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On Thursday, November 21st, I held a town hall meeting on Bellevue University’s campus. I appreciate the twenty-five people who braved the cold and snow that night to join us. During the town hall meeting, we discussed a variety of issues including taxes, health care and education. I also shared several of my priorities for the upcoming session. One of the conclusions from the town hall meeting was that I always seem to pick bad weather days for my town hall meetings. So, we thought we’d try something different in January. Stay tuned for details about a virtual town hall/Google hang out after the new year.
Photo from the town hall meeting
Last update I discussed several interim study hearings held in front of the Health and Human Services Committee. While some committees, like the Tax Modernization Committee, have completed their hearings and are working on their final reports, others, like the Health and Human Services Committee, continue to hold hearings.
For example, the Health and Human Services Committee will hold an interim study hearing on Wednesday, December 18th, to discuss a “Nebraska Plan” to provide health insurance to as many as 50,000 uninsured, working Nebraskans. The hearing will begin at 1:30 PM in room 1510 in the State Capitol. These hearings are open to the public. All are encouraged to attended.
While the upcoming session may be short on the number of days the Legislature will meet, there will be a number of big issues debated next year. These include tax reform, prison reform, health insurance, education funding and water sustainability following the recent special master’s decision regarding the Republican River and Nebraska’s water compact with Kansas.
I ran on the promise to ensure we as a Legislature do what we can to make sure we have Good Jobs, Good Government and Good Education in Nebraska. Next session, I intend to introduce several bills that have the potential to bring more jobs and greater transparency to state government. I will be working along with other senators to continue to push for appropriate funding and innovation in P-16 education for our state.
As the Senator from LD45, I also take my responsibility to military families and our veterans very seriously. We have two bills related to military and veterans issues: one allowing for delegation of custody when a member is deployed and one that allows veterans to qualify for in-state tuition when they separate.
Because it is a short session and there are many big issues on the table, we will only introduce a small number of bills this year. We continue to collect and compile the best ideas we receive from constituents regarding potential legislation for future years. One of the bills we will be introducing this year comes directly from discussions with a constituent after the tragic loss of her father. If you have an idea for a bill that you would like to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our office seeks two interns for next session. The positions have a time commitment of approximately 10 hours/week. The internships run from January 6th through April 30th. Interns are expected to work in Lincoln at least one day a week and complete other tasks remotely. One intern will help with office communications and outreach while the other will help track bill implementation and rules and regulations oversight. The internship is open to all interested individuals.
If you or someone you know is interested in this opportunity, please send a cover letter, resume and a list of two references to my administrative aide, Courtney Breitkreutz, at email@example.com.
There are many events happening in Bellevue this December that promise to get you in the holiday spirit.
Sarpy ornament on Capitol tree
On Friday, December 13th bring your family to Bellevue Public Library for a chance for children to make holiday gifts for their families at Crafts and Cocoa. The event begins at 4:30 PM.
Gifts are needed for veterans living in Victory Apartments. These veterans were formerly homeless who now have a safe and warm place to live while they get back on their feet. This event is organized by DJ’s Dugout and the Bellevue American Legion Post 339. To participate, individuals should pick up an ornament card at any DJ’s Dugout location, including their Bellevue location.
Gifts mentioned on the cards can also be returned to any DJ’s Dugout. All gifts must be received by December 22nd.
Besides reading my legislative updates, to keep updated on my work for LD45 you can follow me on social media. You can “like” my facebook page or follow me on Twitter at @SenatorCrawford and use the hashtags #neleg #unicam #dis45.
My family and I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas!
Earlier today, the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee heard testimony on LR 201, an interim study introduced by State Senator Sue Crawford (District 45). LR 201 examines policy options available to the State of Nebraska to support military installations, military families, and veterans and their families. An informational sheet on LR 201 can be found here: LR201Handout1
A task force in 2008 chaired by Senator Avery identified changes needed in Nebraska to better support our military assets and people. Senator Crawford noted that Nebraska has made progress on most but still has work to do in several areas. She put forth new policy recommendations for the committee’s consideration, including easing career licensing transfer and portability for separating military members and military spouses. “Separating military professionals and military spouses bring valuable skills to the workforce. Recognizing those skills allows us to strengthen our workforce and help these men and women support their families here in Nebraska” she said.
