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LB 740 Advances to Final Round of Debate
On Wednesday, the Legislature advanced LB 740 to Final Reading, the third and final round of debate in the Nebraska Unicameral. LB 740, my personal priority bill this session, grants immediate in-state residency for tuition to recently separated veterans and their families who become Nebraska residents. LB 740 provides an immediate boost to the economy as these veterans spend their well-earned education benefits in Nebraska. It also provides a long-term boost as we grow and develop a highly skilled, highly educated workforce in the state.
Property Relief Bill Receives First Round Approval
On Thursday morning, I voted with 33 of my colleagues to advance LB 986, a bill to provide property tax relief to more families through the homestead exemption. This bill also includes an exemption for families with children who are developmentally disabled. LB 986, along with the Appropriations’ budget proposal to add $25 million to Nebraska’s Property Tax Relief Fund, address property tax relief for Nebraskans across the state, including for our retirees who made their careers in Nebraska and want to stay here during their retirement.
Women Leaders in the Legislature
March is women’s history month. As such, this update highlights some women leaders, past and present, in Nebraska state government. Photos courtesy of Nebraska Blue Book.
10 of the 49 state senators in the Unicameral today are women. My female colleagues serve in leadership positions on Education, Health and Human Services, Urban Affairs, and transportation and Telecommunications committees.
Leadership by women senators is not new in Nebraska, however. In 1954, Kathleen “Pat” Foote became the first woman to run for the Legislature. Previous governors appointed several women over the years but Senator Pat Foote, at age 27, became the first woman to run and win a seat in the Legislature. A Republican farm wife, Senator Foote successfully launched a “Keep Nebraska Beautiful” campaign through landmark legislation a decade before Lady Bird Johnson began her Keep America Beautiful campaign aimed at improving our nation’s highways.
Senator Kathleen Foote
In 1972, Nebraska became the second state, after Hawaii, to endorse the Equal Rights Amendment, an effort led by then Senator Fern Hubbard Orme. During her fourteen years as senator, she also led efforts to preserve the Thomas Kennard House in Lincoln and allocate funding for a women’s physical education building on UNL’s campus.
In 1977, Senator JoAnn Maxey of Lincoln became the first female African American state senator following her appointment to the Legislature by then-governor Jim Exon. During her two years as state senator, she successfully passed legislation over a gubernatorial veto to create funding for women who found themselves homeless or without resources due to divorce, death or separation from their spouse.
Senator JoAnn Maxey
Around the same time, Senator Shirley Marsh was instrumental in structural changes inside the body. She helped lead the charge to end smoking on the floor of the Legislature and help bring a women’s bathroom to the lounge outside the chamber. Before these changes, female senators relied on state troopers to guard the door to the men’s bathroom.
Senator Shirley Marsh
In 1986, not one, but two, women ran for Governor of Nebraska: Republican Kay Orr and Democrat Helen Boosalis. This contest marked the first time in American history that two women faced each other as nominees from the two major parties in a Governor’s race. With her victory on Election Day, Governor Kay Orr set additional records, becoming the first female governor of Nebraska and the first female Republican governor in the nation.
In the 1990s, Senator Ardyce Bohlke, as chair of the Education Committee, helped increase the amount of state aid to our K-12 schools. Most recently, former state senator Deb Fischer became the first female U.S. senator in Nebraska following her defeat of Bob Kerrey in the 2012 campaign.
Also in 2012, Senator Sara Howard was elected to the seat previously filled by her mother, Senator Gwen Howard, marking the first mother-daughter legacy in the Nebraska Unicameral.
Join Wounded Warriors and others on Saturday, March 22nd at an open house at Marathon Ventures (901 Ft Crook Rd North, Bellevue) for “Soundz of Freedom,” a non-profit organization based in Bellevue dedicated to serving the wounded warriors and other veterans in our community. The open house runs from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM and includes some remarks from Tim Chambers, “The Saluting Marine.” For more information, please visit Soundz of Freedom’s website: http://soundzoffreedom.weebly.com/
On Sunday, March 30 join me and other members of the Bellevue Public Safety Foundation for a Souper Sunday at the Bellevue Volunteer Firefighters Hall, 2108 Franklin St. Try a variety of soups made by local celebrities and vote for your favorite soup with donation dollars. The event runs from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors. Children under 12 are free with a food pantry donation. For more information, please visit: bellevuepublicsafety.com
All, the best,