NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Dave Murman

Sen. Dave Murman

District 38

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 dmurman@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 8th, 2020

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 38th 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.

Sincerely,
Sen. Dave Murman

The pandemic and the governmental response to it have caused serious damage to our economy. Many people are hurting economically. Unemployment is at an all time high in the United States. Many that are still working have been forced to take cuts in hours and/or pay. Many business owners and farmers are taking huge losses in earnings or are losing their businesses entirely. As a result, tax revenues in Nebraska and in the United States will be reduced drastically.

 

There are some great examples of public servants near the top of the pay scale who have sacrificed to do their part due to the uncertain future as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The School Board from South Central Nebraska Unified School District #5 has voted unanimously to forgo scheduled salary increases for administrative staff. Spread between five positions the reductions in the budget totals $29,232. A 1% percent increase in health insurance benefits has been approved. It took courage by both the school board and the staff to accomplish this agreement. The taxpayers appreciate your sacrifice!

 

Then there are school districts in the state where voters need to hold school boards and administrators more accountable. An example is the Omaha metro area. Westside Community Schools board recently voted to raise the base pay of the Superintendent by 2.5% or $5,750 to $235,750 per year.. The contract also includes a performance bonus of $5,000 and a retention bonus of $5,000 that could be included if he stays with the district through June 1st, 2021. Papillion-LaVista Community Schools proposed a 1%  salary increase which equates to $2,373 for a total of $239,675. Bellevue Public Schools board approved a 3.6% salary increase of $8,364 for a total of $240,044.

 

The Omaha Public School board recently considered an extension of their Superintendents contract through 2023 in which the base salary of $300,000 would not change but she would be allowed to convert unused vacation days into cash. When this position was open just a few years ago there were 74 applications for the job. Apparently the pay was not a limiting factor in drawing in applicants. In rural areas it is hard to attract a pool of applicants for administrative candidates, even with a generous salary.

 

Another idea of where there could be potential for sacrifice because of the loss of taxpayer revenue would be the administration of our University. The University and President Carter are doing a good job during this challenging time. However, President Carter is paid a compensation package estimated at $1.2  Million annually. This makes him one of the highest paid University Presidents in the nation. Other administrative salaries can’t be far behind. We all need to sacrifice during these difficult times.

Governor Ricketts compared the original health care directives imposed on the economy of Nebraska to driving 5mph down Interstate 80. As some of the directives are eased, I hope we can immediately accelerate to 60 mph and then completely to 75 mph. We have to get the economy moving again without taking unnecessary risks.

 

Physical distancing, reduced capacities, face masks, temperature checks, and other common sense precautions must be used wherever practical at least on a temporary basis. We must focus protection on close working environments such as packing plants. Also medical and long term care facilities must be protected. There is considerable risk of not opening up as quickly as possible. We could see permanent damage to our economy and even our American way of life.

 

As the legislature went into a temporary recess in March, several costly issues were left unaddressed. By far the most important grassroots issue being relief from the economic burden of Nebraska’s repressive property taxes. The bill on the table to do so was LB 1106. The bill, introduced by Speaker Scheer, would add approximately 100 million per year for state aid to public schools, thus lowering local property taxes by the same amount reaching a total of 300 million by the third and final year of its implementation.

 

A second issue was LB 720, otherwise known as the ImagiNE Act. The ImagiNE Act is the most important issue of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and the corporate business lobby. It would replace the soon to sunset Nebraska Advantage Act. By the third year of its implementation, the ImagiNE Act is estimated to add an additional 50 million to the Revenue Department’s already forecasted 180 million loss of the existing Advantage Act obligations.

 

The Legislature was also presented with a demand from Nebraska voters. They voted to mandate that the state fund medicaid expansion. The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated medicaid expansion could add $62 million to the state budget by 2023.

 

We also need to address prison overcrowding as it has become an urgent issue in Nebraska. The Department of Corrections has proposed leasing a 1,200 -1,800 bed facility at a cost of approximately $70 million per year.

 

All of this new state spending is expected to be paid for by a projected 4.5% annual historic revenue growth which amounts to approximately $225 million per year.