The hearing also addressed the policy recommendation to waive required waiting time for qualified veterans who establish residency in Nebraska so that they are able to use their tuition assistance and continue their education here in Nebraska. “Because of the economic and workforce development opportunities this policy could bring to the state, I intend to introduce a bill next session addressing this issue,” she said.
Senator Crawford pointed out that the Legislature has recently made progress on many issues that support military families “Many of these investments strengthened military infrastructure in the state,” she said. “It is now time to invest in its people. I hope this hearing leaves you with a sense of some of the options available to us moving forward. I look forward to working on the advancement of several of these initiatives next session, including career licensing and tuition assistance for veterans looking to relocate to Nebraska,” she said.
Also testifying at the hearing was Dr. Frank Harwood, Superintendent of Bellevue Public Schools. He discussed the advantages of the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities, which offers statewide benefits to students and military families. One of the proposed recommendations would provide permanent funding for the compact.
Martin Dempsey, Midwest Military Liaison with the Department of Defense, also testified as well as various military veterans, who outlined how the policy recommendations would benefit their families. General Paul Cohen of Military Officers Association of America, Bellevue Mayor Rita Sanders, and City Administrator Dan Berlowitz also submitted letters of support for the study.
Senator Crawford and staff gather with veterans who testified for LR 201 after the hearing
Town Hall Meeting Planned
My next town hall meeting will take place Thursday, November 21st from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Military-Veteran Services Center located on the west end of the Bellevue University campus. Topics will include an update on interim studies, ideas for next session, and a Q and A. This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
Interim Study Hearings Update
On the last Friday of October the Health and Human Services Committee held a full day of interim hearings. The first hearing also included the Appropriations Committee because it examined how the state spends money designated for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. We asked tough questions and had some frank discussions about future directions for the funding to improve family self-sufficiency and government efficiency.
Directors Tom Pristow and Vivianne Chaumont from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, among others, briefed the committee regarding ACCESS Nebraska, the state’s online application program for Nebraskans seeking assistance. Sen. Annette Dubas called for this hearing as part of her long-standing push for improvements in ACCESS Nebraska. I was encouraged to hear that call wait times for the program dropped substantially last month as key changes went into place. We will continue to monitor the program to ensure that Nebraskans get the help they need in a timely manner.
Director Pristow also updated the committee on progress in improvements to our foster care system. Before I was elected, the Health and Human Services Committee, under the leadership of Sen. Kathy Campbell, identified specific changes needed to turn the foster care system around. Last session we passed most of the remaining changes that required a change in law. Director Pristow discussed progress on specific administration changes required by legislation, including a successful waiver application to provide more flexibility in our response to children in crisis.
On Friday November 8th, the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on LR 201, a resolution I introduced last session to examine support for Nebraska’s military and veteran families as well as state support for military installations and missions. I will brief the committee on findings from our work over the summer and fall. We invited a few key stakeholders to testify as well. The hearing begins at 9:00 AM in room 1507 and is open to the public. All are welcome to attend and to testify on this topic.
On Saturday, November 9th, at 10:00, the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce will honor our nation’s veterans with a parade. I hope to see many of you there! Stop by the Chili Feed at Mission Middle School after the parade to hear the great jazz bands from our three Bellevue middle schools.
Recap: Crawford Bills 2013
Last session, two of the six bills that I introduced became law and a third passed as part of another bill. The other three bills I introduced are still in committee and will carry over into next session. All of the bills respond to promises that I made on the campaign trail to work for good jobs and good government in Nebraska.
LB 429 brings increased government accountability and transparency to the state contracting process by requiring all contracts be publicly available online and searchable by agency, vendor and dollar amount.
