NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Sen. Mike Groene

Sen. Mike Groene

District 42

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 mgroene@leg.ne.gov

Education Hearings 2/13/2018

February 7th, 2018

Education
Location: Room 1525
Time: 1:30 PM

Document Introducer Description
LB999 Vargas Change provisions relating to the Student Discipline Act
LB1110 Vargas Require annual reporting of school performance scores and classifications
LB1116 Linehan Create the Quality Education Accountability Commission and the Quality Education Accountability Office
LB1052 Pansing Brooks Require instruction and teacher education related to dyslexia

Written Position Letter Policy for Public Hearings

If you are not testifying in person on a bill and would like to submit a written position letter to be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee chair) of the committee conducting the hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing.

Additionally, the letter must include your name and address, state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.

Education Hearings 2/12/2018

February 7th, 2018

Education
Location: Room 1525
Time: 1:30 PM

Document Introducer Description
LB801 Stinner Adopt the Panhandle Beginnings Act to provide certain services to school-age children
LB998 Walz Create the Collaborative School Behavioral and Mental Health Program
LB1081 Education Committee Change education provisions regarding reporting, penalties, residency, boundaries, priority schools, subpoena authority, poverty, and limited English proficiency

 

Written Position Letter Policy for Public Hearings

If you are not testifying in person on a bill and would like to submit a written position letter to be included in the official hearing record as an exhibit, the letter must be delivered to the office of the committee chair (or emailed to the committee chair) of the committee conducting the hearing on the bill by 5:00 p.m. on the last work day prior to the public hearing.

Additionally, the letter must include your name and address, state a position of for, against, or neutral on the bill in question and include a request for the letter to be included as part of the public hearing record.

Education Hearings 2/6

January 30th, 2018

Education
Location: Room 1525
Time: 1:30 PM

LB1103 Friesen Provide a minimum amount of state aid for each school district
LB1056 Hansen Provide for collection of data on student disciplinary actions
LB1094 Hilgers Provide for financial literacy and entrepreneurship academic content standards
LB917 Bolz Change eligibility relating to the Community College Gap Assistance Program Act

Education Hearings 2/5

January 29th, 2018

Education
Location: Room 1525
Time: 1:30 PM

LB1069

Brasch Change provisions related to the Committee on Americanism
LB1070 Brewer Change an election requirement for school districts with fewer than twenty-five students in high school grades
LB1135 Vargas Adopt the Alternative Certification for Quality Teachers Act
LB1001 Briese Provide for a review of the financing of schools

Home District Column 1/25/2018

January 25th, 2018

The Legislature has met for 14 of the 60 days of the Second Session of the 105th Legislature.  Legislation acted on so far that may interest you are:

LB368: eliminate helmet requirement for motorcycle riders. It again failed cloture vote on a filibuster. The frustrating aspect is that the sponsors have had commitments from senators but in a fit of “get even”, some change their votes at the last minute. I supported the bill for reasons of personal responsibility “freedom” and the fact that states around us do not have helmet laws means that we lose some tourist dollars as bikers avoid the state.

LB81: to raise the fee for the 3-year handgun purchase permits you apply for at the sheriff’s office from $5 to $25. It failed. I spoke against it; it was a tax increase but more importantly, it was a further restriction on our Second Amendment rights. Because of the discussion on the floor, I believe an attempt in the future will be to made to make it a lifetime permit—only voided when you are convicted of a felony or you no longer reside in the state.

LB377: relating to obsolete classifications of school districts. It advanced to select file. Coming out of our Education Committee, it is a good example of what we call a cleanup bill. Public school law references 6 classes related to enrollment, this classification is for academics, not to be confused with the more familiar sports activity classes.  Two of those classes no longer exist and one only has 18 districts. For example, our laws still reference K-8 and high-school only schools; due to the actions of the Legislature in the past, forcing consolidation of those schools, they no longer exist.  Many of the bills you see pass through the legislature, with little debate, are similar cleanup bills.

LB39:  create a state law to duplicate existing federal and international law banning sale and trade of ivory. I spoke against it. I agree with efforts to stop the slaughter of elephants and rhinoceroses to harvest their ivory, but creating a “feel good” state law dealing with trade of that ivory that could burden local law enforcement would be redundant. It failed.

Other legislation to watch for:

LB758: Senator Hughes’ attempt to alleviate Lincoln and Dundy County residents’ concerns on the loss of local property taxes from the NRD’s N-CORPE and Rock Creek river-flow augmentation projects. It will allow the NRDs involved to VOLUNTARILY pay-in-lieu of taxes to the taxing entities affected.  Our State Constitution wisely forbids taxation on government property, it is foolish for the government to tax one individual and then turn around and pay taxes to another public entity (double taxation). I would prefer the land is instead put back on the tax-rolls. There is one aspect of the bill I am in complete agreement with and is critical to Lincoln County.  Since N-CORPE has been, for the past 5 years, paying property taxes on the 19,500 acres in their project, the courts may rule that the Lincoln County public entities involved may have to pay back those taxes to N-CORPE.  758 includes a grandfather clause in it that would eliminate that fear. I applaud Senator Hughes for his efforts and I have co-signed his bill.

