for residents who live at some of the facilities about the issues they face. The committee proceeded by requesting further information from DHHS, meeting with an individual from the Ombudsman’s office, and doing site visits to facilities throughout the state. I was also able to go along with a surveyor for a site visit to an assisted living facility to watch an inspection.
What I have learned from my visits so far has been invaluable. Because the funding source from residents is Social Security and Medicaid, the costs to provide the type of care most residents need is greater than the funding provided. The lack of funding presents a problem to the provider based on what services and how much care they can provide for the residents. These are individuals who suffer from mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive behavior, post traumatic stress disorder, and others. These illnesses require a special care, including programming, counseling, and treatment through medications, but this is difficult to provide with a lack of funding.
What I have witnessed while touring facilities is that most are doing their best to provide the needed care, programming, and living facilities for the residents. However, some facilities are only doing the least amount required, which places the resident in a bad situation of not having the care or programming they need, and unhealthy living conditions. The challenge for the LR296 Committee is to find a solution for facilities so they can best help their residents.
MEDICAID EXPANSION INITIATIVE 427
With the Medicaid expansion measure on the ballot this year, I wanted to express my thoughts on why I am in favor of Initiative 427.
If passed, Medicaid expansion will provide coverage for 90,000 hardworking Nebraskans. Those who would be covered work at jobs that come without health care coverage and have annual incomes of $16,753 for an individual and $34,638 for a household of four.
They are our family members, friends, and neighbors who live in both rural and urban areas. They work jobs in restaurants and shops, in home health care, on construction sites, on farms and ranches, and more.
The problems for people who can’t afford health care include severe illness or even death from treatable illnesses, loss of a job, bankruptcy, homelessness, and legal problems.
Those of us who can afford health insurance or have coverage through an employer understand how important preventative health care can be. For many who do not have health insurance and are struggling to make day to day financial decisions, preventative care can take a back seat. This means that many can’t afford a doctor’s visit for an illness, yearly checkups, or cancer screenings. Illnesses go undiscovered or are ignored until they are so sick that the emergency room is the first care they receive.
Preventative health care is essential whether you have insurance or not and has a major effect on the cost of health care as well as insurance premiums. Our fellow Americans who live in states that have expanded Medicaid use preventative services more than low-income individuals who live in states like Nebraska which haven’t yet expanded Medicaid.
The expansion of Medicaid will not only benefit individuals and families but also will provide economic growth with the dollars that will be spent for needed health care. A recent report from researchers at the University of Nebraska at Kearney shows that the federal funds received from expanding Medicaid will flow from the health sector into supporting services and Nebraska’s economy, touching all Nebraskans.
The report also shows that expanding Medicaid will reduce uncompensated care and will help protect the health infrastructure necessary for a strong local economy, particularly in rural areas.
In 33 other states, Medicaid expansion has improved the health and lives of low-income Americans through increased access to primary care and preventative care. It’s time to pass Initiative 427 and expand health care for our 90,000 Nebraskan neighbors who need it, while growing our economy with the federal tax dollars we all have paid.
Note: This opinion was also published in The Grand Island Independent on October 26, 2018.
CONGRATULATIONS TO GRAND ISLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
Grand Island Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Grover and me at the GEAR UP announcement on October 15.
On Monday, October 15, I attended the Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS) announcement that they won a Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) seven-year federal matching grant for a new college readiness program. Only 24 GEAR UP grants were awarded in the country, and this was the only GEAR UP grant awarded in the state. I am incredibly proud of the hard work and effort put in by both GIPS and members of the community not only to win this grant but also to earn the in-kind contributions and partner matches for a total impact of over $13 million! I look forward to seeing GEAR UP implemented in the coming years to benefit students in our community and prepare them with the skills to attend post-secondary education.
MIDWEST INTERSTATE PASSENGER RAIL COMMISSION (MIPRC) ANNUAL MEETING
All of us on Milwaukee’s new streetcar, The Hop, during the MIPRC annual meeting.
On October 3-5, I joined 53 others to attend annual meeting of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC) in Milwaukee, WI. During the meeting, I toured the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, which recently gained a new passenger concourse, and the maintenance facility for Milwaukee’s streetcar system, known as “The Hop,” which is scheduled to begin next month. This new system will provide increased access to parts of Milwaukee for its residents and visitors. I also attended presentations on a wide variety of topics related to passenger rail systems, including recent states’ developments and updates from the region.
I appreciated the opportunity to meet with so many individuals interested in developing passenger rail systems in the Midwest. When looking for new locations, many businesses are interested in seeing what types of public transportation we offer in the community or state, and I am also excited to explore the ways this can benefit Nebraska’s tourism industry.