 

In addition to all of this spending, the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center has requested that the Legislature appropriate $50 million per year over six years. This would be used to attract a $1.5 billion federal investment in a Department of Defense pilot program that would build a hospital in Omaha. The hospital would provide thousands of jobs and increase tax revenues to the state by about $50 million.

 

None of the above will be done without getting our economy back to near normal quickly. A poor economy hurts everyone, especially those near the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. As I have said before, the cure cannot be worse than the disease. We must get back to 75 mph.

COVID-19
April 30th, 2020

In response to COVID-19 our office is closed for precautionary reasons. We are working remotely and can still help. If you need help please call (402)471-2732 or email dmurman@leg.ne.gov with any questions or concerns.

Weekly Article – 4/27/2020
April 30th, 2020

When the coronavirus began to spread around the world there were many unknowns. How does it spread? How contagious is it? What populations are most vulnerable? How many will be hospitalized? How many will die? How much immunity results? How long will immunity last? Will there be more than one wave? Etc.

President Trump and Governor Ricketts have responded well with the information they originally had. We know much more about the virus now than we did a few weeks ago. As President Trump has said, ”One death is too many.“ In many ways the effects of the virus have not been as severe as earlier feared. The time has come with proper precautions that the vast majority of Nebraskans that are not working can go back to work and get our economy moving again. To continue with the extreme precautionary guidelines will cause irreversible damage to many businesses and more importantly to the whole economy. The cure cannot be worse than the disease.

Unfortunately, a recession is most harmful to the poor and underprivileged. When the economy is good there are jobs for everyone and more social, educational, and health programs are available and can be funded. Also, if we don’t return the economy to better form we cannot be as prepared for a possible second wave of the virus.

We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the local health departments, first responders, law- enforcement, hospital personnel, grocery stores, healthcare workers, and all essential services, for their tireless work and dedication often risking their own health during this crisis. I would like to thank Nebraskans for following the healthcare directives from the Governor and the President. I know Nebraskans will continue to follow the directives even as they are greatly relaxed in the coming days.

Finally I would like to thank God for answering the prayer of Vice President Pence in the
unfolding days of the pandemic and giving our leaders guidance on how to respond. The United States has avoided the predicted tremendous number of deaths and hospitals from being overrun. With common sense guidelines all of us that are able need to return to work. Those with underlying health conditions or living with someone with underlying health conditions should still continue to work remotely and their paychecks need to be protected as long as there is a health threat. May God continue to bless America!

4/3 update
April 3rd, 2020

This past week the Legislature returned to session for three days for the sole purpose of providing emergency funding for health departments and the state to combat the COVID-19 virus. The importance of the bill was evident so the bill passed unanimously with no debate. I am proud that we were able to come together and get this done quickly for the people in this state. The proposal totaled $83,619,600 and included emergency appropriations to allow for COVID-19 testing, lab equipment, healthcare staffing to cover response needs, and a cash reserve if needed. 

 

The coronavirus outbreak has led to economic havoc across our country. From falling ethanol, Grain, and livestock markets, household goods flying off the shelves, cancellation of travel and school, and the fear of getting sick and having to quarantine for an extended time. The best advice that we’ve been given is to do your best to wash your hands, sanitize surfaces that are used frequently, self-distance and if you do experience the symptoms to call your local Health Department. The two Health Districts that cover District 38 are South Heartland District Health Department in Hastings and Two Rivers Public Health Department in Holdrege. South Heartland District Health in Hastings can be reached at (402)462-6211. Two Rivers Public Health Department can be reached at (308)995-4778. 

 

The Department of Labor is instituting some changes to help those who may be out of work during this crisis. First is a short-time compensation program. This program allows employers to reduce affected workers’ hours by 10 to 60 percent while still allowing those workers to receive a prorated unemployment benefit. Employers can apply for this program at https://dol.nebraska.gov/stc.

 

The second change is a temporary change to unemployment benefits. For those of you who are not able to work and not collecting a paycheck during this period, you may want to check out these changes. From March 22nd through May 2nd:

  • The waiting week for benefits has been waived. You will start receiving benefits immediately instead of needing to wait a week.
  • The work search requirements have been waived. You will not be required to apply to jobs to receive benefits.
  • For employers, benefits will not be charged against your individual accounts.

