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The inaugural episode of the “Across the Aisle” podcast from the National Conference of State Legislatures chronicles the bipartisan makeup of the team I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with in 2021.
The Nebraska Legislature is a unique institution, given its status as the country’s only unicameral and nonpartisan legislature. While there are certainly drawbacks to a unicameral system, an added benefit of our legislature gives every member a fairly equal set of responsibilities. With the addition of term limits, Nebraska has largely prevented a deep entrenchment of established power in the Nebraska legislature for some time. Our citizen legislature enables those with criticisms of the status quo to bring the message of their constituents to bear.
Currently, there is no more important place for change than our education system. That’s why I am running to chair the Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee.
Including the Department of Education, the University of Nebraska, and the State College system, education spending for the last two years accounted for 35.9% of all state spending! As many of you are aware, property taxes account for the largest source of funding for our education system. Working with the Revenue Committee to reduce this burden on Nebraskans will be a mainstay of my efforts as your state senator.
We also must make take bold action to address the teacher shortage, combat critical race theory and comprehensive sex education, work with Governor-Elect Pillen as he endeavors to reform TEEOSA (the state school funding formula), and establish a parent’s bill of rights. Nebraska can no longer afford to lag behind states like Florida and Texas in enacting policy changes to improve the lives of its citizens. We must preserve the tradition of Nebraska schools leading the nation in test scores while reducing the bloat of big government.
LINCOLN—This weekend, news of a threat against Catholic students at the John Paul II Newman Center near the University of Nebraska-Omaha shocked citizens across Nebraska. A letter reportedly signed by “Jane’s Revenge,” a group that has claimed responsibility for firebombing and widespread vandalism across the United States, made a terroristic threat against students at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Subsequently, a similar threat was made against the congregation of Christ Community Church.
Upon hearing of the threat, Senator Dave Murman, who is a member of the Nebraska Legislature’s Education Committee, released a brief statement:
“Nebraskans deserve to be free from the threat of politically motivated terror. These threats against churches and pro-life students at their schools need to be investigated with every resource possible,” said Senator Murman. He continued, “We should all pray for law enforcement as they carry out this investigation and continue to pray for an end to abortion in our state and across the world.”
LINCOLN—Today, Senator Dave Murman of Glenvil called for the Department of Education to eliminate links and resources to National Sexuality Education Standards, a form of comprehensive sex education, found on https://education.ne.gov/csss/hiv/. The link was found and reported to the Senator’s office by a concerned civilian in conjunction with Senator Murman’s investigation into the promotion of Critical Race Theory at the Nebraska Department of Education.
The Department’s website states:
from “HIV/AIDS Education” www.education.ne.gov/csss/hiv/
When asked for an explanation, calls from the Senator’s office to the Department of Education went unanswered.
On Friday, Senator Murman said, “The Department of Education has been through this once before. The Department knows full well that it lacks the legal discretion to promote sex education standards. I call on the Department to remove, condemn, and apologize for promoting this material with state resources.”
LINCOLN—On October 31st, 2022, the Nebraska Board of Education abruptly canceled
their public comment period for the Board’s November 4th meeting. Senator Dave
Murman of Legislative District 38 released the following statement:
“The Nebraska Board of Education has long held a public comment period where citizens
can interact with their elected members of Government in their official capacity.
Yesterday, the board decided that after a slew of oversight failures, including the
imposing of a regimen of Critical Race Theory on teachers, they would shut down the
voices of parents before an election.
“The Nebraska Board of Education has fallen in line with those they’re supposed to
oversee, and they have decided to play politics instead of doing what is best for Nebraska
children and working on behalf of the citizen. I wholeheartedly condemn this action and
call on the Board to open up their meeting for public comment.”
LINCOLN—Senator Dave Murman of Glenvil was joined today by Hastings Senator Steve Halloran, Elmwood Senator Rob Clements, Bayard Senator Steve Erdman and Adams Senator Myron Dorn. They held a joint press conference in the State Capitol Rotunda to discuss their call for a legislative investigation into the Nebraska Department of Education.
Over the last few years, the Nebraska Department of Education has received money from the federal government’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to help schools rebound from COVID-19. With this money, the Department created an online resource hub known as “Launch Nebraska” that could be accessed by any internet user. After a year of operation, Launch Nebraska appears to have shifted its focus, and that is what prompted the call for an investigation.
