The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Rita Sanders

Sen. Rita Sanders

District 45

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at

Post-Redistricting Update

After many late nights and long days, the plans for redistricting have been established. The Congressional, Legislative, Public Service Commission, Nebraska Supreme Court, Board of Education, and the NU Board of Regents maps ( LB 1, LB 3, LB 5, LB 6, LB 7, and LB 8 ) have passed final reading and have been signed by the Governor. You may view these maps here:

This completes the first Redistricting Special Session in the history of Nebraska. I am proud of my colleagues and staff throughout the capitol building as we were able to work together and get this done in a very short time frame. I want to give a large thank you to the redistricting committee: Senators Linehan, Blood, Briese, Brewer, Geist, Lathrop, Lowe, Morfeld and Wayne. This committee worked day and day to try to negotiate a bipartisan compromise plan for redistricting. This was not an easy task as every district has their own special and unique needs, demographics and interests. These needs would not have been as clear without those that came to testify in Grand Island, Lincoln, and Omaha. I am also grateful for those constituents who have called and emailed my office with their concerns or needs. This entire process was a group effort and I am proud of everyone involved.

Legislative District 45

How do the new maps affect District 45? The Southwest corner of the district will now fall into District 36. The City of Bellevue has seen extraordinary growth, forcing the boundaries of LD 45 to move inward. This instance has affected many districts in the Eastern part of Nebraska due to population growth. Many Senators in Eastern Nebraska have had to give up a part of their districts and while I am saddened to lose that part of the district, it will be left in good hands with Senator Matt Williams. If you are in the affected area, here is a link to Senator Williams’ website.

Congressional District 1

Not only did the legislature have the task of redrawing the lines for the legislative map, my colleagues and I reworked the congressional map as well. The conversation around the congressional maps revolved around a simple question: do we split Douglas County or Sarpy County in half between two different congressional districts? Splitting up any county is not an ideal scenario, however, due to the population growth in both counties, it was an inevitable next step, however, Congressional District 1 still encompasses all of legislative district 45. We remain in good hands with Congressman Jeff Fortenberry as he continues to be a great representative of Nebraska’s 1st district. If you wish to contact his office, here is a link to the Congressman’s website.

Interim Newsletter 8/30/2021
August 30th, 2021

Happy end of August! My staff and I have been taking our time during the interim either to take a breath after a busy session, spend our time in-district to reconnect or attend various educational conferences both out-of-state and in-state. I would love to share some information about some of the conferences I have attended.

Nebraska State Senator Delegation – Strategic Air Command Tour

My office, Lt. Governor Foley, a representative from the University of Nebraska, and other Senators and staff had the opportunity to spend a day at Offutt Air Force base and the STRATCOM headquarters to learn about the structure, operations, and strategic deterrence threats America (and its allies) face now and in the future. This visit reminded my colleagues and me of the importance of both Offutt Air Force and STRATCOM to not only our state and country but the entire world. I am thankful to the Vice Commander of the 55th Wing and Admiral Richards of STRATCOM for the briefings on past and future goals.

48th Annual American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

I traveled to Salt Lake City shortly thereafter to attend the 48th Annual American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Conference. The American Legislative Exchange Council is one of the country’s premier state policy organizations. At this conference, I learned about many different things not only important to the United States, but also to Bellevue. An example of this is attending the Task Force on Homeland Security meeting where I learned about things from surveillance technology to protecting critical infrastructure. It is important to me as an elected official to keep learning so that my colleagues and I can use our knowledge to collectively make every piece of legislation better.

Other Visits

Self-education has been a priority of mine over the interim. State lawmakers bring their own experience, intelligence, and specialty to the Legislature; however, we do not all have expertise in every issue. My goal is to learn as much as I can so that I can serve my district to the best of my ability.

