NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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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 5th, 2022

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

Last Thursday, May 5th, was the National Day of Prayer in the United States. I had the privilege of being the sponsoring senator for the event held in the Capitol rotunda in Lincoln. The prayer gathering was sponsored by Nebraska Family Alliance. Governor Pete Ricketts gave remarks and several ministry, business and community leaders prayed over key prayer focus areas: government, military, media, business, educators and students, the family and the Church. I was asked to pray for government, and here is my prayer from that day:

“Dear Lord, we pray for rulers all over this earth, both righteous and wicked. We pray that wicked rulers may turn from war, aggression, and oppression and instead choose peace and freedom. We pray that these leaders may have a change of heart and follow you. We ask that you guide our own President Biden at the national level and Governor Ricketts at the state level in the way you would have them go. We pray that you would surround President Biden and Governor Ricketts with wise counsel – men and women of integrity who place your agenda and the good of this nation and state above their own.

We pray for the U.S. Congress and the Nebraska State Legislature, that by your power they make laws that are just. We pray that Congress and the Legislature may be motivated more by your hand than by partisan or personal concerns.

We pray for our Supreme Court. We pray that its decrees would be your decrees. We pray that they would make rulings in line with your will. We pray that they would set a standard of justice and balance not only on a national level but for every legal decision in our nation. We know that all judges in the U.S. are appointed by humans. We pray that each new selection will judge rightly according to the Constitution, which is based on biblical values.

Finally, we pray for everyone that serves in local government. From county officials to city officials to school boards and others. Please grant all of them wisdom to act with integrity. Please help them to seek your face and to pursue wise council as they make their decisions.

We pray Father especially for members of the Law Enforcement community in our country. For FBI agents and other federal law enforcement agencies. For sheriff’s departments and police departments across the country. Please protect them, especially during these unsettled times. Please help us to remember that You are the original law giver, and that we should strive to always be respectful of those who enforce our laws.

Finally, we pray that Christians will exercise their privilege to vote. May there arise such a force of righteousness in our electoral system that it would affect every level of government in our nation. May those in government have a profound respect not only for the political strength of the Christian community but for our spiritual influence in our nation as well.

We pray all of this in Jesus’ name and to Him be the Glory! Amen.”

I welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you may have on this or any other issue.  Please feel free to email me at dmurman@leg.ne.gov or call my office at 402-471-2732.

Former President Barrack Obama famously said shortly after his first inauguration that “Elections have consequences”. That was true back in 2009 and it is certainly true today. Although we are not voting for a United States President this election cycle, a lot of important races will be held next Tuesday, May 10th. These will have important consequences on the national, state and local scene.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave the past few months, you’re well aware of the flood of advertisements and mailings supporting (or opposing) one of a number of campaigns. The primary election for governor has been especially contentious and has received most of the attention, but Nebraskans will also be voting for individuals representing the:
• U.S. House of Representatives;
• Public Service Commissioner;
• University of Nebraska Board of Regents;
• State Board of Education;
• State Legislature;
• State Treasurer;
• Auditor of Public Accounts;
• Secretary of State; and
• Attorney General.

Also, we can’t forget about the races for mayor, county commissioner, sheriff, local school board, NRD, city council and other offices. Many of these candidates will advance to the General Election next November 8th while others will be eliminated.

As a citizen, it is important to take a very close look at all of the candidates and learn where they stand on a variety of issues. Some of the major issues you may wish to consider include:
• The Economy – which candidate’s experience and policies would help the state or community to prosper? What has been their experience with job creation and lowering the unemployment rate?

• Agriculture – this is a key issue for our state and district. Which candidate has supported agricultural interests?

• Sanctity of Human Life, Marriage, and Religious Freedom – for many citizens, these are fundamental and critical issues and you should examine the candidate’s position on these issues.

• Taxes – What is the candidate’s experience and position with regard to lowering or raising taxes?

• Education – Where do the candidates stand on school choice, critical race theory, comprehensive sex education standards and local control?

Upon examining these issues (and others) you will need to decide which candidates are best not only for you; but also, for your family, your community and the state.

I urge all of the citizens of District 38 to vote. This is not only a civic duty but also a privilege that we have in this free country.

I welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you may have on this or any other issue. Please feel free to email me at dmurman@leg.ne.gov or call my office at 402-471-2732.

