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Dave Murman

Sen. Dave Murman

District 38

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January 3rd, 2024

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.

Sen. Dave Murman

Recently, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 1402, an appropriation bill that would allow low-income, special needs, and other students denied option enrollment the opportunity to attend a private school of their family’s choosing. LB 1402 is a slimmed-down measure compared to last year’s school choice legislation, LB 753.  Almost immediately, falsehoods and misrepresentations spread across the State about what this bill meant for Nebraska. Those who oppose school choice have stooped to the levels to claim that this bill subverts democracy, defunds public schools, and is even unconstitutional. None of these claims are true.

Some have argued that because there was a petition to repeal last year’s LB 753, the Opportunity Scholarships Act, LB 1402’s replacement of 753 denies the option to vote on school choice. In reality, to say LB 1402 was nothing more than a replacement of LB 753 is inaccurate. LB 753 was a $25 million scholarship program that received dollar-for-dollar tax credit donations. LB 1402 was a $10 million state appropriation with no tax credit system. In short, not only is LB 1402 significantly smaller, it does not even use the same funding mechanism. If LB 1402 was nothing more than a way to get around voting on LB 753, then it would not have needed to make any significant changes. Instead, the old system has been entirely thrown out for a new, simpler, and smaller one.

Others have argued LB 1402 defunds public schools. Those who make this claim either haven’t done the math or simply know they are lying. In the 2022-2023 year, K-12 schools received about $4.7 billion in taxpayer funds. Since my time as chair of the Education Committee, we have additionally appropriated over $1.6 billion for our public schools. Compare this spending with the $10 million cost of LB 1402, and we see that it is only about 0.2 percent, or two one-thousandths, of our total education funding. Compared to most school choice programs across the country, LB 1402 is amongst the humblest and most meager in the nation.

Finally, some have called LB 1402 unconstitutional. Their explanation is based on Article VII, section 11 of the Nebraska Constitution, which states that “No appropriation or grant of public funds or property shall be made to any educational institution which is not owned and controlled by the state or a governmental subdivision thereof”. Article VII section 11 is also known as the Blaine amendment based on Congressman James G. Blaine who opposed the increase of Catholic immigrants in the country and wanted to keep the United States protestant. In other words, the Blaine amendment was based entirely on discriminatory views and it’s a shame it’s still part of our State Constitution today. Even if we were to ignore the anti-Catholic bigotry of the Blaine amendment, LB 1402 is still completely Constitutional. Why? Because LB 1402 is not an appropriation of public funds to private education institutions, but instead an appropriation of public funds to students themselves through scholarships. This function is no different than when our low-income students receive taxpayer-based Pell Grants to attend Creighton University, or when our veterans and service members receive the GI Bill to attend Hastings College. Both of these examples are ultimately public dollars being used by students to attend private schools. No one seems to dare say that we should deny our low-income students or our veterans these opportunities, so why is K-12 different?

Ultimately, opposing LB 1402 was never really about these things. LB 1402 didn’t overrule any vote of LB 753 because LB 753 was replaced by a far humbler piece of law, it won’t bankrupt our public schools when the cost is minuscule compared to our total education spending. And finally, LB 1402 is perfectly constitutional because it funds students, not systems. To many, opposing school choice was never about these arguments. Instead, the teachers union and education lobbyists have taken a “my way or the highway” approach. They tell struggling families that the one-size-fits-all solution of government schools is their only choice. I understand that every family has different needs, different values, and different goals. Because of that, my goal is to support an education system that gives parents, not government an option to choose the education that works best for them.

On Thursday, April 18th, we hit day sixty of the Second Session of the 108th Legislature bringing the short session to an end. We passed some great legislation including protecting our farmland from potential foreign adversaries like China, strengthening school security, investments in high-demand college programs, protections of religious freedom, and my personal priority bill, protections for minors from online pornography. I am happy to say Nebraska is now the fifteenth state to stand up to the big pornography industry and protect our kids.

Unfortunately, the plan to pass major property tax relief stalled by a few votes. The original plan involved an increase in sales taxes (which involved provisions to pause that increase if revenues were high) to try to balance out our three-legged stool of tax revenue: income, sales, and property tax. Currently, Nebraskans know that stool is far out of balance with property taxes hitting harder and harder every year with each valuation. Despite the opposition this plan faced, I remain committed to fighting to rein down property taxes.

It is expected that soon the Governor will call for a special session of the Legislature with the sole goal to cut property taxes. In years past, we have passed property tax relief, but the harsh truth is that as valuations skyrocket without a corresponding reduction of levies, the relief only acts as a small decrease in the total increase. My hope and goal for the likely upcoming session is not basic relief but comprehensive property tax reform. I believe part of the solution is taking a hard look at the laundry list of special tax exemptions Nebraska currently has. When government creates long lists of tax exemptions for certain products and services, they are in effect creating an economy of winners and losers- not a fair system where everyone plays by the same rules.