So far, my staff and I have visited two dairy farms to learn about the impact of dairy on the state economy. On Wednesday, we also visited Butler Public Power District to learn more about energy efficiency and reliability. My staff are joining others in the Legislature to tour the four University of Nebraska campuses by the end of November. I also attended Governor Ricketts’ Economic Development Summit in Kearney this summer, where the Governor stressed the importance of a healthy economy to our state.

Looking Ahead

My colleagues and I are looking forward to tentatively starting our special session on redistricting on Monday, September 13. I want to stress that this date is tentative because of delayed data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The responsibilities of my colleagues and I include redrawing districts for the Legislature, the Supreme Court, the University Board of Regents, the Public Service Commission, the Board of Education, and the U.S. House of Representatives. Nebraska’s demographics continue to shift. That is why we must be successful and productive in the coming month so that the will of Nebraskans are fairly represented in not just our legislative body, but in every statewide body. As Nebraska, and those that reside in it, are continuously changing and growing, it is important to have this process in order to ensure districts are represented equally.

Office Move

Finally, our home base has moved up to the 11th floor as the Nebraska State Capitol undergoes HVAC renovations. Though we have a beautiful view of Lincoln from the tower, we are now not as easily accessible to the public. If you would like to visit, please call or email us to schedule a time. Our office phone number is (402) 471-2615, and my email address is

Newsletter 5/27/2021
May 27th, 2021

We have reached the end of the First Session of the 107th Nebraska Legislature! It has been a seemingly long session that included all-day hearings and intense floor debate. I want to thank all of you, my constituents, for keeping in touch with my office during the year – your calls and emails made an impact on how I worked through my first session in the Unicameral.

Just today, senators finished their year’s work and adjourned Sine Die – this means that we are finished until our special session in the fall for redistricting. Redistricting is the process in which new congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn to accommodate for the growth in Nebraska every 10 years. 

Over the past two weeks, we discussed and debated dozens of bills brought by colleagues – on many occasions, we worked until the wee hours. As you may know, each bill goes through three stages – General File, Select File and Final Reading. We spent much of our time in the past months focusing on General File bills. Our final weeks consisted of following those bills through Select File and Final Reading to send to the Governor’s Desk, and our final day focused on veto override motions.

Last month, we listened to eight hours of debate on Senator Anna Wishart’s LB 474, calling to adopt the Medicinal Cannabis Act. This topic of discussion allowed for great debate on both sides. This is an issue that a federal government should handle, and Congress should take a long look at removing marijuana from the Class 1 schedule classification. LB 474 failed to get the 33 votes needed for cloture in order to advance to the next round of debate. I commend Senator Anna Wishart for the hard work and dedication she put into this bill. LB 474 failed to gain cloture, and it will not advance to Select File.

This session was very unique, and we faced many special challenges. COVID-19 made for a very different session, such as plexiglass between Senators on the floor and other accommodations for COVID-19 restrictions for the senators, staff, and the public. However, I am happy to say that as the first session winds down, the body was able to continue serving the State of Nebraska, without interruption.
I am pleased with the progress my office and I have made over the last months. Five out of my seven bills have been passed and signed into law this session, including my priority bill, LB 389. My legislation stretched across many topics, from government transparency and privacy rights to flexibility for homestead exemption applications and cemetery association membership. Despite the hostility and harshness that can become so common in politics, I am proud of how much our office has accomplished.

Bellevue First
Thanks to Senator Tom Brewer’s leadership, I am thrilled to say that LB 387, a bill I proudly cosponsor, has been signed by the Governor! This bill exempts 100% of military retirement pay from Nebraska income tax. This is nothing short of amazing. This is one of the bills that will directly benefit Bellevue-Offutt and surrounding communities and will have a positive economic impact. Our state has lagged behind on efforts like these until today. This bill is a great way to recruit and retain veterans to make a home in our wonderful state, add to the qualified workforce and also thank them for years of dedicated service to our country.