LB 368 creates a new workforce development incentive for small businesses looking to expand while creating new job opportunities for low-income Nebraska families.
LB 553, which incorporates a bill I introduced (LB 321), clarifies state statute regarding the spend down of sick leave when a police officer is temporarily disabled as a result of an on-the-job injury.
Recap: Bellevue-State Partnership
One of my priorities in the Legislature is to ensure that decisions made in Lincoln work well in Bellevue. It is important to me that the state government acts as a good partner to Bellevue and other communities across Nebraska. Several bills passed this session provide cities and counties with additional tools they need to do their jobs well. Below I highlight just two of the bills important to Bellevue that I supported.
LB 112 streamlines financial reporting work in the city of Bellevue and other communities across the state. Bellevue City Clerk Kay Dammast testified in support of the bill.
LB 298 bans several new synthetic drug substances and provides additional tools for Bellevue police officers to combat the abuse of these drugs. Bellevue Police testified in favor of this bill.
Recap: Military-Veteran Family Bills
The Legislature also passed several bills that provide support and assistance to Nebraska’s veteran and military families. I was happy to support these bills.
LB 432 appropriates additional funding to support Nebraska’s Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.
LB 224 establishes disabled veterans bidding preferences that will allow veterans to better compete for state contracts.
LB 93 allows veterans the option to obtain a veteran designation on their Nebraska driver’s license or state identification card. It also creates an online database operated by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs that will allow the state to better serve our Nebraskan veterans.
We are hard at work preparing for next session which begins in January.
In addition to work on bills, my staff does a great job answering questions people have about state government and services. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions or concerns.
LB 429 and LB 368 Become Law
On Tuesday, Governor Dave Heineman signed LB 429 and LB 368 into law. As I discussed last week, LB 429 will bring increased government accountability and transparency to the state contracting process by requiring all contracts be publicly available online and searchable by agency, vendor and dollar amount. LB 368 will create new workforce development incentives for small businesses looking to expand while creating new job opportunities for low-income Nebraskan families. These bills reflect promises I made on the campaign trail to ensure Nebraska has good jobs and good government.
This session, the Legislature passed three of the six bills I introduced this session, along with seven resolutions honoring Nebraska residents. Earlier this session, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed LB 553, which incorporated parts of LB 321, a bill I introduced that clarifies state statute regarding the spend down of sick leave when a police officer is temporarily disabled as a result of an on-the-job injury.
The other three bills I introduced are still in committee and will carry over until next session. By rule, any bill that has not passed or has not been indefinitely postponed by a majority vote of its committee will carry over until next session. At the end of each biennium, all remaining bills are considered dead and must be reintroduced in the next biennium for consideration by the Legislature.
Overview of the 103rd Legislative Session
On Wednesday, June 5, the 103rd Nebraska Unicameral Legislature adjourned sine die. During the ninety day session, the Legislature passed over 200 bills and 200 resolutions on issues ranging from wildfire control in the western part of the state to school funding for schools big and small across Nebraska.
Moments before the 103rd Legislature First Session adjourned sine die.
Much of the work this session has focused on Nebraska’s future: its children. Senators introduced over thirty bills aimed at improving life for Nebraska’s youngest citizens; seventeen of these bills became law this session including continued reforms of our child welfare system, new large-scale reforms of the juvenile justice system and strong investments in early childhood education. At the core of each of these pieces of legislation is a desire to invest in our children early and a desire to do our best to provide opportunities for them as they grow.
Another key theme this year was tax reform and tax relief. Although major tax reforms are on hold for at least a year until the Tax Modernization Committee conducts its work during the interim, the Legislature did pass several tax reform measures this session, including the elimination of the alternative minimum tax. Between new bills and tax cuts passed last session that go into effect this year, Nebraska taxpayers will see over $99 million in tax relief over the next biennium. A majority of the relief targets families who earn less than $54,000 a year.
