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Sen. Sue Crawford

Sen. Sue Crawford

District 45

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On Wednesday, the Legislature gave first round approval to LB 754, my personal priority bill this session.  LB 754 establishes the Commission on Military and Veteran Affairs and a point person to work with the Governor to assist the state in attracting and retaining missions at our military installations and to help leverage economic development in our communities tied to these installations.  The commission and this point person will also work to support and serve Nebraska’s military and veteran families.

There are important assets to protect in the future across the state, particularly as the Armed Forces look at base closings and realignment, whether or not this is part of a formal Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round.  Moreover, there are also opportunities to push to secure more missions in our state with our low cost of living and supportive communities.  The commission and the military liaison created by LB 754 ensures Nebraska is in the best position to respond to these opportunities and threats when these discussions occur and leverage them for economic development across the state.

Governor Signs Crawford’s National Guard Employment Protections Bill into Law

I am very happy to report that Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB 753 into law this week.  LB 753 amends Nebraska’s adoption of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act of 1994 to extend protections to persons who work in Nebraska but are called into National Guard Service by another state.  State law did not provide protections for National Guard Members employed in Nebraska if they were deployed by another state.  This new law will fix that problem and extend employment protections to all National Guard members who work in our state.  I want to thank Governor Ricketts for signing this bill into law.

Special Visitors to Lincoln

We had the pleasure of having several groups visit us in Lincoln this week. The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class came to the Capitol on Wednesday.  My staff and I put together a full schedule of events to help them learn more about the inner workings of Nebraska government. I want to thank Governor Pete Ricketts, Chief Justice Mike Heavican, State Treasurer Don Stenberg, former Lieutenant Governor Kim Robak with Mueller Robak LLC, Senator Heath Mello, Senator Kathy Campbell, Senator John Murante and Senator Tommy Garrett for speaking to the group.

I also had the opportunity to visit with the Stratcom Strategic Leadership Fellows this week. This great program trains top civilian security specialists in areas including team building, collaboration management, data-driven decision making and project management, among other things.

Leadership was a reoccurring theme this week as we also had a nice visit from the Girl Scouts. It was a great start to International Women’s Day as Senator Sara Howard and I had breakfast with the Girl Scouts and offered leadership advice and encouragement to them.

This Week in Urban Affairs

This week, both of the Urban Affairs Committee’s priority bills were advanced from Select File, which is the second round of floor debate.  Prior to advancing LB 704, a technical bill designed as a “clean-up” of statutes that deal with the adoption of local building codes, the bill was amended to incorporate the provisions of another Urban Affairs clean-up bill, LB 705.

Introduced by the Urban Affairs Committee, LB 705 is a comprehensive bill that updates and modernizes statutes governing cities of the first class.  Cities of the first class have a population between 5,001 and 100,000, and include the cities of Bellevue, La Vista, and Papillion.

Much of the current language in the statutes governing cities of the first class has not been amended since Nebraska statutes were recodified in 1943, and some may even date back to the late 1800s. Among the antiquated and obsolete language eliminated under LB 705 are references to hitching posts, wagons, steam-powered rail cars, tippling shops, workhouses, poorhouses, freeholders, and imprisonment at hard labor.

While bills like LB 705 may not make the news, they play an important role in keeping our state laws up-to-date.  Over the next few years, the Urban Affairs Committee plans to review the statutes that deal with other classes of municipalities, continuing to modernize the state laws that govern how our local governments operate.

Looking Ahead

The Legislature recessed Thursday afternoon and will return on Tuesday.  These 2-day recess days not only allow senators like myself with other jobs a chance to catch up on work, they also allow senators who represent districts in Western Nebraska a chance to travel home for a few extra days.

On Tuesday, the Legislature will begin debate on this year’s budget bills.  These bills include the $13.7 million appropriation for the Missouri River levee project.  Stay tuned for more about the budget bills next week!

Next week, we will also begin “working lunch” days.  This is a new practice instituted by Speaker Hadley to increase the number of hours of work time on the floor during the day, with the intent of avoiding truly late nights later in the session.  During working lunch days, the Legislature will stand at ease for 20 minutes for lunch, as opposed to the traditional 90 minute break, and then work until about 7:00 p.m. instead of running later into the night night.  Next week, Tuesday and Thursday are both designated working lunch and later adjournment days.

All my best,

Sen. Sue Crawford

District 45
Room #1016
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2615
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