Here is legislation that I co-sponsored/introduced that affect Bellevue:
– LB 389, which I introduced on behalf of the Governor, that will give temporary permits to military spouse teachers seeking reciprocity certification, and will speed up the certification process;
– LB 5 by Senator Blood encourages schools to become military-friendly and seek Purple Star status;
– LB 9 by Senator Blood will grow Bellevue by changing annexation requirements.

Looking Ahead
In these upcoming weeks, my staff and I will be assessing our priorities for the next legislative session. Additionally, Senators will be involved in interim studies to look at specific issues or data collection. These studies are done by legislative committees following adjournment. I have signed onto Senator Joh Arch’s LR 239, an interim study that examines the effectiveness of Medicaid waivers in Nebraska overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services. Nebraska’s waiting list for citizens for developmental disabilities has been discussed for many hours this year, and I support Chairman Arch and the HHS Committee’s efforts to discuss solutions and improvements. Additionally, I am serving on the LR 29 Special Committee.

Have a wonderful summer!

Newsletter 5/06/2021
May 6th, 2021

I hope your spring has been joyous! While the season definitely has its downsides (my entire office has suffered with allergies for the past month), it brings some wonderful things – like baseball! In the coming weekend, baseball teams from Bellevue East and Bellevue West will compete in district tournaments for a chance to make the state playoffs, those games begin on Friday! I wish the best of luck to these teams.

Meanwhile, the Legislature hit a fastball to the fence with its budget bills. Governor Ricketts signed the new biennium budget into law last Monday! I’d like to congratulate the Fiscal Office, the Appropriations Committee and Appropriations Chair John Stinner for their excellent work. Now, our attention turns to a more daunting pitch…

We have reached the final month of the 107th Legislature’s first session! This year has been unlike any other session in many ways (at least that is what my colleagues tell me). But some things are just like other years. One example is property taxes.

For years, Nebraskans have asked for property tax reform. That has been a key focus of the Legislature this year, and it remains a key focus of mine. For the past four weeks, we have taken many of our debates well into the night. We have discussed proposals such as Senator Briese’s LB 408 that would limit property tax growth to 3% per year, Senator Briese’s LB 2 that would lower the property tax value of agricultural land for bond purposes, Senator Friesen’s LB 454 that would give state dollars to schools too reliant on property taxes, and Senator Ben Hansen’s LB 644 that would require any political body to notify voters of potential levy increases by postcard. This illustrates the fact that many senators have brought forward suggestions to fix the problem.

Some of these suggestions have advanced, and some have not. All of them are only band-aids on an issue that has been likened to an amputation. I enjoyed listening to the debate on Senator Erdman’s LR 11 CA yesterday because it was the kind of outside-the-box thinking that we need, and it is comprehensive tax reform. While I continue to consider my stance on LR 11 CA, what I appreciate most is that we finally discussed a comprehensive fix to our tax issues.

Last Monday, my bill LB 313 advanced on to Select File! LB 313 would allow for late applications for a homestead exemption for those whose spouses have passed away that year. Currently, a property owner may file a late application for a homestead exemption if they provide documentation that a medical condition caused an inability to file on time. This bill would allow that same ability for those whose spouse passed away in the relevant taxable year. Many times, when someone passes away, their spouse is left to pick up the pieces. This includes family finances. This can be extremely difficult for someone who has never handled family budgeting and taxes, and it takes time to not only grieve a loved one, but become proficient in finances.

Current Status of Bills:
LB 312, Passed
LB 313, Select File
LB 368, Passed
LB 369, Passed
LB 370, Referral
LB 389, Passed
LB 619, Referral

Bellevue First
Yesterday, Senator Blood’s LB 9 was signed into law and I am a proud co-sponsor of this legislation. LB 9 allows for the growth and expansion of Bellevue as it changes annexation requirements and property tax special valuation provisions. Previously, annexation had to include adjacent land, making it impossible for cities landlocked by federal property (such as Offutt Air Force Base) or Natural Resources District land in the middle of a potential annexation area. Without this bill, Bellevue would only be able to expand to the south of the base, making it difficult to grow as quickly as surrounding areas such as Papillion or La Vista. This is a sound bill that will help Bellevue grow.