Those who need this program can find more information at https://dol.nebraska.gov/uibenefits.

 

I know this is a difficult time for everyone, but I want to thank everyone for their patience, and thank all of our leaders from the federal level down to the city and county level for their leadership during these times. We will get through this. 

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me by email at dmurman@leg.ne.gov, by phone at (402)471-2732, or on my Facebook. 

 

I know there are many out there temporarily out of work due to the coronavirus. As stated yesterday at the Governor’s press conference, the Department of Labor is instituting some changes to help those who may be out of work during this crisis.

First is a short-time compensation program. This program allows employers to reduce affected workers’ hours by 10 to 60 percent while still allowing those workers to receive a prorated unemployment benefit. Employers can apply for this program at https://dol.nebraska.gov/stc.

The second change is a temporary change to unemployment benefits. For those of you who are not able to work and not collecting a paycheck during this period, you may want to check out these changes. From March 22nd through May 2nd:
The waiting week for benefits has been waived. You will start receiving benefits immediately instead of needing to wait a week.
The work search requirements have been waived. You will not be required to apply to jobs to receive benefits.
For employers, benefits will not be charged against your individual accounts.
Those who need this program can find more information at https://dol.nebraska.gov/uibenefits.

If you are attempting to contact the Department of Labor for either of these programs or other questions or concerns, please be patient as they are currently handling a high volume of calls. The best thing to do is leave a message with your name, number, and concern, and they will return your call as soon as they are able.

I know this is a difficult time for everyone, but I want to thank everyone for their patience, and thank all of our leaders from the federal level down to the city and county level for their leadership during these times. We will get through this and be back to normal soon.

3/20 Update
March 20th, 2020

It is evident that our state is being faced with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. The Senators attended a briefing last Tuesday with different health professionals from UNMC and DHHS, University of Nebraska President, Ted Carter, and Matthew Blomstedt from the Nebraska Department of Education. The Senators have been given constant updates on new developments at the State and National level on what is being done to address this outbreak. Many schools across the State have decided to move their classes to online instruction to prevent possible spreading of the virus.

 

Upon guidance from the CDC of discouraging gatherings of more than 50 individuals, the Speaker of the Legislature has made the decision to recess the legislative body at this time. We are in the last third of this second session and still have many things to accomplish but our health is ultimately the most important. Therefore we will recess and reconvene at a later date which is unknown at this time. My staff will be working remotely and will still be able to help with any issues or concerns you may have. We will all be available by telephone and through email. Our office phone number is (402) 471-2732 and my email is dmurman@leg.ne.gov.

 

The coronavirus outbreak has led to economic havoc across our country. From financial markets, household goods flying off the shelves, cancellation of travel, and the fear of getting sick and having to quarantine for an extended time. The best advice that we’ve been given is to do your best to wash your hands, sanitize surfaces that are used frequently, and if you do experience the symptoms to call your local Health Department. The two Health Districts that cover District 38 are South Heartland District Health Department in Hastings and Two Rivers Public Health Department in Holdrege.

 

As we approached the beginning of the shorter session, my colleagues and I knew that we were going to be tasked with two major proposals. Those two major proposals are Property Tax Relief which has presented itself in LB 974 from Senator Linehan, and LB 720 which provides business incentives for Corporations. We have been able to debate LB 974 and Property Tax Relief one time earlier this session, although it was unfortunately filibustered. As the weeks have passed, we haven’t been receiving the most optimistic news about LB 974 coming back up for debate. Thankfully Speaker Scheer, Senator Linehan, and Senator Kolterman (introducer of LB 720) are all understanding that Nebraska Tax Payers need Property Tax Relief before we would provide incentives for businesses.

 

During the sixty day session, the legislature needs to make necessary mid-biennium adjustments for the two-year budget. This last week we were faced with incorrect revenue forecasts and new proposals this year that have fiscal notes. The budget adjustments are something that we have to complete in this session.  Senator LouAnn Linehan, the Revenue Committee Chair, has stayed true to her word and during the budget adjustments filed an amendment to provide money for property tax relief. Unfortunately, the amendment failed but it allowed those who are fighting for property tax relief including myself to voice their thoughts on the Legislative Floor.