LB1123: my bill to clarify the NRD’s ability to sell land associated with river-flow augmentation projects while reserving the groundwater rights associated with the land. N-CORPE has already sold 313 acres, where they did what 1123 would authenticate. By making the legislation specific to NRD augmentation projects, it will eliminate concerns that out of state interest will come in and take our water.  The reality is, the way N-CORPE came into existence, it created an exception to common law that opened a Pandora’s Box on water groundwater transfers; LB1123 will close it. The language of the bill mirrors Senator Hughes’ 758 definition of who the law applies to: NRDs involved in augmentation projects. The two bills work well together. I view 1123 as an economic development, tax-cut, support small government and common-sense bill all rolled into one. The public hearing on 1123 will be on February 14th, after it is voted out of committee, it will become my priority bill.

Contact Sen. Mike Groene: mgroene@leg.ne.gov or 402-471-2729.

*Education Committee Policy Change*

If you are NOT testifying in person on a bill and want to submit a letter to be included in the official hearing record, the deadline to submit to the Committee Chair’s office is 5:00 p.m. the business day before the hearing.   Also, you must include your name and address and note in your letter that you would like it to be made part of the official record.

Education
Location: Room 1525
Time: 1:30 PM

Document Introducer Description
LB888 Wayne Require schools to post the child abuse and neglect toll-free telephone number
LB912 McCollister Provide for posting by public schools of a toll-free telephone number set up to report child abuse and neglect
LB898 Howard Require public postsecondary educational institutions to conduct an annual sexual assault climate survey
LR270CA Kolowski Constitutional amendment to reduce the minimum age in the constitutional requirement to provide free instruction

Education
Location: Room 1525
Time: 1:30 PM

Document Introducer Description
LB783 Vargas Define “educational interpreter” for purposes of students eligible for special education as prescribed
LB803 Stinner Change provisions related to kindergarten, early childhood education, and the Step Up to Quality Childcare Act
LB851 Linehan Limit superintendent and educational service unit administrator compensation
LB779 Groene Change provisions relating to learning communities

Home District Column 1/12/2018

January 11th, 2018

The Legislature convened last week with very little rancor or acrimony. I do disagree with the ill-informed who believe that the previous year’s session, where hard stands were taken by those with differing political viewpoints leading to filibusters and stagnation on certain issues, was counterproductive to good government. Good government occurs when debate is not stymied by vote trading, block voting or hasty compromise. Due to last year’s successful session, senators now know exactly the boundaries each of their colleagues have placed on individual issues. I am optimistic that we are seeing more willingness between senators of different viewpoints to negotiate within the confines of a bill and less attempts of vote trading (you vote for my legislation and I vote for yours).

Past Nebraska Legislatures have fallen into the trap of taking the easy way to compromise: throw money at it, which leads to Nebraska having the second highest ratio of local/state tax burden to private income in the nation; only Illinois, which is hemorrhaging population and is on the verge of bankruptcy, has a higher tax burden. Nebraskans deserve better; last year was a good start to redefine collegiality in the Legislature from “let’s all get along” to “respect for each other’s ideas.”

Besides a few private exchanges with University of Nebraska administrators and regents, I have stayed out of the debate on harassment of a student by a university employee. The firing of the employee was warranted; individuals in positions of power over another (teacher/student) cannot be allowed to intimidate those they intend to educate. One has to wonder if the instructor involved believed it was appropriate to spew racial slurs against Caucasians and obstruct a student’s legitimate campus activity, what must have been the level of intimidation in the confines of her classroom. Sens. Steve Erdman, Tom Brewer, and Steve Halloran need to be applauded for addressing the conduct of the lecturer. They attempted to create dialogue with the top administrators, they presented solid evidence of campus bias against certain political ideas, and when necessary they involved the public through the press.

Should Nebraskans be concerned about the censorship of certain ideologies on UNL’s campus? When analyzing the political affiliation of the instructional staff of the English, teachers college, philosophy, sociology, psychology, political science and history departments, we find that out of 97 only seven are registered Republicans. A vigorous academic exchange of ideas cannot happen when one ideology is restricted from participating. This unbalanced situation happened under a previous administration. Now that the senators have brought this indefensible inequity to present President Hank Bounds and UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green, I am confident they will take steps to correct the sterile intellectual environment that now exists at UNL. Sen. Halloran is presenting legislation to remind students that their rights do not stop at the gates of a higher education establishment and will require the university to be accountable to the public on instances of free speech infringements. I will support him in his endeavor.

We are working on legislation to address NCORPE and TIF, and due to my position on the Revenue Committee, we have a front-row seat on proposals addressing taxation legislation. At present, it looks like the Education Committee, which I chair, will not have to cut state aid to public schools, due mostly to the increase in residential property valuations in equalized school districts. Those homeowners will pay more property taxes to support their schools but will receive less state aid.

When I ran for the Education Committee chairmanship after only two years in the Legislature, I was pleased to have the support of 15 eastern Nebraska senators, resulting in a 28-vote majority. So it was great to get the approval of a local editorial writer when they pointed out that when successful senators from western Nebraska show statewide vision and collaborative spirit, they are rewarded with Unicameral leadership positions, as I was with the election as Education Committee chair.

We are having a town hall meeting at Hershey Baptist Church on Saturday at 1 p.m. It will be an open discussion on what is happening in Lincoln.

Contact Sen. Mike Groene: mgroene@leg.ne.gov or 402-471-2729.

Education
Location: Capitol Building, Room 1525
Time: 1:30 PM

Document Introducer Description
LB737 Lindstrom Adopt the First Responder Education Act
LB857 Morfeld Adopt the Campus Confidentiality Act
LB771 Walz Adopt the Child Hunger and Workforce Readiness Act
LB778 Groene Require voter approval for school district building fund levies

Sen. Mike Groene

District 42
Room #1107
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2729
Email: mgroene@leg.ne.gov
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