COVID – 19
All statistics as of 7:20 AM on 5/06/2021
Confirmed cases in Sarpy County: 22,002
Active cases in Sarpy County: 207
Deaths in Sarpy County: 124

For more information regarding COVID-19, visit:

Thank you for reading!
Stay safe, and stay healthy!

Newsletter 4/15/2021
April 15th, 2021

The Rita Record

Before I talk about the Legislature, I want to wish the Bellevue East Chieftains and the Bellevue West Thunderbirds the best of luck as they begin the Metro Conference Baseball Tournament today! It has been a hard year for high school athletes – especially those involved in spring sports who didn’t get the opportunity to play in 2020. Now, both these teams are returning to the diamond with the same goal they had before the pandemic: winning state. Best of luck, Chieftains and Thunderbirds!


Today (Thursday) is the 62nd day of the 107th Session, meaning that we only have one third of the Session to go! The Legislature’s current mission is the biennial budget. Every odd-numbered year, the Appropriations Committee crafts a budget for a two year period – this is known as the biennial budget. The budget happens to be one of the Legislature’s only Constitutional obligations. Last Thursday we began debate on the budget bills on General File, and we began debate on Select File this last Tuesday. The body’s budget process doesn’t end there: in even-numbered years, the Committee revisits the budget and revises it based on the revenue we receive. In both cases, the entire Legislature has the opportunity to debate on the budget before it passes.


On Monday, my bill LB 312 advanced out of Select File onto Final Reading! This is my fourth bill to make it to Final Reading. Previously, cemetery boards of public cemeteries could only seat members that lived in the same county as the cemetery. This meant that families of those buried in those cemeteries might be left out, and those are arguably the people who are invested the most in a cemetery’s health. Under LB 312, two things change. First, lot owners and immediate family members of those interred in the cemetery are allowed to serve on a public cemetery board. Second, LB 312 makes a minor change in reporting the minutes of cemetery board meetings. Under my bill, those minutes would be delivered to the resident county of the cemetery, instead of the county in which the meeting was held. This bill is a great example of how effective you can be as a constituent. The President of the Fairview Cemetery Board in Papillion, Gene Stoltenberg, suggested this change, and we were glad to help him.

Bellevue First

On Monday, Senator Blood’s LB 5 was signed by the President and will become law 3 months after Sine Die. Along with Senator Gragert, Senator Brandt, Senator Lindstrom, Senator Day, Senator Murman and I are proud co-sponsors of this legislation. This legislation is great for Bellevue and passed the Legislature unanimously. LB 5 allows for public, private, or parochial schools to apply for an annual “purple star school” designation. In order to qualify for this designation, a school must have a designated staff member to be the military liaison between military students and their families. Additionally, this bill promotes the addition of online resources for military families, such as a program that helps children transition into a specific school.

COVID – 19

All statistics as of 5:30 PM on 4/14/2021
Confirmed cases in Sarpy County: 21,200
Active cases in Sarpy County: 529
Deaths in Sarpy County: 118

For more information regarding COVID-19, visit:

Thank you for reading!

Should you be interested in receiving this newsletter in your email every two weeks, please fill out this form to request to be added to our list. You are also welcome to reach out with any questions, concerns, comments, or ideas. Our office in the Capitol is #1406 on the first floor, just across from the information desk. Our phone number is (402) 471-2615.

Stay safe, and stay healthy!

Mini Newsletter 4/01/2021
April 1st, 2021

The Rita Record Special – Senator Sanders’ Priority Bill Signed by the Governor

Yesterday was a remarkable day for my office. My priority bill, LB 389, was signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts yesterday morning!

