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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!