The final gavel and the adjournment of the second session of the 107th Nebraska Legislature occurred last Wednesday, April 20th. The last day of a session is referred to as “Sine Die”, Latin for “without a day.” This was a sixty-day session, but it was packed full of issues, chief among them the allocation of the federal ARPA funds.

As I’ve done in previous years, I would like to update you on the bills that I introduced or prioritized that made it across the finish line this session and were passed into law.

“Rural Health Education Debt Repayment” Many people in District 38 recognize the challenge of recruiting health care professionals to the region. LB 1269 (amended into LB 1014) and LB 1007 will fund and modify an existing program, the “Rural Health Systems and Professional Incentive Act” by allocating $5 million dollars from federal ARPA funds to incentivize health care professionals (e.g., physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, pharmacists, physical therapists, psychologists, and other mental health practitioners) to practice in rural Nebraska. This program provides funds for student loan repayment to health professionals who commit to practice in rural health shortage areas for 3-4 years. (If they break this commitment, they are required to pay back the funds they borrowed.) LB 1007 eliminated the local match requirement for the time period that these federal funds are used. There is a lot of interest in this program and I hope that it draws new healthcare professionals into District 38.

“Living Donor Protection Bill” There is a great need for organs to be donated. In Nebraska alone, last year there were over 300 people waiting for an organ transplant. Kidneys (and other organs) may be donated by living individuals in good health, but the National Kidney Foundation reports that living donors have historically faced discrimination in the form of difficulty getting insurance, denial of coverage, or higher premiums. LB 955 (amended into LB 863) removes barriers to organ donations by living individuals by prohibiting insurance companies from denying or limiting life, disability and long-term care insurance to such living donors or by imposing higher insurance premiums on such individuals based solely on their status as a living donor.

“Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act” The goal of this legislation is to promote investment in Nebraska agriculture (through livestock modernization or expansion) and to encourage businesses to locate in rural Nebraska. LB 1261 did this by raising the maximum amount of credits allowed for approved projects each calendar year ($1 million to $10 million) and increasing the credit cap for an approved application (10% of the investment not to exceed $150,000 to 10% of the investment not to exceed $500,000 per application). It also extends the sunset date an additional five years. LB 1261 also included Senator Joni Albrecht’s LB 596, which creates the Nebraska Higher Blend Tax Credit Act. The language of this bill establishes incentives for petroleum retailers to increase higher ethanol-blended gasoline sales from the current E10 blend to blends between E15 and E85. The incentives would be 5 cents per E15 gallon sold and 8 cents per gallon sold for E25 and higher blends. The total amount of incentives available is capped and the incentives sunset after 5 years. In a time of extreme inflation, pain at the pump, and uncertainty around the globe, this Act brings lower prices at the gas station to hardworking Nebraska families, increases demand for our corn growers, while also improving air quality and helping America establish its energy independence.

“Tax Package” – This year I designated Senator Tom Briese’s LB 723 as my priority bill. This bill protected property tax relief for Nebraskans under the refundable income tax credit created in LB 1107 (2020) for a portion of property taxes paid for K-12 education, and ensures that this credit will continue to be funded at a larger level. LB 723 was amended into LB 873 which also included:
• Individual income tax credit for a portion of property taxes paid to community colleges.
• A phase out of state income taxation of Social Security income in four annual steps.
• The top corporate income tax rate would also be cut to attract new businesses to Nebraska.
• The top individual income tax rate will gradually be cut in several steps.

While I am generally pleased with a lot of what was accomplished during this session (especially the tax cuts), the process was at times frustrating with the hours and hours of filibustering that prevented a lot of good ideas from being fairly debated and advanced. I very much respect the rules of the legislature, but at times a minority of senators can dictate whether a bill can be presented to the full legislature, and if it is, whether it can receive a reasonable debate.

Having said that, I am optimistic about the 2023 session. With term limits, we do lose several years’ worth of legislative experience. But there are also good indications that the face of the legislature will change to a more conservative body. Bills that deal with abortion, the 2nd Amendment, religious freedom, and tax reform should be able to see the light of day and have a fair and honest hearing.

I welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you may have on this or any other issue. Please feel free to email me at dmurman@leg.ne.gov or call my office at 402-471-2732.