Photo Courtesy/Gov. Ricketts Office                                                                                                       

I have told you a little bit about this bill in my previous newsletters, but let me give you a recap: LB 389 does three things. First, it makes it easier for military spouses to get a teaching license in Nebraska if they hold another license in another state. Second, while an application for that license is processing, the bill lets the applicant get right to work with a preliminary permit – as long as they pass a background check first, and pay the application fee. Finally, the bill requires the State Board of Education to make this application process as fast as possible.

Why is this so important? For years, military families have moved in and out of Nebraska because they have been stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. These deployments usually last three or four years. Meanwhile, a spouse may want to earn extra income for that family. Many of these spouses teach – but the tedious and lengthy process of getting a license to teach in a Nebraska school discouraged many from trying. Now, the process is quicker – but still thorough.

This benefits us in many other ways. Many schools in Nebraska face a teacher shortage – now, these districts have access to more qualified teachers to fill those spots. Additionally, the Department of Defense named spouse reciprocity licensure one of their top issues when considering where to place additional missions. Now, we check all three of their boxes in this category. Before LB 389, we only checked one.

This is my first bill in the Legislature to be signed by the Governor. I think that’s fitting, because Offutt Air Force Base provides $2.7 billion in economic impact every year. A lot of that goes to District 45. Offutt will always be one of my top priorities in the Legislature because of its irreplaceable benefit to our economy, our citizens and our country.

I owe a big thank you to Governor Pete Ricketts for bringing this bill to me. He has been a positive voice at the forefront of this issue for many years, and his work has been instrumental in advancing this legislation. I also want to thank all of my cosponsors – Senators Gragert, Murman, Brewer and Blood – for their help in bringing this bill to the finish line.

Newsletter 3/22/2021
March 22nd, 2021


I want to take the time to congratulate Bellevue East as the overall State Champion and Large School State Champion at the Academic Decathlon State Finals! 

Photo Credit: Bellevue Public Schools 



Today (Monday) is the 47th day of the 107th Session. The all-day floor debate started last Wednesday (March 17th). 


I am proud to say that my priority bill, LB 389 passed out of Select File and onto Final Reading unanimously! LB 389 would cut burdensome red tape in the certification process for military spouses to teach in schools, which directly benefits families at Offutt Air Force Base. There are over 240 military spouses that work in the Nebraska education system. 


Additionally, LB 368 & LB 369 also passed out of Select File and on to Final Reading. LB 368 provides the Auditor of Public Accounts enforcement powers for the failure of political subdivisions to file reports. LB 369 provides the Auditor of Public Accounts access to working papers and audit files. In other words, this enforces the deadline for any audited city, state, or any other political subdivision to turn in a report related to an audit. Currently, there is no enforcement – in fact, some political entities still have unfiled reports due over a year ago because they know there is no punishment. It’s important for you to be able to see these audits, and that’s why I agreed to work on these bills.


To summarize, this means that 3 out of 7 of my bills have already passed through Select File! We have two additional bills that are waiting on General File, and we hope that those may be heard in the coming weeks.

Current Status of Bills: 

  • LB 312, General File
  • LB 313, General File
  • LB 368, Final Reading
  • LB 369, Final Reading
  • LB 370, Referral 
  • LB 389, Final Reading
  • LB 619, Referral 

Bellevue First

One of the bills I am a proud co-sponsor of is LB 387 (Senator Brewer). This bill would exempt 100% of military retirement pay from Nebraska income tax. Senator Brewer already passed LB 153 last year, which exempted 50%. Now, he is looking to complete the job.


This bill will directly benefit the Offutt and Bellevue communities as it will attract retiring military veterans to stay in Nebraska. In fact, our state has lagged behind on efforts like these. This bill is a great way to not only encourage veterans to make a home in our wonderful state, but also to thank them for years of dedicated service to our country.


