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Friday began a two-day recess in the Legislature, which allowed me the opportunity to schedule several meetings in and around the district and catch up on other work as well as spend time with my family. Yesterday morning, I met with the Sarpy County judges and received a tour of the probation office and facilities.
On Tuesday, I presented two of the bills in front of the Health and Human Services Committee. LBs 430 and 368 had been rescheduled due to our snow day two weeks ago. It was my first time presenting in front of the Health and Human Services Committee and I enjoyed the opportunity to sit on the other side of the table. Both bills generated great discussion from the committee and from testifiers.
LB 368 utilizes existing rainy day funds to create a wage subsidy pilot program that would allow small businesses to hire low-income Nebraskans who are looking for work at prevailing wages. The program would fully subsidize the wages of these workers for the first two months and then slowly decrease the subsidy so that by the end of six months, the employer has fully absorbed the cost of the employee’s wages. This type of program has been very successful in other states like Hawaii, Washington and Minnesota and could provide as many as 200 jobs for unemployed Nebraskans. I look forward to working with the committee on this bill and hope to be able to discuss it on the floor with all of my colleagues soon.
This week the Banking,Commerce and Insurance Committee voted out a small business development bill. LB 205 will make it easier for entrepreneurs and local communities to recruit investors to commit to projects under $250,000 such as business starts and community grocery stores. The committee unanimously voted to report the bill to General File for full consideration by the body.
Priority Bill Selected
On Thursday, I submitted a priority motion for LB 429. Each Senator has the ability to select one bill each session as a priority bill. These bills will receive priority consideration when scheduled for floor debate. LB 429 expands the Taxpayer Transparency Act to include state contracts and if passed, will require all state agencies and boards to post current contracts online in a format that is easily viewable and searchable. This week an Omaha World Herald editorial featured this bill as an important step in improving transparency in Nebraska. To read the editorial, please click here. I anticipate that floor debate on this bill will be scheduled soon.
Weekends in the District
Work in the Legislature and in the district often does not end on Friday afternoon. Last Friday, for example, I visited the Kroc Center and enjoyed the fish fry there with my family. I was very impressed with their facilities, especially their indoor water park and pottery room.
The next day, I had the opportunity to visit with local Girls Scouts and Boys Scouts troops. During my meeting with the Girl Scouts, we discussed women in leadership and I encouraged the girls to consider running for office someday. I also received my first Girl Scout badge!
Later that afternoon, I had the privilege of judging a chili cook-off with Boy Scouts Troop 305 at St. Mary’s School. All of the chili was delicious but unfortunately I could only pick one winner: Green with Envy.
Neighborhood Associations in Bellevue?
Join me and others in attending a meeting to discuss the potential of neighborhood associations in Bellevue. The meeting begins at 1:30 PM at Bellevue Public Library and includes a discussion with Mike Battershell, President of the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance. The intent of the meeting is to begin a conversation about how neighborhood organizations might work in Bellevue. The meeting is open to the public. Come be a part of the discussion!
As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve as your State Senator. I hope that your weekend is full of family, friends and relaxation.
Until next time,