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Dear Residents of the 40th District,
This past week saw the conclusion of committee hearings in the Judiciary Committee and others, and next week, the Legislature will begin all day floor debate on bills that have advanced out of their respective committees.
The Legislature debated many priority bills that relate to reducing state spending and balancing our budget. LB465, introduced by Senator Kathy Campbell of Lincoln, eliminates certain Medicaid, SNAP, and other public assistance benefits for certain legal immigrants who have been in the United States for less than 5 years. LB465 mirrors federal public assistance law, and Nebraska will see savings of approximately $4 million per year with the elimination of these expenses. LB468, also introduced by Senator Kathy Campbell, would allow for increased co-payments and other reductions or restrictions to be placed on the amount, scope and duration of goods and services within the Medicaid program. LB468 is expected to result in savings of at least $400,000 in the next year and, according Governor Dave Heineman’s budget, even more savings in following years. Medicaid costs encompass a substantial portion of the State’s budget, and these cost savings are essential in reducing total expenditures. Both of these bills were advanced following debate.
The Legislature also advanced LB451, introduced by Senator Galen Hadley of Hastings, which would enact the Business Innovation Act to provide that the Department of Economic Development (DED) shall establish programs to provide financial assistance to companies receiving federal SBA grants, creating prototypes, identifying commercial products and processes, using Nebraska public college and university researchers and facilities for applied research projects, and engaging in value-added agriculture and microenterprise. The bill would repeal the Agricultural and Value-Added Partnerships Act, the Microenterprise Development Act, and the Building Entrepreneurial Communities Act. LB451 includes a provision that the Act will terminate on October 1, 2016. LB451 streamlines these programs and allows for greater investment. LB451 results in savings of approximately $1.5 million per year, but the appropriation for the new program is $7 million per year, which will lead to greater business growth.
This week I also introduced LR121, which encourages the support and continuation of the University of Nebraska at Omaha collegiate wrestling program. This program is one of the most successful sports programs in our state, including winning 6 national titles in the past 8 years, and yet UNO announced that it planned to cut the program in its move to Division I. If you also feel strongly that this program should be continued, please contact the members of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, who will vote on the announced plans on Friday, March 25.
Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Tyson Larson