I had the honor to cosponsor Legislative Resolution 60 (Senator Brewer) honoring K9 Veterans Day. LR 60 recognizes the service of military working dogs (MWDs). MWDs are an important and essential asset to Offutt’s security, but they are also a prominent presence in our community police forces. Just like in our homes, these dogs help keep us safe.


COVID – 19

All statistics as of 10 PM on 3/21/2021

Confirmed cases in Sarpy County: 20, 205

Active cases in Sarpy County: 357

Deaths in Sarpy County: 107


For more information regarding COVID-19, visit:


Thank You for Reading!


Should you be interested in receiving this newsletter in your email every two weeks, please fill out this form to request to be added to our list. You are also welcome to reach out with any questions, concerns, comments, or ideas. Our office in the Capitol is #1406 on the first floor, just across from the information desk. Our phone number is (402) 471-2615.


Stay safe, and stay healthy!


Newsletter 3/4/2021
March 4th, 2021


Today (Thursday) is the 38th day of the 107th Session. Senators have already introduced all of their bills for this year’s 90-day session. Additionally, the all-day floor debate will begin on March 15. To recap, when a bill gets sent to the floor, it means that it is approved by its retrospective committee and will be presented to the full Legislature. Once it has been presented to the full Legislature, it must pass three stages of debate: General File, Select File, and Final Reading. If a bill passes these stages, it then goes to the Governor for his signature. However, if the Governor chooses not to sign it, then the Legislative body can override the veto. For more information on the Unicameral process, you can click here.


Next Thursday (March 11th), there will be a hearing on LB 370, which is the last bill out of the seven bills I have introduced to be heard. In the meantime, I have been working hard in both the Education Committee and the Government, Military, and Veterans’ Affairs Committee. In the Education Committee, we have heard bills from adopting the Nebraska-Farm-to-School Program Act (Senator Brandt’s LB 396) to establishing the Purple Star Schools Program which would encourage every school to appoint a “military liaison” (Senator Blood’s LB 5). In the Government, Military, and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, we have heard bills from creating the commission on Asian American Affairs (Senator Hansen’s LB 442) to adopting the Second Amendment Preservation Act (Senator Halloran’s LB 188).

LB 370, my final bill to be heard, would prohibit state and local governments from requiring nonprofit organizations from disclosing their donors’ personal information. This bill will help keep privacy to the people, and leave transparency for the government. I am happy to have the support of cosponsors Senator Lindstrom and Senator Morfeld.

Current Status of Bills:
LB 312, General File
LB 313, Awaiting Committee Action
LB 368, General File
LB 369, General File
LB 370, Referral – Notice of Hearing for March 11
LB 389, General File
LB 619, Awaiting Committee Action

Bellevue First

Last Thursday I had the honor to present Legislative Resolution 47  to the entire legislative body on behalf of Corporal Robert Holts. Corporal Robert Holts of the United States Army was Nebraska’s last surviving Tuskegee Airman. The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of Black pilots that fought in World War II. Holts helped to break color barriers for all servicemen and women. Holts was a hero and a friend who made Bellevue his home. This legislation extended sympathy to the family of Corporal Robert Holts and his service to our nation.

COVID – 19

All statistics as of 3 PM on 3/01/2021
Confirmed cases in Sarpy County: 19, 626
Active cases in Sarpy County: 505
Deaths in Sarpy County: 105

For more information regarding COVID-19, visit:

Thank You for Reading!

Should you be interested in receiving this newsletter in your email every two weeks, please fill out this form to request to be added to our list. You are also welcome to reach out with any questions, concerns, comments, or ideas. Our office in the Capitol is #1406 on the first floor, just across from the information desk. Our phone number is (402) 471-2615.

Stay safe, and stay healthy!

Newsletter 2/12/2021
February 12th, 2021

The Rita Record

Despite the freezing temperatures, your Legislature is still working in Lincoln. While the cold is quite unpleasant, it has resulted in some beautiful scenery around Nebraska. My staff member took this picture as we commuted to Lincoln Tuesday morning:

This is the west bank of the Platte River at I-80. The hoarfrost on the bank’s trees give the branches their crystalline appearance. Also, the temperature outside at the time of the photo was -12 degrees Fahrenheit. This resulted in the steam that you can see rising from the river’s surface. It was a really cool sight – and I mean that quite literally.