Town Hall Meetings Scheduled
Over the next few weeks, we will host two town hall meetings in the district. The first will be held at Bellevue City Council Chambers, 210 West Mission Ave, on Thursday June 20th at 6:00 PM immediately preceding “Music in the Park” in Washington Park, which begins at 7:00 PM. Topics will include a discussion of this year’s session, interim studies for the summer and fall, and ideas for next session. The town hall will also include a Q and A.
On Saturday, June 22nd, I will have a booth at the Bellevue Farmer’s Market in Washington Park to visit with families and answer questions. The Farmer’s Market runs every Saturday from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM, until September 14th.
These events are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. We hope you are able to join us for one or both of these meetings!
Transition to Interim
The legislative session may have ended but our office remains open and much work remains. Over the interim, we will study issues facing military families, including career licensure for military spouses and retirees looking to start a new career in Nebraska, as well as a study of the impact of the requirement that child care providers carry liability insurance on small in-home child care providers. Other work will include agenda setting and bill preparation for next session.
Over the summer and fall, we will continue to post updates on Facebook and Twitter. These email updates will become less frequent but will continue throughout the summer and fall. As always, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling my office, (402) 471-2615.
I hope you have a wonderful summer. It has been a pleasure to serve you in the 103rd Nebraska Unicameral Legislature and I look forward to serving you in the years ahead.
I will be holding a town hall meeting on June 20th, and will host a booth at the Bellevue Farmers Market on the morning of June 22nd. I look forward to seeing you there!
Town Hall before Music in the Park
Bellevue City Council Chambers
210 West Mission Ave
Bellevue, NE 68005
I will be giving an update on the current legislative session that adjourns on Wednesday, an update on summer interim study resolutions, plans for next session, as well as answering your questions. Families are Invited to attend before the weekly live music in Washington Park.
Booth at the Bellevue Farmers Market
9:00 A.M- 12:00 Noon
E 20th Ave & Franklin St
Bellevue, NE 68005
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at my office at (402) 471-2615, or by emailing me at email@example.com
All My Best,
Priority Bills Pass Final Reading, Sent to Governor
On Wednesday, two of the bills I introduced this session, LB 429 and LB 368, gained final approval from the Legislature. The bills then went to the Governor for his signature, at which point they become law.
LB 429 brings greater transparency to state contracts which are paid for with taxpayer money. State law already requires all state expenditures to be publicly available and searchable online
through www.NebraskaSpending.gov. LB 429 requires contracts to be posted and searchable on a sister site. LB 429 passed on a 43-0 vote.
LB 368 creates a subsidized employment program that creates new job opportunities for low-income Nebraskans and allows small businesses to expand and grow their businesses.The pilot program will operate for 4 years and will provide job experience for approximately 150 people each year. Similar programs have proven successful in other states, including neighboring Iowa, Missouri, Colorado and Kansas. LB 368 passed 34-7.
Taken last week during floor debate on LB 368 (Source: Nebraska Unicameral Information Office)
Other Bills Heading to the Governor
Several other bills that we have featured in previous weekly updates also advanced on Wednesday and await Governor Heineman’s signature to become law, which will likely happen early next week. These bills include Senator Amanda McGill’s LB 216 which provides services for former foster care youth as they age out of the foster care system, Senator Schumacher’s bill to repeal of the alternative minimum tax (LB 308), and Senator McCoy’s bill to update Nebraska’s controlled substances statutes to include new pharmaceutical substances (LB 298). I was happy to vote for these bills again on Wednesday, as I had during previous rounds of debate.
Veteran Photo ID Bill Passes, Awaits Governor’s Approval
This week, I, along with my colleagues, voted to advance LB 93, a bill introduced by Senator Annette Dubas. LB 93 will allow veterans the option to obtain a veteran designation on their Nebraska driver’s license or state identification card. It will also create an online database operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs that will allow the state to better serve our Nebraskan veterans. LB 93 advanced on a 47-0 vote.