It is hard to say what the outcome of the special session will be. Our recent session is proof that achieving a filibuster-proof majority to agree on any comprehensive change is going to be difficult. Regardless of the outcome, I am ready to work to deliver meaningful property tax relief to you, the Nebraska taxpayer.

In the proclamation below, Governor Pillen has declared today, May 2nd, as a National Day of Prayer. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “I urge, then first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Please consider joining me in the following prayer for our leaders.
Dear Lord, we pray for rulers all over this Earth, both righteous and wicked. We pray that wicked rules may turn from war, aggression, and oppression and instead choose peace and freedom. We pray 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 Pillen at the State level in the way you would have them go. We pray that you would surround them 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 Congress and the State Legislature that by your power they make just laws. We pray 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 will make rulings in line with your will. We pray they would set a standard of justice and balance not only on a national level but for every adjudicator in our nation. We know that all judges are appointed by humans. We pray that each new selection will judge rightly according to the Consitution based on your Biblical values.
We pray for everyone who serves in local government. From county officials to city officials to school boards and others, please grant all of them the wisdom to act with integrity. Please help them seek your face and to pursue wise counsel as they make decisions.
We pray Father, especially for the 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 remember that you are the original lawgiver and that we should always strive to 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 this nation as well.
We pray all of this in Jesus’ name and to Him be all the Glory!

April 30, 2024


In response to the Nebraska State Education Association and Support Our Schools Nebraska’s recent announcement to launch a petition to remove school choice opportunities for low-income students granted by LB 1402, Chairman of the Education Committee Dave Murman issued the following statement:

“It is shocking and saddening to see these groups attack even the humblest legislation aimed at giving low-income families a choice in their education. Many have been quick to sow misconceptions that this is a way of defunding or diverting funds from public schools.”

“In reality, in the 2022–2023 year, K-12 schools received about $4.7 billion in taxpayer funds. Since my time as chair of the Education Committee, we have additionally appropriated over $1.6 billion for our public schools. With these recent investments in our public schools, it is surprising that the $10 million cost of LB 1402, which is about 0.2 percent of our total education funding, is such a concern to the teachers union.”

 “Despite the misrepresentations and attacks, my colleagues and I stand committed to ensuring children in Nebraska, regardless of their income and circumstances, have access to a quality education that best meets the unique needs of their families.”

Recent investments in public education in 2023-2024:

LB 583 allocated a $1.5 billion Education Future Fund lockbox guaranteeing that money be used exclusively for education purposes, raised the special education option enrollment reimbursement from 42 percent up to 80 percent, and established a $112 million foundation aid allocating $1,500 per student in state funding.

LB 705 allocated $250,000 for career readiness programs, $500,000 for student teachers, $2.5 million for special education expenses, $10 million for the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Act, $1 million for the Teacher Apprenticeship Program, $4 million in NDE Innovation Grants, $1.8 million for the Excellence in Teaching Cash Fund, and $5.3 million to increase career and technical education.

LB 1329 allocated $525,000 for critical response mapping and school safety infrastructure.

LB 1284 allocated $250,000 for menstrual products in public schools, $500,000 for dyslexia programs, $2 million for reading instruction job training, and $2.5 million for computer science and technology training.

In his 1796 farewell address, our first President George Washington said, “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle”. In short, the very survival of our nation relies on the survival of our public faith. Our founding fathers created a brilliant system of government with checks and balances, but that system was based upon a nation that practiced their freedom of religion. With this upcoming primary election, we must remember to look deeper than flashy social media ads and commercials. Instead, it’s important to ask: will this candidate support our nation’s founding values?

Let us not forget that the government’s job is not to create rights for its people, but to protect the rights every man and woman naturally possesses from their Creator. The founders summarized these rights best under the categories of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Therefore we should always keep these rights in mind when we cast our vote. Life is the first of the unalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence for a reason. But we can’t truly be a nation that values life until we elect leaders who are willing to protect life from conception until natural death.

Our nation was also founded on the principle of religious freedom- a right so important that our founders enshrined its protection in our very first amendment. We all know the treasured history of the New England colonists who, when told by their government how to practice their religion, packed up and left, creating their own “City on a Hill” where their community could worship and pray to God without government interference. It’s easy for a candidate to say they support religious freedom- pretty much every candidate does! But when common sense proposals are brought to the Legislature to protect medical providers’ religious consciences, these proposals are met with hostility. James Madison put it well in 1785, saying, “The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man: and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate”.

But valuing basic religious freedom is not enough on its own. With the right to free expression of religion equally comes the responsibility, and especially for our leaders, to use that religion for good. John Adams didn’t mince words when he made it clear what our society would look like when that responsibility is not acted on. As Adams put it, “Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell”.