Governor Ricketts signed into law Senator Murman’s LB 1261 on Tuesday, April 19th. LB 1261 expands the Nebraska Advantage Rural Development Act. The goal of this bill is to promote investment in Nebraska agriculture through livestock modernization and expansion. Part of this bill was Senator Joni Albrecht’s LB 596. This creates the Nebraska Higher Blend Tax Credit Act (allowing for higher ethanol blends in gasoline).

Unsung Heroes

Over 40,000 acres. At this writing, that is the amount of pasture and cropland that has burned in Gosper and Furnas counties, as well as just south of the border in northern Kansas. At least eight families have lost their homes. Dozens of other structures were also destroyed. Firefighting equipment was lost as well. In addition to this are all of the livestock, the center pivots and other irrigation equipment, the hay bales, and the miles of fence line. All destroyed by a merciless and deadly force.

On the frontlines of the battle with this force are the 40 fire departments from across the state that are fighting the Road 739 Fire near Elwood, and the 15 departments, including four departments from District 38, who helped fight the Burr Oak, KS fire. Most of these departments are staffed solely by volunteers. These men and women do their work in these departments in addition to the full-time jobs they already have.

Most of the time, these firefighters, EMT’s and paramedics go home to their loved ones at the end of the day. Sadly though, there have been casualties in the Road 739 Fire. Chief Darren Krull of the Elwood Volunteer Fire Department was killed in a head on collision with a water truck on April 8th. Seriously injured was Phelps County Emergency Manager Justin Norris. Roadway conditions at the time of the crash were at zero-visibility because of the fire. Thankfully, the driver of the water truck was not injured. Words of comfort never seem to be enough in these instances, but my staff and I are praying for these families.

This gives us the opportunity to remember and thank all of the unsung heroes in our daily lives. They often risk their lives for us, whether it be a car accident, farm accident, medical crisis or other emergency. The tragic loss of Chief Krull exemplifies the selfless service that makes our state great.

Not all of us can be a firefighter or emergency medical volunteer, but we all owe a debt of gratitude to many others. The volunteers who clean the snow off the church sidewalk and make sure the grass is mowed. The linemen who are out in all kinds of weather to assure that we can turn the lights on. The ladies who bake cookies for the local blood drive. All those who organize, pick up, clean, stock, beautify and improve our lives; a good portion of them behind the scenes and under the radar.

Please take the opportunity today to thank the daily heroes you come in contact with, both paid and volunteer. Tip a little more to your server or paper carrier today. Put your cart in the cart corral. Go out of your way to thank a worker who has been on the front lines during the pandemic. ATTEND and SUPPORT the pancake feeds, pork barbecues and other fundraisers hosted by your local volunteer fire departments and first responders.

I welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you may have on this or any other issue. Please feel free to email me at dmurman@leg.ne.gov or call my office at 402-471-2732.

As this update goes to press, the Nebraska Legislature will have completed fifty-seven days of this year’s sixty-day legislative session. Much of the focus and debate this week has been on taxes.

The road to tax relief this year has been difficult and circuitous as every effort has been challenged and delayed through the filibuster process. This results in eight hours of debate on General File and four hours of debate on Select File and the need to garner at least 33 votes at each stage for the bill to be voted on.

Because of this environment, it became necessary to combine separate tax relief bills into one tax relief package that was amended into LB 873. In developing this package, an effort was made to have an equal balance between income tax relief and property tax relief. This bill, which was on Select File, was debated this week and after a four-hour filibuster, finally advanced to Final Reading. Yesterday, the Legislature passed LB 873 and the bill has been sent to Governor Ricketts.

LB 873, as amended, would make the following tax cuts:
• Individual Income Tax Credit for Property Taxes Paid: Taxpayers would have the opportunity to receive a credit on their income tax for a portion of their property taxes paid to community colleges. Additionally, the current refundable state income tax for a portion of property taxes paid for K-12 education will continue to be funded at a larger level.

• Social Security Income: This bill would phase out state income taxation of Social Security income in four annual steps. It would make Nebraska more attractive to seniors that wish to retire in this state and would bring our state in line with other states that offer a similar exemption.

• Corporate Income Tax: The top corporate income tax rate would also be cut to attract new businesses to Nebraska.

• Income Tax: The top individual income tax rate will gradually be cut in several steps. This will keep Nebraska competitive with neighboring states.

In another bill passed earlier this year, the Legislature approved a reduction of Nebraska’s inheritance tax. This bill has been signed by the governor.