What Happens on June 5th? What Does “Adjournment Sine Die” Mean?
Wednesday, June 5 marks day 90 of this session, which means the end of the session and Sine Die. As I mentioned in an earlier update, the length of legislative sessions vary based on the year. By legislative rule, the Legislature must adjourn no later than Day 60 during sessions in even numbered years and must adjourn no later than Day 90 in odd numbered years. When the Legislature adjourns at the end of the session, we adjourn “sine die” (Latin for “without day.”) Adjournment sine die means that the Legislative body is adjourning with a future meeting date uncertain. At a minimum, the Legislature will meet again in January. However, the Legislature could meet for a special session before that. twenty-five other state Legislatures have adjourned sine die this year and three states are currently in special session (Washington, Texas and California).
While the Legislative body will adjourn on Wednesday, the work of the Legislature will continue throughout the interim. During this time, Senators will research policy ideas for next year, meet with constituents and other stakeholders in their districts, attend interim committee hearings and prepare for next year’s session. The interim also allows Senators to work at their other jobs and spend time with their families.
On Thursday, I joined several Senators in “Seersucker Thursday” to celebrate the final days of session. Pictured (from left to right) are Senators Brad Ashford, Tanya Cook, me, Amanda McGill and Burke Harr.
Later this morning, I will be visiting the third annual benefit for the Bellevue Police Department’s K-9 unit hosted by Karray’s Cafe and owner Karen Stockton. During the event all tips at Karray’s will be donated to the K-9 program. Residents are welcome to come and meet the K-9 officers and dogs, see the police accident trailer, service motorcycles and K-9 vehicles. The benefit will also host ‘Penelope the Clown’, and include balloons and fingerprinting for children. The benefit runs from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
If you have any questions contact Karray’s Cafe, 3512 Samson Way, Bellevue, at (402) 884-9722. I encourage you to come out and support the Bellevue Police Department’s K-9 program and I hope to see many of you there!
Death Penalty Debated
After a day and a half of serious debate this week, Senator Chamber’s bill to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without possibility of parole failed to garner the 33 votes needed to invoke cloture. The final vote to invoke cloture failed 28-20. I spoke on the floor about my concerns about the death penalty and voted to repeal it and replace it with life without possibility of parole.
Prior to this year’s bill, the last time the death penalty was debated was in 2009. At that time, an amendment to require the state auditor to study the costs of administering the death penalty in Nebraska failed 15-30.
Last week, the Legislature debated and passed seven bills that comprise this year’s budget. This week, the bills returned to Select File and were debated a second time. After additional debate and a few changes, the bills advanced to Final Reading, the third and final round of discussion, which we will begin on Monday.
School Aid Bill Sent to Governor Heineman
On Wednesday, the Legislature voted 47-0 to pass LB 407, this session’s school aid formula bill. LB 407 was passed with an “e-clause” or “emergency clause” which means it will go into effect as soon as the Governor signs it and it becomes law. The final compromise was a good fit for Bellevue schools and improved the level of support for many other schools across the state.
Typically, bills without such clauses go into effect 3-4 months after the session ends in June. Because the impact of “e-clause” bills is immediate, a higher vote threshold of at least two-thirds of the Legislature, or at least 33 votes, is needed to pass these bills.
On Wednesday morning, I attended a breakfast in Lincoln that was part of a statewide, multiple day Behavioral Health Conference “Success, Hopes and Dreams 2013.” Governor Heineman and Dr. Scot Adams, Director of Behavioral Health Services, presented Director’s Awards which honor Nebraskans who provide support to individuals dealing with addiction, recovery and mental health issues. It was great to hear about the good work so many are doing in the area of behavioral health. It was also great to see fellow Bellevue resident Kathy Hoell, Executive Director of Nebraska State Independent Living Council at this year’s breakfast.
This weekend Mission Middle School’s Science Olympiad team competed against teams from across the country at the National Science Olympiad tournament in Dayton, Ohio. A few weeks ago, the team won the State tournament–a ninth consecutive win for the team and coach Melody Kjerstad.
