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LEGISLATURE ADJOURNS SINE DIE
On Friday, May 31, the Legislature adjourned sine die, which means that we have concluded the First Session of the 106th Legislature and will reconvene next January for the Second Session.
This session, your 49 state senators were able to come together and enact important legislation related to regulating the hemp industry, medication abortion notification, and telephone “spoofing” investigations. We also passed a budget which includes more property tax relief funding. Although we were unable to advance substantive property tax relief, I am optimistic that my colleagues on the Revenue Committee will continue to work over the interim to find the best path forward that represents true tax relief and not a tax shift.
I look forward to staying busy over the interim conducting interim studies (listed below) and preparing legislation for the next session, as well as interacting with all of you in Grand Island. If you have any comments, concerns or questions, please call my office at 402-471-2617 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to reach out to me over the past several months, and I look forward to continue working with you and for you.
I have introduced and will be working on four interim studies to help inform legislation for the next session. They are:
LR173 – Interim study to examine health concerns related to the public use of and secondhand exposure to electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and other products
LR184 – Interim study to examine how to provide a sustainable and adequate stream of state funds to local public health departments to ensure they are able to meet their core responsibilities
LR190 – Interim study to examine Nebraska’s history of involvement in the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact
LR200 – Interim study to examine programming provided at the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Geneva and the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center-Kearney and the need for additional programming
JOURNEY OF HOPE
On Tuesday, July 9, I met with Journey of Hope bicyclists and Arc of Central Nebraska members. The Journey of Hope team is a group of cyclists traveling from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., from June 4 to August 10, and each participant raised at least $6,000 for people with disabilities. I appreciated visiting with this team of young people from across the United States who are riding to bring awareness to people with disabilities.
April has been another busy and productive month at the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature. The last afternoon committee hearings were held at the end of March, so we have now started full-day legislative debate on the floor.
My personal priority bill, LB149, was advanced out of the General Affairs Committee. LB149 increases the age of purchase for all tobacco and vapor products to 19 years of age and requires retailers to be licensed in order to sell electronic nicotine delivery systems. Vapor products have become a major issue for schools and are being used by children at surprising rates, and this bill works to proactively address this problem. It passed its first round of debate on April 30.
Another one of my bills, LB424, was prioritized by Sen. Stinner of Gering and started its first round of debate this month. LB424 would allow cities across the state to create and join land banks. A land bank is a useful tool for communities to clean up problem properties and put homes back on our tax roles.
This month I had the honor to tour the SkillsUSA Nebraska Leadership and Skills Conference with other state officials and representatives here in Grand Island. SkillsUSA is a national partnership of students, teachers, and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. Students competed in over 100 areas of career and technical education, including CNC Milling, Turning, Tech and Carpentry.
I’m glad I was able to attend and learn more about SkillsUSA, and I’m proud of Grand Island for hosting the state championships!
A SPECIAL GUEST!
One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting with fourth graders visiting the Capitol and sharing with them what makes the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature so unique. This month I welcomed a very special visitor to the Capitol: my granddaughter Amaya, who was touring with her fourth grade class from St. Pius X/St. Leo Elementary in Omaha.
SAFE DIGGING POSTER CONTEST
This month I enjoyed meeting Leo, winner of the 2019 Safe Digging Poster Contest from Knickrehm Elementary. The contest helped to promote Nebraska 811, a free and easy service that should be called before the public excavates or digs to ensure safety.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2019
Senator Quick invites students to Unicameral Youth Legislature
Statement from Senator Quick
High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth Legislature June 9-12. 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.
The Unicameral Youth Legislature gives behind-the-scenes access to students who have an interest in public office, government, politics, law, public policy, debate or public speaking. Students will learn about the inner workings of the Legislature directly from senators and staff.
“The only way you can make change is to get involved,” said Sen. Dan Quick. “The Unicameral Youth Legislature helps educate young Nebraskans on how the Legislature works to create positive change, whether it is for your school, community or elsewhere.”
Registrants are encouraged to apply for a Greg Adams Civic Scholarship award, which covers the full cost of admission. Applicants must submit a short essay. Other $100 scholarships are also available.
The Office of the Clerk of the Nebraska Legislature coordinates the Unicameral Youth Legislature. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Extension 4-H Youth Development Office coordinates housing and recreational activities as part of the Big Red Summer Camps program.
To learn more about the program, go to www.nebraskalegislature.gov/uyl or call 402-471-2788. The deadline for registration is May 15.
NEBRASKA’S HISTORIC FLOODING
I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to all of the Nebraskans impacted by the flooding and blizzard conditions this month. I am grateful for all of the hard work, generosity, and compassion from our first responders, our Nebraska National Guard, and the citizens who stepped up to volunteer their time, talent, and treasure. I also want to thank Governor Ricketts and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their work, and I stand ready with my colleagues in the Legislature to provide assistance. I know that Nebraskans are resilient, and we will rebuild.
I introduced LB160 this session to add early childhood infrastructure development to the list of projects available for economic development grants or loans. The bill passed in the legislature on March 15 and was approved by the governor on March 21. Early childhood care and education programs are important tools for communities. They can be utilized to attract new families in addition to ensuring parents have a safe place to take their kids in order to work.
NEBRASKA “KICK BUTTS” DAY
This month, I met with a group of impressive students from Grand Island representing No Limits, Nebraska’s first youth-led tobacco prevention movement, and I was honored to be a keynote speaker for their concluding rally. Thank you to No Limits for giving me the chance to hear a youth perspective on the problem of tobacco and vapor product use in our schools.