This year’s LB 873 represents one of the largest tax cut packages passed by the Legislature. While this bill is not perfect, property tax reduction has been and continues to be one of my primary objectives as a state senator and I will continue to pursue this goal.

I welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you may have on this or any other issue. Please feel free to email me at dmurman@leg.ne.gov or call my office at 402-471-2732.

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Kate Heltzel
Nebraska Legislature
Unicameral Information Office
(402) 471-2788
uio@leg.ne.gov

 Sen. Dave Murman invites students to youth legislature

High school students are invited to take on the role of state senators at the Unicameral Youth Legislature June 12-15. 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.

“I think it is crucial for our young people to realize that laws are made by people, not some distant, disembodied entity we call government,” says Senator Murman. “We need good people at all levels of government, and getting students excited about a civic education is very important.”

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 20.

March 25, 2022

One of the committees that I’ve served on for the past four years is the Education Committee. This legislative session the Education Committee has heard a multitude of bills addressing a wide variety of topics. This week I would like to discuss several bills that I anticipate will be debated in the remaining days of this year’s session.

LB 1218 has been designated as priority bill by the Education Committee and has been advanced by a unanimous vote to General File. This bill (with the committee amendment) is intended to address Nebraska’s teacher workforce shortage by accomplishing the following:

• Passing a statewide examination related to basic skills competency as an entrance requirement to a post-secondary education institution would no longer be required. Testimony showed that this test had become a barrier for many students, has not been linked to teaching effectiveness, and was an unnecessary expense for students.

• The State Board of Education requires applicants to pass an exam (the “Praxis” core exam) before receiving an entry-level teaching certificate or permit. This bill would allow teaching candidates to retake portions of the exam if they need to or to demonstrate their proficiency through college coursework.

• Another way to address the teacher workforce shortage is addressed in this bill by allowing teachers wishing to relocate to Nebraska to demonstrate their proficiency by their experience as an educator in another state rather than taking a single test such as the Praxis exam.

• LB1218 also would provide $1,000 in loan forgiveness to student teachers under the “Attracting Excellence to Teaching Program”. An individual would be required to provide service for a full academic semester within an accredited or approved public or private school and meet certain requirements to qualify.

• Adopts the “Teach in Nebraska Today Act” which provides for student loan repayment assistance of not more than $5K per year for up to five years.

Senator Rita Sanders of Bellevue introduced LB1158 which is her priority bill. This bill has advanced to General File and its purpose is to update Nebraska’s Parental Involvement and Academic Transparency laws and foster a stronger relationship between the school and the parents. Under the bill, a policy would be required to include how the district will provide parents and guardians access to digital and learning materials and training materials for teachers, administrators and staff as well as procedures for the review and approval of such materials and activities. A policy would have to describe under what circumstances a parent or guardian could ask that their child be excused from learning materials, activities and guest speakers that the parent finds objectionable. The commissioner of education would withhold state aid from school districts that fail to make learning materials available to parents or guardians. Testimony stated that this would promote transparency in school district policies and curricula.

The final bill that I’ll mention is Senator Albrecht’s LB 768, which didn’t advance from the Education Committee. Many of you are aware of the recent controversial health standards that the State Board of Education was contemplating. The intent of Senator Albrecht’s bill (which I cosponsored) is to prevent the State Board of Education from creating health education standards for Nebraska public schools. It would allow the board to develop, approve, and adopt academic content standards for reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies. Senator Albrecht said that LB768 would be a “long overdue check” on the State Board of Education and the state Department of Education. This bill received both support and opposition at the committee hearing.

I welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you may have on this or any other issue. Please feel free to email me at dmurman@leg.ne.gov or call my office at 402-471-2732.

March 18, 2022

After this week, the Nebraska Legislature has only fifteen working days left in this year’s sixty-day Legislative session. Most of the debate this week and next week has centered on (and will focus on) the State’s budget and how we spend the federal ARPA funds. A major component of these discussions this week has involved whether to build a new state prison and whether the state should adopt criminal justice reform measures that aim to reduce crime and recidivism.

Regarding the Nebraska State Penitentiary, the facility was originally built in 1869, and its walls are crumbling. It has aged beyond simple repair and the cost to bring it up to speed is greater than the cost of a new prison. While no one likes the idea of building a new prison, it is beyond time to replace this facility. A modern Penitentiary would facilitate criminal justice reform by offering a safer environment for inmates and staff. It would also allow the Department of Correctional Services to offer enhanced services and programming to better prepare these inmates for life after incarceration. Finally, the current facility is extremely overcrowded, and we need to increase capacity to help address this problem.