Today (Friday) is a recess day for Senators. We have completed 26 days of our 90-day session so far, and we will return next Tuesday to pick up where we left off after the Monday holiday. This four-day weekend gives us and our staff some time to rest and recuperate before three more weeks of mostly full-day hearings.

I am particularly excited to begin hearing floor debate on bills next Tuesday morning! In a normal year, committee hearings take place in the afternoons and will continue into early April; however, because of COVID-19, we will complete our full-day hearing schedules three weeks from today. Meanwhile, February 16th and March 2nd will feature morning floor debates on bills that have been passed through committee.

You may be asking yourself: What is floor debate? What’s a committee? Here’s a very brief summary of the steps that a bill goes through to become law:

Introduction: The Senator works with stakeholders to craft, write and introduce a bill to change Nebraska law.
Committee Hearing: There are multiple committees in the Unicameral that will consider bills by subject matter. The committee hears from a bill’s introducer and testifiers about the bill at a hearing. Later, the committee will vote to decide whether to advance the bill or not.
To The Floor: If a committee approves a bill, it goes to the full Legislature. There, it must pass three separate stages of debate: General File, Select File, and Final Reading.
To The Governor: If a bill passes these stages, it goes to the Governor for his signature. If he chooses not to sign it, the Legislature can vote to override the veto. If this happens, or if the bill is signed, the bill becomes law.

For more information on the Unicameral’s process, click here.


Yesterday, I finished my sixth bill hearing! I introduced seven bills for this session, and I only have one more hearing to go: LB 370 on March 11th.

Preparing for a hearing takes a lot of work – especially for a brand-new Senator. While other members of the Legislature spent all of last summer and fall preparing and negotiating bills, I had three weeks to choose my bills and learn as much about them as possible before hearings began.

Senators have to anticipate what questions will be asked about the bill at its hearing, and we have to know everything about the topic. What does the law say about this topic right now? Has this been considered by the Legislature before? Who would it impact? Would it cost money? And most importantly what do my constituents think about this?

Two of my bills, LB’s 368 and 369, have already been advanced by the Government Committee to General File! I am excited for the next step of the process.

Bellevue First

This past Monday, I introduced LB 389 to the Education Committee on behalf of Governor Pete Ricketts. I am pleased to announce that this is my Personal Priority Bill for the 2021 Legislative Session. This bill would cut unnecessary red tape so that spouses of military members who are also teachers can get a temporary teaching certification in Nebraska quickly.

This does two great things: first of all, this allows military families to quickly create a second stream of income for their families. Second, it gives school districts near Offutt Air Force Base (such as Bellevue Public Schools) access to more qualified teachers to hire. I was honored by Bellevue Superintendent Dr. Jeff Rippe’s presence and supportive testimony at the hearing, as well as Jeremy Ekeler from the Nebraska Catholic Conference and Laura Ebke from the Platte Institute.

In his testimony, Mr. Ekeler quoted G.K. Chesterton in saying, “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” This is why the success of Offutt Air Force Base and its community is my primary focus in the Unicameral, and I am thrilled that the Ricketts Administration feels the same way. Together, we can make sure that Bellevue is the most welcoming place for military members and veterans.


All statistics as of 11 AM on 2/11/2021

Confirmed cases in Sarpy County: 18,924
Active cases in Sarpy County: 629
Deaths in Sarpy County: 98
Metro area hospitalizations: 138 (all-time high: 445 on 11/23)

For more information regarding COVID-19, visit:

Thank You for Reading!