So, in this upcoming primary election, and all future elections for that matter, our values matter. Religious freedom, protecting life, and the promotion of Christian values were considered necessary for the survival of a free nation in 1776 and they continue to be necessary today.

This election I encourage you to vote for candidates who are truly committed to upholding our founders’ revolutionary vision. But supporting our nation’s founding values does not end at the ballot box either; it will take a culture built by families, pastors, and community leaders alike.

As the chair of the Education Committee in the Nebraska Legislature, I’ve always been a major believer in public schools. I believe firmly that every K-12-aged child in our state deserves access to a well-funded, competitive, safe education. I also believe that every family has unique needs and values in which a one-size-fits-all approach may not always be best. Because of this, I also support increasing school choice in the State of Nebraska.

Before last year’s historic legislative session, Nebraska was one of only two states that did not have any form of a school choice program. As a state, the majority of the Legislature knew we could do better and become more competitive. The idea that 48 other states were ahead of us in the race was simply unacceptable. So last year Nebraska finally took a step in the right direction and passed LB 753, the Opportunity Scholarships Act. Compared to most other school choice programs across the country, LB 753 is generally quite humble. It allows a tax credit scholarship to be given out to students who wish to attend private schools with prioritization given to low-income students, exceptional needs, students who have experienced bullying, foster children, military families, and children who have been denied option enrollment.

Critics of the Opportunity Scholarships have been quick to sow misconceptions across the State in hopes of repealing LB 753. Many have argued this is a way of defunding public education. The reality is that in the same year Nebraska passed LB 753, Nebraska passed a historic $300 million increase and a $1 billion Education Future Fund for our public schools. In total Nebraska spends nearly $5 billion in K-12 education. Compare this to the $25 million spent through LB 753 and it’s easy to see that their claim is wrong. Not only have we not defunded public education, but we’ve funded it more than ever.

Supporting school choice does not mean opposing public education. In reality, school choice is all about putting parents back in charge. If a parent wants a child to receive a public education, Nebraska should be there to do that. If a parent wants a child to receive a private education, Nebraska should be there to do that. If a parent wants to homeschool their child, Nebraska also should be there to do that. Every family is different- different values, different religions, and different needs. A system with no school choice makes it difficult to cater to every single family.

Some will say that school choice has always existed- that those who wish to send their children to private schools can already do so. This comes from a place of privilege. Private schooling can be incredibly costly. Many Nebraskans and Americans alike are living from paycheck to paycheck. The reality is that currently, private schools are only a viable option for the portion of Nebraska that can afford them. When it comes to getting a child a top-tier K-12 education, income shouldn’t be the deciding factor. Nebraska Opportunity Scholarships give all families, as the name implies, an opportunity.

Today, joined with 24 of my colleagues, I submitted a letter to the SEC opposing their proposed rule on Natural Asset Companies (NACs). NACs allow for investment into land with no financial goal but instead based on the land’s “community well-being” and “ecological services”. In a state where agriculture is our number one source of revenue, giving ownership of our land to the whims of climate activists and adversarial foreign countries puts our food and jobs in danger.


You can read the full letter through the link below:

Recently I had the privilege to join the Governor, various leaders of Nebraska religious groups, and my fellow Senators in the tradition of declaring January 16th as Religious Freedom Day. Religious Freedom Day was first signed by proclamation by President Bush in 1993 and has continued to be proclaimed by every President each year after. President Bush chose January 16th as the date based on Thomas Jefferson’s draft bill for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia.

In John Winthrop’s famous 1630 City on a Hill sermon, he described his goal for the New England colony to “hold conformity with the rest of His world, being delighted to show forth the glory of His wisdom in the variety and difference of the creatures”. In short, the goal of the colonists who would soon create the model of our nation was seeking freedom to practice their religion in their own way. Their goal was noble. A government was telling them how to practice their religion their way, so they packed up and left, creating their own community to freely worship and pray to God in a way they thought was the best fit.

Most are familiar with our Constitution’s First Amendment which includes the right to free exercise of religion but Nebraska’s State Constitution also includes protections of our religious freedom. Article I-4 of the State Constitution reads, “All persons have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences”. Both our nation and our state recognize our long-held and treasured right of religious liberty.

Our founding fathers were wise to recognize religious liberty as the bedrock of our Republic. To some, their idea of religious freedom seemed radical- but these ideas went on to become the blueprint of our Constitutional rights. Religious Freedom Day serves as a reminder to Nebraskans that no Government has the right to demand we pray or worship in a certain way, instead, these privileges are given to us by God. January 16th is an opportunity for Nebraskans and Americans to celebrate and give thanks to God for our great freedom.

Recently I had the opportunity to discuss the upcoming legislative session with KRVN 880 radio. You can hear my thoughts by clicking the link below.

Sen. Dave Murman

District 38
Room 1107
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2732
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