The second component of this issue is to address criminal justice reform issues. While I am a strong supporter of law enforcement and clear consequences for committing crime, I also believe that we need to be smart in addressing criminal justice. A study was recently completed by the Nebraska Criminal Justice Reinvestment Working Group which was comprised of members of the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary branches. Technical assistance was provided through a national group that has worked with other states experiencing similar problems. This comprehensive report may be found by clicking the “NECJR Working Group Final Report” link on the Legislature’s webpage for the Judiciary Committee (nebraskalegislature.gov). Against national trends, Nebraska’s incarceration rate has been increasing over the last decade and despite increased spending, recidivism rates have increased. In order to prioritize public safety and effectively reduce recidivism, the Working Group came up with twenty-one options (seventeen of which received unanimous consensus). Among these options were establishing a streamlined parole process, expand problem-solving courts, and expand the use of sentencing alternatives. Legislation reflecting this report has been introduced.

After listening to debate on this issue, I believe that we don’t have to choose between a new prison and criminal justice reform; that we need to look at both to address Nebraska’s criminal justice issues. We need to keep communities safe and spend taxpayer dollars wisely.

I welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you may have on this or any other issue. Please feel free to email me at dmurman@leg.ne.gov or call my office at 402-471-2732.

March 11, 2022

During this second session of the 107th Legislature, I have introduced twelve bills and one proposed constitutional amendment. Additionally, I have cosponsored several other bills from other senators that I believe deserve to be debated on the legislative floor, and ultimately passed. Here are highlights of a few of those bills.

Senator Joni Albrecht of Thurston introduced LB768. The purpose of this bill is to clearly define the guidelines for health education standards and to establish that no additional education standards can be created or distributed by the Nebraska Department of Education without the authority of the Legislature. This is in response to the proposed sex education curriculum that was before the Nebraska State Board of Education last year. The proposed curriculum would introduce confusing and subjective reproductive and lifestyle ideals to young children. Some of the material is very explicit and graphic, and borders on pornography in my opinion.

A pull motion was approved by the body on Tuesday, March 8th. This brought Senator Ton Brewer’s (Gordon) LB 773 out of the Judiciary Committee and onto the legislative floor for first-round debate. LB 773 would authorize concealed carry without a permit in Nebraska. Restrictions currently codified within the Concealed Handgun Permit Act relating to place and manner of concealed carry would be made to apply generally to any person carrying concealed and not to permitholders only. The crime of carrying a concealed weapon would still exist for persons who are prohibited from possessing dangerous weapons. This has been probably the most polarizing bill of the session, and the entire day of debate on Thursday was dedicated to this bill.

Other bills I have cosponsored deal with assuring the integrity of our elections. LB 785 from Senator Steve Erdman of Bayard would amend certain Nebraska statutes to reduce the amount of time to vote by mail from 35 to 22 days and the time to vote in person before the election commissioner or county clerk from 30 days to 22 days, matching the 22 days presently allowed for special elections. In addition, the bill states that a registered voter could appoint an agent to return a marked early voting ballot. The agent can only act as an agent for no more than two registered voters in an election. Finally, it would bar a candidate or any person serving on a campaign committee from serving as an agent to return a marked early voting ballot unless the marked early voting ballot to be returned is for a member of the candidate’s family or a member of the candidate committee’s family. The goal of the bill is to harmonize the early voting periods to limit voter confusion and give a more focused window for voters to assess candidates and issues. It reemphasizes the honored tradition of voting in person on the first Tuesday of November, enhancing voter integrity and limiting the opportunities for “ballot harvesting.”
You may be familiar with the term “stolen valor.” According to a website called Military Benefits, stolen valor “…includes the act of falsely claiming military service, falsely claiming a certain rank which was not earned, and can also include the wear or claim of certain military awards or decorations that were never actually awarded.” LB 990 from Senator Ben Hansen of Blair says that a person who fraudulently claims for their personal benefit that they are an active member or veteran of any branch of the United States military or that they are the recipient of any military honor, is committing the offense of stolen valor. The bill proposes to create the offense of stolen valor and provide a penalty.

I welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you may have on this or any other issue. Please feel free to email me at dmurman@leg.ne.gov or call my office at 402-471-2732.

Sen. Dave Murman

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