HOLLAND CHILDREN’S MOVEMENT HONOR ROLL AWARDS
I attended the Holland Children’s Movement Honor Roll Awards on Thursday, October 18. I was recognized alongside 19 other state senators for receiving an “A” grade for standing up for children and working families in the Nebraska Legislature. I am very grateful to the Holland Children’s Movement for recognizing me, and I plan to continue fighting for children and families in our community and in our state.
KENYA TRADE DELEGATION TRIP
A photo from my visit to a Kenyan coffee farm. Kenyan coffee is considered by many to be among the best coffee in the world.
A county government official talking with me during a visit to a coffee farm outside of Nairobi.
County officials and me taking a photo after a meeting to discuss their county’s efforts to benefit farmers in the area.
From Friday, August 17, to Sunday, August 26, I participated in a local trade delegation to Kenya through the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation (GIAEDC) to discuss making Grand Island a distribution hub of Kenyan coffee in the United States and to explore opportunities to export goods and services from Nebraska to Kenya. We also shared ideas on how to improve agricultural practices in Kenya.
During the week, I met with coffee farmers and their families, county governors, members of parliament, the Minister of Agriculture, and the Deputy President. I also toured a coffee processing facility. Although I am not usually much of a coffee drinker, I enjoyed trying many delicious cups of coffee.
Kenyan coffee is considered by many to be among the best coffee in the world, and Kenya’s climate contributes to the flavorful beans grown in the country.
Our effort is to help the farmer sell directly to Nebraska and the U.S. market. This will benefit the farmer by allowing him to receive a better price for his produce, and it will benefit Nebraskans by providing an opportunity to buy and consume the best coffee in the world.
I am thankful for all of the people I met in Kenya for treating us like we were a part of their families, and I look forward to continuing discussions going forward.
Even though the 105th Legislature-Second Session adjourned for the year in April, my office has continued to stay busy by conducting research for interim studies, attending meetings, and preparing for committee hearings.
Urban Affairs Hearings
On August 28, the Urban Affairs Committee met in Omaha to hear four resolutions. We heard testimony on LR 398, Sen. Justin Wayne’s interim study to examine the impact on sanitary and improvement districts upon annexations by municipalities; LR 392, Sen. Matt Hansen’s interim study to examine neighborhood issues and potential neighborhood improvement tools; LR 397, Sen. Wayne’s interim study to examine the statutory authority for municipalities to establish port authorities; and LR 399, Sen. Wayne’s interim study to examine issues related to metropolitan transit authorities. Further hearings for LR 398 and LR 399 were held in Bellevue on September 4.
On September 25, we met here in Grand Island to hear three resolutions. We heard testimony on LR 319, my interim study to determine a sustainable revenue source for the Nebraska Main Street Network; LR 400, my interim study to examine issues related to the Nebraska Municipal Land Bank Act; and LR 433, Sen. Hansen’s interim study to evaluate the availability of affordable housing in Nebraska municipalities with an emphasis on rental housing. That afternoon, we met in Ord to hear further testimony on LR 400 and LR 433. I appreciated hearing from all who took the time to share their expertise or experiences with the committee, but I am especially thankful to those who took the time to speak on my interim studies.
Natural Resources Hearings
On August 31, the Natural Resources Committee met in Lincoln to discuss LR 387, Sen. Dan Hughes’s interim study to examine issues relating to the spread of Eastern Red Cedar trees. There was a very good turnout for this hearing, with many Nebraskans sharing their views on this invasive species affecting many in rural communities.
Farewell wishes to Katie Chatters & Craig Breunig…
Katie Chatters and Craig Breunig both served in my office since I was elected in 2016. Katie left as my Administrative Assistant to move to Pennsylvania with her family, and Craig retired as my Legislative Aide after working with the Legislature for 19 years. Please join me in thanking Katie and Craig for their dedication to District 35 and to the State of Nebraska.
…and welcome to Conner Kozisek & Sarah Wagelie!
Two new legislative staffers started in my office this summer. My new Legislative Aide is Sarah Wagelie (Left) and my new Administrative Assistant is Conner Kozisek (Right).
Conner Kozisek started as my new Administrative Assistant on August 20. He is from Ainsworth and recently received a B.A. in political science and Spanish from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Outside of the office, Conner enjoys watching and discussing films and visiting coffee shops with friends or a good book. His responsibilities include scheduling meetings for the office, helping me communicate with constituents, and assisting constituents with any problems they might have with the state. He is happy to answer any questions you may have at 402-471-2617 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Wagelie began as my new Legislative Aide on September 10. She is from Omaha and received her B.A. in political science from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2016. She has experience working in the legislature, previously serving as the Administrative Assistant for Senator Matt Hansen’s office. In her free time, Sarah enjoys to stay involved with local politics and spend quality time with her cat, Oakley. Her responsibilities include assisting in legislative research for bills, resolutions, and interim studies, and drafting and advising legislation. She looks forward to answering your questions at 402-471-2617 or at email@example.com.