This weekend marked the return of the Farmer’s Market in Bellevue. This year, the market will run every Saturday from now until September 14. Located in Washington Park on Franklin Street, hours are from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Bellevue’s Farmer’s Market is in its fourth season. It is a great place to get fresh and local fruits and vegetables, as well as other baked good and flowers.
As the school year winds down and the weather warms up, I hope you find time to spend outdoors with family and friends.
All my best,
Legislature Tackles the Budget
Most of the week was spent debating various components of the budget. The Governor submits a budget to the Legislature early in the session. The Appropriations Committee then conducts hearings on agency requests for funds and other requests for operating and capital expenses. The Appropriations Committee presents a budget book to the Legislature that summarizes their proposals for spending.
This year, the budget decisions are debated as seven separate bills. Two bills address salary issues, one bill covers most of the state operating expenses, one bill covers most of the capital investments, and the other bills cover various transfers of funds. This year’s budget stresses investment in education and sets aside a healthy investment into our cash reserves.
New spending and tax cuts passed in legislation this year must get approved as “A” bills and must fit within existing remaining revenues remaining after meeting the obligations of the budget and our cash reserves.
NCSL Spring Forum
Last weekend I attended the Spring Forum for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). NCSL brings together state legislators and staff from both parties to learn from one another and make use of the best ideas and research available. I found the sessions on veterans and military issues and budget issues most helpful. I was proud to represent Nebraska. Discussions with legislator colleagues from other states made me all the more proud of, and grateful for, our nonpartisan system.
The students from Fairview Elementary asked great questions during their visit to the Capitol this week! I enjoyed answering their questions about how someone becomes a state legislator, how long we serve, and why I wanted to serve Bellevue.
On Thursday, my husband David and father-in-law Bill visited me in the Capitol.
On Tuesday, the Legislature advanced LB 507, the Step Up to Quality Child Care Act, to Select File. LB 507, introduced by Senator Kathy Campbell, provides quality measures, quality improvement programs, as well as tools to help parents select high quality day care centers. It was not that long ago that my husband and I faced the challenge of finding day care for our boys. The bill moves us towards payment for performance and improves transparency for parents, both important good government principles. This bill fits with a strong emphasis we have had this session on investing in our youngest Nebraskans to strengthen our state.
LB 368 Update
On Wednesday morning, the Speaker placed LB 368 on the day’s agenda. LB 368, a Speaker priority bill, creates a subsidized employment pilot program that provides time-limited wage subsidies for low-income Nebraskans. This pilot program creates new job opportunities for low-income Nebraskans and allows small businesses to expand and grow their businesses while minimizing risks involved in hiring new employees. Unfortunately, the body did not get to the bill prior to adjournment on Thursday afternoon. We continue to work with stakeholders, including Goodwill and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, on the bill and are hopeful that LB 368 will be debated on the floor soon.
Last week I discussed legislative resolutions–particularly those which are congratulatory or celebratory in nature. This week I’d like to focus on another type of legislative resolution: an interim study.
Interim studies are in-depth policy analyses conducted by Senators and legislative staff between sessions. The format of these studies can vary but typically they involve meetings with interested parties and can include a Legislative committee hearing in the fall. Often, the results of these studies become bills that are introduced the following session. For example, two of the bills I introduced this session, LB 429 and LB 368, were the result of interim studies conducted by Senator Heath Mello in previous years.
Senators can introduce interim study resolutions until Day 80 during long sessions like this year and Day 50 during short sessions (next year). Like other types of legislation, resolutions are referred to committees once introduced. Once the deadline for introducing interim study resolutions has passed, committees prioritize these resolutions and determine which resolutions will receive a public hearing during the interim.