LB149 PRIORITIZED TO ADDRESS RISE IN TEENAGE USE OF TOBACCO AND VAPOR PRODUCTS
Due to the large number of bills submitted at the start of the legislative session, each senator gets to prioritize one bill in order to help get important issues to the legislative floor.
This year I prioritized my bill, LB149, in order to reduce the amount of young people who are using and becoming addicted to nicotine products. After working with Grand Island Public Schools, LB149 as advanced would raise the age of purchase and use of tobacco and e-cigarette nicotine products, would require retailers of these products to be licensed, and would include these e-cigarette products in the Clean Indoor Air Act so they couldn’t be used in public places or places of employment. Raising the age and licensing retailers will help keep these dangerously addictive nicotine products out of our children’s hands, and I think it is important to talk about on the floor this year.
Despite a decline in teen tobacco usage over the past two decades, recent reports show that e-cigarette and vapor product usage has rapidly grown among young people. A 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that e-cigarette usage from 2011 to 2017 increased by 680% among high school students and by 450% among middle school students.
In addition to being highly addictive, the nicotine contained in vapor products can have many harmful effects on young people specifically. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nicotine can harm the development of parts of the brain that help regulate adolescents’ attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
Unlike cigarettes, the vapor produced from an e-cigarette can be odorless, and e-cigarettes can come in a variety of shapes and sizes that can make them difficult to detect. Teachers and administrators across the state have brought attention to the growing problem of students using vapor products on school grounds. Grand Island Central Catholic recently banned students from bringing USB flash drives to school, due to the similar appearance flash drives share with certain vapor products.
We are facing the disturbing possibility of an entire generation of kids developing nicotine addiction that will last throughout their lives.
The time to act on this problem is now.
I spent much of the interim working with various stakeholders to make this legislation. I have continued to engage with these groups and the General Affairs committee which held the hearing for LB149, and I will fight for the strongest bill to advance to the governor to be signed into law.
LB149 was the first bill that I introduced this legislative session. I prioritized this piece of legislation because I do not believe the legislature can delay any longer to combat adolescent vapor product usage.
LB424 PRIORITIZED TO GIVE NEBRASKA COMMUNITIES AUTHORITY TO CREATE AND JOIN LAND BANKS
My colleague, Senator John Stinner of Gering, prioritized another one of my bills, LB424. LB424 would amend the Nebraska Municipal Land Bank Act to allow cities across the state to create and join land banks. A land bank is an important tool to empower our cities to clean up problem properties and put homes back on our tax rolls, and I appreciate Senator Stinner’s help in advancing this bill.
February has been a busy and productive month for the legislature, with many bills debated on the legislative floor in the morning and committee hearings in the afternoon. When Nebraska first changed from a two-house system to its current one-house Unicameral, many safeguards were put in place to prevent hasty legislation and to ensure transparency. All bills in Nebraska can contain only one subject, and each bill introduced in the legislature must have a public hearing. If a bill makes it out of committee following a hearing, it must then pass three rounds of debate in front of the entire legislature and be signed by the governor before becoming law.
This month, my bill, LB160, advanced out of the Urban Affairs Committee and successfully passed its first round of floor debate. LB160 would add early childhood education to the list of projects available for Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act funds. Many constituents have told me about the challenges of accessing early childhood care for their children, and a lack of early childhood education programming can prevent young families from moving to a new community. This bill would allow municipalities to choose whether or not early childhood infrastructure is needed for their community and to access these already existing economic development funds to develop these resources.
Furthermore, five of my bills had public hearings this month. LB424, which would broaden the authority to create or join a land bank to any municipality in the state, had its hearing in front of the Urban Affairs Committee. Land banks are governmental entities or non-profit organizations which focus on converting vacant, abandoned, or tax-delinquent properties into productive use according to the needs and priorities of the community. We heard supporting testimony from people representing communities across the state, and the bill currently has 25 senators signed on as co-sponsors. The state needs to address problem properties plaguing our communities, and I am proud to introduce LB424 as an effective tool for communities to use.
LB383, which would provide for an annual adjustment to the minimum wage, was heard in front of the Business and Labor Committee. In 2014, Nebraskans voted to raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour over a two year period. That led to a 10.34% raise in its first year and a 12.5% raise in its second year. LB383 would adjust the state minimum wage to reflect the average annual percentage change in the consumer price index for the most recent five-year period, and the increase cannot exceed 3.5%. This would allow for more gradual and manageable adjustments for businesses, while also allowing the minimum wage to adjust as Nebraska’s cost of living changes.
Additional bill hearings included: LB348 (Urban Affairs Committee), which would update state building code from the 2012 publication of the International Code Council to the 2018 edition; LB579 (Judiciary Committee), which would change the issuance of ignition interlock permits to be consistent with other offenses; and LB596 (Executive Board), which would create the Office of Inspector General of Nebraska Public Health to oversee investigations, audits, inspections, and other reviews of state-owned facilities providing health care and state-licensed health care facilities.
GRAND ISLAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE “COFFEE WITH YOUR SENATORS” EVENT
On Friday, February 15, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce hosted a “Coffee With Your Senators” event at The Chocolate Bar. Senator Halloran and I reviewed the current legislative session.
I talked about three of my bills, LB149, which would change provisions relating to vapor products; LB160, which would redefine terms under the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act to include early childhood infrastructure development and early childhood care and education programs; and LB424, which would broaden the authority to create or join a land bank to any municipality in the state.
We also answered constituents’ questions on a wide variety of topics. We had a discussion on property tax relief and some of the bills introduced this session to address this pressing issue, and we talked about additional bills introduced by other senators about which constituents had questions or concerns.
I appreciate the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event and all of the folks who came out to participate in an engaging and productive discussion on our legislative process.
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.
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
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