I have just completed my first session in the Nebraska Legislature and I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts and impressions of this year. As slow moving as it may have seemed for most of you it went by extremely fast for me. We witnessed a divided legislature to begin the session resulting in a battle over the rules for the first 30 days. Near the end of the session we experienced almost the same division when we voted to override the Governor’s veto on the budget. There were 667 bills introduced this year and we worked together to pass more than 170. We worked through a major budget shortfall and passed a balanced budget for the next 2 years.
Each Senator has his or her motive for supporting or opposing a bill and I understand that it is next to impossible to please everyone. Before voting on a bill I would make sure I understood how the bill would affect my constituents and all Nebraskans for that matter and then come to a decision on whether to support or oppose it. When asked about my position I was honest with my response in explaining my decision. The experience I gained this first session was invaluable and I have enjoyed my time working in Legislature even though there were times I was disappointed in how a vote would turn out. I would say the most disappointing moment for me was near the end of session when we voted to override the Governor’s veto on the budget. Even though several of us voiced our concerns and shared our personal stories we could not muster up the votes to override the veto. This was a cut to provider rates for facilities that provide care to people with behavioral health issues, those with disabilities and for the elderly. The Appropriations Committee did an excellent job of putting a budget together that was balanced and took care not to cut needed services too deeply so Nebraskans would not be harmed. I put my trust in them and I wish others had as well.
When I was going door to door before the election many of you expressed the need for property tax relief. LB461 was brought to the floor during the session, but it didn’t offer true property tax relief and it came at a time when we were dealing with a $1.1 billion-dollar shortfall. This bill gave income tax relief and changed the formula for agricultural land from property value to more of an income value based tax. There would be no property tax relief for those living in urban areas. The income tax portion provided tax relief to corporations and higher wage earners and provided little to no tax relief for working families. Another problem is that schools, municipalities, counties, and many other local boards rely on property tax revenue for their budgets. If we are going to reduce revenue we need to make sure we have revenue from somewhere else to help fund them.
I know it has nothing to do with legislation, but on several occasions, I had the opportunity to visit with 4th grade classes who had traveled to the Capitol for their field trip. They were all very polite and I even had the opportunity to answer some of their questions and have my picture taken with them. I enjoyed speaking to the children and I want to thank you for letting me visit with you and those students.
On the bright side, I did have two of my bills pass this year. One is LB383 which allows for a member of planning commission hold another office within a community of the first class, second class or village if they do not already serve as mayor, on a city council or village board, as a member of any community redevelopment authority, or a citizen advisory review committee. This would solve a problem in some smaller communities where elected positions go unfilled because there are not enough people interested in holding those positions.
The second bill is LB455 which updates the minimum standards set forth in the National Electrical Code issued and adopted by the National Fire Protection Association which govern the State Electrical Board. It allows the State Electrical Board to continue to have the power to adopt, promulgate, and revise the rules and regulations necessary to enable it to carry into effect the State Electrical Act.
I still have three other bills on general file awaiting debate during the next session which begins in January 2018.
I introduced LR164 to request an interim study which will examine the need for restoration, development, and capital improvement of sites that attract tourists to Nebraska. During the summer and fall I will be involved with several interim studies through the committees I serve on. Some will have hearings in Lincoln and others in out-state Nebraska including Grand Island. Interim studies are open to the public and there will be notification of a location and time for all hearings.
I recently made a trip along with Senator Lynn Walz to Washington D.C. to speak with Nebraska’s Congressmen and Senators. Senator Walz and I were appointed as the legislative commissioners to the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission or MIPRC. There are 11 states included in the Midwest region with 9 states having active membership. The membership states are Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Iowa and Ohio are the two states not represented. There is intercity passenger rail as well as long distance which would be Amtrak that runs through Nebraska. In Nebraska in 2016 there were 54,593 passengers who used Amtrak with the most riders traveling from Omaha to Chicago and Omaha to Denver. Another 118,692 passengers traveled by Amtrak through our state with some de-training here in Nebraska. President Trump’s current budget proposal would cut funding for long distance passenger rail which means no funding for Amtrak in Nebraska. We were visiting our representatives in Washington D.C. to express our concerns and educate them on the importance of Amtrak to our state and to find out what their feelings were on the President’s plan. Other issues discussed were frequency of service in Nebraska and how in the future there are plans for a separate line running through Iowa from Chicago to Omaha to increase daily service and ridership. Another possible plan for the future is a line that runs from Kansas City to Omaha, but that may be further down the road.
Also, this summer and fall my plans include participating in interim studies. I will be working on bills for next year, attending local events, talking with constituents through meetings and even going door to door to get your input.
Please feel free to contact my office if you have an issue or would like to schedule a meeting and visit my face book page at State Senator Dan Quick