“The website provided ‘professional resource and learning links’ targeted toward educators and members of the education administration. With this, the Nebraska Department of Education guided educators to the ‘Culturally Responsive Education’ hub, where educators were encouraged to ‘Take Action’ and provided with a PDF document titled ‘Winning Racial Justice In Our Schools: Resisting the Right Wing Attacks On Critical Race Theory.’ This comes at a time when ACT scores for the previous year have been reported as the lowest in at least a decade. In Nebraska, 20% of tested graduates met all four ACT benchmarks for college percent, which is down from 23% a year earlier.”
The Education Department has come under fire in recent months because of its proposed Comprehensive Sex Education standards. Murman says that the uncovered documents show unequivocally that the Department has also been promoting Critical Race Theory for at least a full school year.
“It has become clear that the Nebraska Department of Education and Launch Nebraska have gone off the rails from the original intent of this program. That’s why I am calling for a legislative investigation into the Nebraska Department of Education. The people of Nebraska, and certainly in my district in south-central Nebraska, expect our schools to teach their kids the basics: math, reading, science, civics, history, writing, and financial literacy, and prepare students for higher education or a job in the trades.”
Senator Murman said that there should never be another dime of taxpayer money that goes to a state-employed agency that is determined to participate in political activity.
h/t: ERIN BAMER, OMAHA WORLD-HERALD
Senator Dave Murman will be joined by colleagues Sen. Halloran, Clements, and Erdman on October 17th at 10:45 AM in the Capitol Rotunda to discuss their call for a legislative investigation into the Nebraska Department of Education.
On Wednesday, October 12th, the Daily Caller reported on documents and resources distributed by the Nebraska Department of Education’s “Launch Nebraska” online hub intended for schools restarting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
When asked for comment by the Daily Caller, Senator Murman said “In our state, we’ve dealt with left-wing activist bureaucrats promoting comprehensive sex education and critical race theory in our public schools.” He continued, saying “any promotion of these reprehensible ideologies by the Nebraska Department of Education must be rooted out.”
Senators will give opening remarks at 10:45 in the Capitol Rotunda followed by a brief question period.
This past week, the Bovee wildfire at Nebraska National Forest near Halsey, Nebraska led to the death of Purdum volunteer fire department assistant chief Mike Moody. It also prompted the evacuation of the entire town of Halsey. The fire was close to being controlled by last Monday after tireless work from some of Nebraska’s finest first responders who saved several farmsteads in the fire’s path. As of last Thursday morning, reports estimate the fire was 94% contained after burning nearly 20,000 acres of land.
The Eppley Lodge, the historic Scott Lookout Tower, and all of the cabins at the state 4-H camp fell victim to this tragedy. This was the first 4-H campsite in Nebraska, dedicated in 1962, and recorded approximately 2,500 visiting youths annually, and more than 30,000 different youths over the years.
I personally had the pleasure of attending the Halsey 4-H camp twice in the 1960s. The first time as a young 4-Her, I was super impressed by all of the tall pine trees and beautiful natural wooden cabins, and the huge Eppley Lodge. Being from the irrigated flatlands of Nebraska, I didn’t realize a campground with so many pine trees could even exist in Nebraska, or that it is the largest hand-planted forest in the Western Hemisphere. I was also impressed by the Scott Lookout Tower, from which one could look over the hills of pine trees and watch for smoke.
The next time I attended was for a 4-H leadership camp in my teenage years. Believe it or not, a fire had burned through the camp the year before, leaving only cement foundation pads where many of the cabins once stood. Huge tents were erected on the pads but fortunately, the Eppley Lodge was still there in all its glory. I was blessed to take part in planting pine fingerlings in the hills around the camp to replace some of the trees that burned. It is surreal to think some of these trees could be the ones that burned 50-some years later in the Bovee fire. Unfortunately, this time the beautiful Eppley Lodge and Scott Lookout Tower are also gone. I am telling this story in the hopes that Nebraskans will pull together to replant portions of the Nebraska National Forest that were lost in the most recent Bovee fire. I am also hopeful that Nebraska extension and 4-H leaders from all over the state can rebuild the camp even better than before so that future generations of 4-Hers can enjoy the same privileges that I and so many others have enjoyed.
I hope everyone in District 38 will join me in praying for the family and friends of Mike Moody, for the recovery of the Nebraska National Forest, for those that lost homes or property, and for all the people who have courageously battled this fire.
I welcome any comments, questions, or ideas you may have on this or any other issue. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 402-471-2732.
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