Should you be interested in receiving this newsletter in your email every two weeks, please fill out this form to request to be added to our list. You are also welcome to reach out with any questions, concerns, comments, or ideas. Our office in the Capitol is #1406 on the first floor, just across from the information desk. Our phone number is (402) 471-2615.

Stay safe, and stay healthy!

Newsletter 1/29/2021
January 29th, 2021

Greetings, and welcome to my newsletter! My name is Senator Rita Sanders and I represent the Eastern Bellevue and Offutt community in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

It is an honor to represent District 45 in Lincoln, and I have great respect for the faith you have placed in me to be your voice in the Capitol. I want to keep you informed about everything I am doing here at 1445 K Street, so I intend to share this newsletter with you every two weeks during the session. I will be sure to tell you a little bit about myself, my legislative priorities, and about the rest of the body.


Today (Friday) is the 17th day of the 107th Session. The Senators have already introduced all of our bills for this year’s 90-day session. While the body was introducing bills ranging from kickboxing regulations (Senator Justin Wayne’s LB 70) to speed limit authority (Senator Erdman’s LB 164), I was busy learning about the building – where is my office? What room is my committee hearing in? And most importantly – where is the bathroom?

The first few days were filled with leadership elections and committee placements. Now, the real work begins. In a usual year, the Legislature will meet as a full body in the mornings and will meet in their committees in the afternoon; however, due to COVID-19, Speaker Hilgers has elected to do morning and afternoon hearings in order to finish them earlier. Every bill introduced in the Legislature gets a public hearing, and anyone who lives in Nebraska can come and testify. For more information on options regarding testimony during COVID-19, click here.


One of my biggest challenges during the first three weeks of session was introducing bills. The freshmen Senators (such as myself) only had 10 legislative days to choose what bills to carry, prepare them and introduce them. I have introduced seven bills for this session. To see the full list, you can click here.

In addition, I’m beginning to settle into my committee assignments. I was selected to serve on the Government, Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, in addition to the Education Committee. In one day, a committee could hear as many as 10 bills! Our committees are vital to the legislative process, and they provide an opportunity for the second house – you – to comment with your thoughts and concerns.

One of my bills would do many good things for Bellevue. LB 389 (introduced by request of the Governor) would modernize teaching certification requirements for spouses of military members. The certification process for being a teacher is rigorous, and rightfully so; however, this bill would take several practical steps to allow military spouses who already have teaching certifications in other states to get started quicker. I look forward to introducing this bill to the Education Committee soon.

Bellevue First

As a Senator, my priorities will always be to support the men, women and their families in the Bellevue/Offutt community. Offutt employs 8,000 military and civilian personnel, and its annual impact on our economy is incredible – estimated to be $2.7 billion. This was a priority ever since I was the Mayor of Bellevue, and it will continue to be a primary focus for me here in this role.

Bellevue has the friendliest community for veterans and military members – that’s why I am introducing LB 389. This bill would do two things: first of all, military spouses would gain employment and a second stream of income faster during their brief time here. Second of all, Bellevue Public Schools and the surrounding school districts would have quicker access to experienced and hard-working teachers. This bill would make a huge difference for military families and the community they live in.


The number of positive cases reported in Sarpy County is 17,714.

For more information regarding COVID-19:

Thank You for Reading!

Should you be interested in receiving this newsletter in your email every two weeks, please send me an email and request to be added to our list. You are also welcome to reach out with any questions, concerns, comments, or ideas. Our office in the Capitol is #1406 on the first floor, in the North wing, just across from the information desk. Our phone number is (402) 471-2615.

Stay safe, and stay healthy!

Sen. Rita Sanders

District 45
Room 2028
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2615
Search Senator Page:

You are currently browsing the District 45 News and Information blog archives for the year 2021.

Committee Assignments
    Military and Veterans Affairs
    Homeland Security Policy Group
Search Current Bills
Search Laws
Live Video Streaming
View video streamView live streams of floor activity and public hearings

Streaming video provided by Nebraska Public Media

Find Your Senator