 

My biggest priority this session is to achieve property tax relief. Thankfully, many of my colleagues feel the same way and I hope that we can be successful in our endeavors, especially in this uncertain economic climate.

 

 

 

 

2/28 Column
February 28th, 2020

Hello neighbor,

 

We are already halfway done with session this year, and unfortunately, it’s not looking good for property tax relief. LB 974 was debated last week, and opponents of the bill filibustered it for three hours until it was taken off the agenda. Under Speaker Scheer’s rule, Senator Linehan has to come to him with 33 yes votes before it will be put back on the agenda for another three hours. The Speaker requires 33 votes because that is how many it takes to vote to end a filibuster and vote on the bill.

 

If property tax relief does not pass, it endangers projects many people consider important, such as the business tax incentive bill and the University of Nebraska’s NExT project. The NExT project would be a partnership between the University and the state and federal government to cement the University’s status as the center for hazard response and preparedness for infectious diseases and other hazards.

 

The other major topic in the Legislature is the status of the YRTC program. There have been numerous issues with the YRTC facilities, last year at the Geneva facility, and constantly at the Kearney facility. The issues at the Kearney facility were exacerbated when the girls from the Geneva facility were moved to the Kearney facility as well. We need to do more to protect our staff. They are overworked and underpaid, leading to roughly a third of the positions being unfilled and many staff looking for other opportunities. They need more support from the administration, and I hope that CEO Smith will follow through on her promises to give them that support. The sooner we can reduce the number of kids in the Kearney facility, the better. The girls moving back to Geneva would be a good start.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me by email at dmurman@leg.ne.gov, by phone at 402-471-2732, or on my Facebook page.

Hello neighbor,

 

Welcome back as we start the second session of the 106th Legislature. This is a short, 60 day session, wrapping up around the end of April. With bill introduction having just ended, I will give you a brief summary of the six bills I have introduced.

 

  1. LB 950 would change eligibility requirements for the Access College Early Scholarship Program. The objective of the ACE program is to encourage well-prepared high school students from low-income families to enroll in college courses for dual-credit. To receive the ACE Scholarship, the student or student’s family must qualify for free or reduced lunch, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Special Supplemental Assistance Program (WIC).
  2. LB 978 would provide for a reimbursement to county, city, and village jails for any costs incurred in holding an incarcerated individual from a Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center. The increased cost put on the cities and counties end up in higher property taxes for our landowners.
  3. LB 994 is a bill to adopt the Libby’s Law: The Fair Access to Organ Transplantation Act. This bill would prohibit discrimination against a disabled patient who is in need of an organ transplant.
  4. LB 998 aims to ensure that every student in Nebraska has a safe school environment because every employee at their school will have basic training in behavioral awareness. This is a comprehensive bill that addresses training for behavioral awareness and intervention. This bill has been worked on by multiple groups, including administrators, teachers, school boards, and senators. Most schools already do some level of training in this area but this bill will help strengthen and solidify five different steps of de-escalation before physical intervention only if reasonable and necessary.
  5. LB 1070 would exempt combine head trailers from sales tax. Farm machinery is exempt from sales tax but this is one that is still being taxed. This is important equipment to our state’s number one industry, and we need to make sure it’s more affordable to the farmers who need it.
  6. LB 1094 would change the tax lien law when it comes to child support. Right now, a noncustodial parent has a lien put on their property in a divorce, even up to 10 years after the child turns nineteen. This bill would eliminate the lien once the child turns nineteen if all payments were up to date. If child support is still owed when the child turns nineteen, the lien stays in effect until the support is paid or 10 years have passed, whichever comes first.

 

My main issues in the legislature will of course be property tax relief and Christian family values. I will do everything I can to fight for our property owners, whether they own farmland or a home in the city. Our state needs property tax relief and as legislators we have to work together to achieve that. There are a number of proposals being talked about, and I am waiting to see what the final version will be that comes to the floor. As always, you can sign the property tax initiative petition that would give you a refund of 35% of any property tax you pay.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at dmurman@leg.ne.gov, 402-471-2732, or on my Facebook page.

Sen. Dave Murman

District 38
Room #1522
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2732
Email: dmurman@leg.ne.gov
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