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Property Taxes remain the front and center issue this week. We had another in a continuing series of discussions on reducing Property Taxes with a growing number of Senators, as well as many citizen-lead groups that were all represented. I’m confident a ballot initiative will come out of this group and give the citizens of Nebraska a chance to make their voices heard in the next election. Property Taxes are out of control, citizens are hurting and the legislature has failed for generations to fix this problem. I am excited to see what comes of this, and I will actively promote the idea.
I attended the Midwestern Legislative Conference held by The Council of State Governments in Des Moines, IA. I was part of the panels that discussed Agriculture, Natural Resources, Criminal Justice and Public Safety. Senators came from the Midwest, and even law makers from three provinces in Canada attended. I really liked the opportunity to compare how bi-cameral legislatures worked as opposed to our unicameral. Legislators from other states are confused by our Unicameral system. They cannot conceive of a legislative body that isn’t organized around partisan political parties. They face the same problems however. Property taxes and rural/agricultural issues we face in Nebraska are shared by many other states.
Apparently commercial wind energy projects are planned for Lincoln County and citizens there are just as divided about the issue as they are in the Sandhills. Sen. Groene from North Platte is now grappling with this same issue in his district. Many of you remain very active in promoting LB 504, my bill to put a two year moratorium on the development of commercial wind energy in Nebraska. It takes five Senators on the Natural Resources Committee to vote the bill out of the committee to General File so it can be debated on the floor of the legislature. I urge everyone to contact the members of this Committee and urge them to vote “YES” on LB 504.
The 1st Infantry Division Main Command-Post Operational Detachment is a military unit who deployed to Iraq for a year. This organization was made up of ninety soldiers from the Nebraska Army National Guard. They redeployed home last week and I attended their welcome home ceremony. My nephew, 1SG Steve Brewer from Gordon, was the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of this unit group. I was very happy to greet him and the other troops, and so glad to see them all home safe and sound.
I attended the Governor’s Economic Development Summit this week, and was very interested to see what is being done to promote the huge export market Nebraska depends on for our Agricultural products. Japan is one of the leading consumers of Nebraska exports. The Japanese Trade Representative from their Embassy in Washington, D.C. spoke at this conference, and I was glad I got a chance to hear his remarks and speak with him afterwards. Japan is the number one importer of Nebraska Corn and Beef. We have a great relationship with Japan and there is room to grow and improve it, opening new markets for our State.
Fair season is fast approaching. There are thirteen counties in the 43rd district, more than any other, so there a lot of County Fairs to visit. This is a great American (and Nebraska) tradition that really brings people and communities together. Citizen volunteers who make up the local Fair Board and Agricultural Society, as well as many other civic organizations work all year behind the scenes to prepare for this special week. I hope folks get a chance to take a quick break from the farm or ranch, and spend an evening at their County Fair.
Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (402) 471-2628.