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Dear Residents of the 40th District,
The Legislature took up important bills relating to education this week. Senator Greg Adams of York introduced LB637, which was debated and advanced. LB637 ensures minimum standards of operation for private or out-of-state post secondary institutions and provides consumer protection, calls for a study of the need for uniform policies and practices regarding dual-enrollment courses and career academies, and enables the University to offer certificates in additional fields upon approval from the Coordinating Commission if the preponderance of the courses comprising any such certificate are above the associate-degree level. These provisions will benefit Nebraska’s students by improving college readiness and opportunities within post-secondary education.
LB235, also introduced by Senator Adams, was debated and advanced as well. LB235 lays out the changes to the state aid to education funding for the 2011-2013 biennium. LB235 authorizes $822 million in state aid to schools next year and $880 million the following year, which is $32 million more for the biennium than was included in Governor Dave Heineman’s proposed budget. Because $140 million in federal stimulus money that was received last year will not continue and because state aid to education is nearly a quarter of the state’s total budget, unfortunately some cuts to state aid are necessary. However, the Education Committee worked diligently to make the changes in state aid as fair as possible.
Another bill advanced by the Legislature was LB177, introduced by Senator Gwen Howard of Omaha. The purpose of LB177 is to assist the Department of Health and Human Services in accomplishing the following: using due diligence to notify adult relatives when a child is removed from parental custody; making efforts to place siblings together, or provide for sibling time if placement together is not possible; and creating transition plans for children aging out of foster care. These are very important goals for our foster care system, and LB177 is a positive step towards achieving them.
Please feel free to contact my office with your questions and comments at (402) 471-2801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Tyson Larson