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Bellevue Urban Affairs Hearing
The Urban Affairs Committee is coming to Bellevue for a public hearing on September 4th at 6:00 pm in Bellevue University’s Criss Auditorium (1040 Bruin Blvd). The purpose of the hearing is to get input from the public on two interim studies, both introduced by Urban Affairs Chair Senator Justin Wayne. The first, LR398, examines the impact of sanitary and improvement districts (SIDs) upon annexations by municipalities. The second, LR399, studies metropolitan transit authorities and issues around expanding statutory rules to allow regional transit authorities.
I am very pleased to welcome the Urban Affairs Committee to Bellevue. SID annexation and affordable public transit are both important issues in Bellevue and Sarpy County. Interim studies are an opportunity for the Legislature to draw in a wide range of outside expertise and to hear from the public across the state. I look forward to hearing from Bellevue and Sarpy County residents on these issues.
September Constituent Event
On September 27th Mayor Rita Sanders and I are hosting a bipartisan town hall at Richmont Village in Bellevue (702 Fort Crook Rd S). The event will run from 4:30-6:00 pm. City Councilman John Hansen and Sarpy County Commissioner Brian Zuger are also planning to attend. Thus, the town hall will be an open forum to meet with and talk to state, county, and city representatives all at once. No RSVP is required, but if you’d like to tell use you’re coming you can access the Eventbrite page here. I hope to see you there!
HHS YRTC Hearings
The Health and Human Services Committee visited Geneva on August 24th for the first of two public hearings on LR377. That study was introduced to help the committee better understand how Nebraska’s Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers (YRTCs) operate and how safety and security for YRTC residents might be improved. The committee heard from staff from the facility and from a long time community member who talked about how the Geneva community prided itself in helping these young women turn their lives around.
BPS STEM Announcement
On August 28th Bellevue Public Schools made the exciting announcement that they were selected for a prestigious National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) grant to support STEM education in Bellevue. I was happy to be a guest at this special event.
The grant, which totals over a million dollars, will go towards STEM programs that will get BPS students college-ready and prepared for careers in a wide variety of critical industries. The grants focus on military communities like Bellevue.
Legislative Page Applications Open
Do you know anyone interested in serving as a page for the 2018 legislative session? Pages are college students who assist senators and the Clerk of the Legislature with various tasks, such as running errands for senators during the legislative session, assisting the Presiding Officer, and setting up and staffing committee hearings. The Page Program is open to high school graduates who are currently enrolled in a Nebraska college or trade school, and is an excellent opportunity to learn the basics of state government. It is a paid part-time position, and many students receive college internship credit for their work.
The deadline for applications is Friday September 28th. Those interested in applying should first contact the Clerk of the Legislature’s office at (402) 471-2271 or email Kitty Kearns at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application. All applicants are also asked to provide a letter of recommendation from their state senator. If you live in LD45, I would be happy to hear from you!
Milky Way Screening
On August 8th, I spoke to a group of breastfeeding advocates on a panel at a screening of the film “The Milky Way” hosted by Nurture Omaha and Milkworks. It was great to have the opportunity to talk with advocates about the work that I and my staff are doing to advance paid family leave in Nebraska. Paid family leave can allow women and children to reap the many well-documented health benefits of breastfeeding longer. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. Employed women who receive 12 or more weeks of paid maternity leave are much more likely to initiate breastfeeding and be exclusively breastfeeding their child at 6 months than those without 12 weeks of paid leave.
This is just one important reason that I’ve been working on this issue for the duration of my legislative career. My staff and I are currently in the process of researching and working with stakeholders to determine a path forward for paid family leave that will benefit working Nebraskans. Stay tuned for more updates on this front. If you are interested in getting involved and helping to advocate for paid family leave in Nebraska, please send me an e-mail.
National Night Out
August 7th was National Night Out, a great event which brought together community leaders, safety officers, and residents in one big block party.
Senator Carol Blood and I sponsored the ice pops, and had a blast meeting everyone and sharing the treats! Many thanks to all the other sponsors and leaders who helped organize such a fun time.
Women in Technology in the Heartland (WiTH) is a group that meets monthly to facilitate networking and education for women who work in tech careers. On August 21st I joined them for a talk by Dr. Nirosha Rathnayake, a biostatistician who has worked on numerous research projects for UNMC in the field of healthcare.
It was a great learning opportunity, and I had a good time meeting all of the women in attendance. If you’re interested in attending future meetings, details can be found here.
Sarpy County Economic Outlook
The Sarpy County Chamber of Commerce hosts an annual Economic Outlook forum each fall. This year’s event was held August 23rd in Papillion.
Presenters talked about issues ranging from roads funding to natural resources to residential housing development. Sarpy is a fast-growing county, and it’s always helpful to hear from the folks who are mostly closely involved with those changes.
On this 17th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, there are two events in Bellevue I’d like to highlight and invite you to attend. The first, on Sunday September 9th, will take place from 7:30-8:30 am at the Shadow Lake Hy Vee in Papillion. This remembrance ceremony honors all those first responders who stepped up, often at the cost of their lives, on that day. First responders and their families will be provided breakfast by Hy Vee all morning.
Second, join us on September 11th at 6:00 pm in American Heroes Park for a moving ceremony to recognize those from Nebraska and Western Iowa who have lost their lives protecting our country since September 11th, 2001. The ceremony includes a moving tribute by the Bellevue West and Bellevue East ROTC students to honor each of these individuals by name, and performances by other military ensembles. This event is hosted annually by the Kiwanis Club of Bellevue. In case of inclement weather, the backup location is the BPS Lied Activity Center.
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All the best,