This week I introduced LR 170, an interim study to research the impact of the requirement that child care providers carry liability insurance. The study will focus on small in-home day care centers that care for four to eight children in the child care provider’s own home. Our research will include an examination of the costs associated with obtaining and maintaining liability insurance for these smaller centers and discussions with in-home child care providers. If you provide daycare in your home, or know someone who might be interested in discussing their experiences with us, please contact me via email or phone.
I have also begun work on an interim study that focuses on issues surrounding military bases and military families. More information about this study (and results) will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.
Birchcrest Elementary Visits the Capitol
On Monday morning, I visited with fourth grade students from Birchcrest Elementary School before their tour of the State Capitol. My administrative aide, Brennen, filmed a short Vine video of their visit. To see the video, and others from the session, please visit the following link: https://vine.co/v/bP7KLjHa9Xn
School Funding Debate Stalls
One of the major issues that the Legislature will struggle with this session is how to adjust the state equalization aid to schools (TEEOSA) after a few years of heavy cuts. The Education Committee struggled to resolve the interests of small schools and large schools and did not come to a consensus. The bill we debated had come to the floor with a divided committee vote. I worked with other Senators to make sure that the concerns and needs of children in Bellevue and other urban districts were considered as part of our discussion about how best to serve all children of the state. After a few hours of debate, the bill was pulled for further “off the floor” deliberation. As Bellevue’s federal impact aid declines due to sequestration and our drop from “highly impacted” to “impacted,” TEEOSA state aid becomes all the more important. The TEEOSA formula also shapes how the money (and how much money) is distributed to schools in the Learning Community.
Wind Energy Bill Advances
A bill to add renewable energy projects to our economic development tax incentive program passed with 30 votes on Wednesday after about 3 hours of debate. The bill targets large wind energy projects. Another wind energy bill coming up later in the session focuses on broadening incentives for smaller and more community-based projects. Sponsors of both bill emphasized the importance of encouraging both types of wind energy development.
A legislative resolution is a type of legislation that can be introduced by Senators during the session. One type of resolution is congratulatory or ceremonial in nature. Senators can introduce these congratulatory or ceremonial resolutions at any time throughout the session. Bills that change statute (the bills we debate on the floor) can only be introduced within the first ten days of session. I have introduced several resolutions this session so far, including one recognizing the accomplishments of Bellevue University’s former coach and Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Mosser.
This week I also introduced two resolutions congratulating the students involved in Nebraska’s Science Olympiad tournament last weekend. The first recognized Bellevue’s Mission Middle School team which placed first and will travel to Dayton, Ohio to participate in the national tournament next month. The second resolution recognized Bellevue East and Bellevue West teams which placed second and third, respectively, in the High School division. Lewis and Clerk Middle School and Logan Fontenelle Middle School also participated and placed in the top four for the Middle School division. Congratulations to all the winners!
In the District
On Sunday afternoon, I joined many Bellevue residents and Green Bellevue to celebrate Earth Day. Despite the chilly day, the turnout was great. The theme of the day was “Do Your Part.” Green Bellevue did a wonderful job organizing a run and many booths where everyone could learn more about how we can each do our part to improve the environment. I joined Mayor Rita Sanders and City Councilman Don Preister for the closing ceremony. The ceremony included award presentation to local residents who are “doing their part” to keep Bellevue a vibrant and environmentally conscious community. It was great to recognize their efforts and to see so many families at Sunday’s event!
Altrusa’s Spring Fundraiser and Luncheon will be held this Saturday at Bellevue University. The silent auction begins at 10:00 AM and the formal program begins at 10:45 AM. Altrusa members have been working hard on this event and I look forward to seeing many of you there!
Did you find a long-forgotten treasure while cleaning out your attic or garage this Spring? If so, consider bringing it to the Sarpy County Museum on Sunday to find out what that antique clock might really be worth. The museum, at 2402 Clay Street, will be open from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on Sunday for locals to bring their antiques and have them appraised by experts–similar to the TV program “Antiques Roadshow.” The program is free to the public, although donations are welcome, and appraisals are limited to two items per person. Good luck!
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