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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.
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.