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Rita Sanders

Sen. Rita Sanders

District 45

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and you were able to enjoy our beautiful fall weather.

I have continued to attend hearings, meetings, and conferences as the interim comes to a close. I want to share some of the events I have been involved with over the last few months, and I will also tell you a little bit about what to expect from our office in the coming session.

Education Committee

There has been a lot to do in your Legislature’s Education Committee this interim we have met multiple times in the past few months to discuss several topics, such as how lottery funding is distributed across various educational programs and what recent assessment data says about our students’ progress during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the committee has the responsibility of following up on several bills the Legislature passed last session to make sure they are being implemented efficiently. We discussed Legislative Bill 1112 at one meeting (also known as the Computer Science and Technology Education Act). The Legislature passed this bill last session to help promote STEM fields to our young Nebraskans as they choose careers. Our meeting was spent discussing specifics, such as what this graduation requirement would look like. The important thing to know here is that we are not deciding how the law is implemented-instead, we are listening to the Department of Education to discuss concerns and bounce ideas off of one another in areas of the law that weren’t laid out specifically.

We also held hearings on interim studies. Senators introduce interim studies so that experts in a specific field can come testify before the committee without a specific bill to discuss. For example, we participated in a hearing about LR 373 to discuss the feasibility of developing a policy and implementing a statewide process for “awarding college credit in specific programs of study across all public educational institutions for military education and training.” That’s a lot of words, but the focus of the meeting was to discuss ways to recognize education and training earned in the armed services so they can still be useful when someone leaves the service.


In November I attended the Pacific Legal Foundation’s Policy Retreat. The Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans from government overreach and abuse. We discussed regulatory reform and the separation of powers on a broad scale, but we also discussed specific reforms and solutions. These conferences are a great way to listen to legislators across the country and learn a little about new approaches to familiar problems.

I also attended the Legislative Council meeting in mid-November. This meeting is an opportunity for the body to meet our new incoming members, discuss what we can expect for the coming session, and bounce ideas off of each other. Specifically, we discussed implementation of Senator Wayne’s North and South Omaha Recovery proposals passed by the Legislature last session. We also briefly touched on the Interim Ethics Committee’s work on crafting a new Code of Conduct for the body.

Coming Up

I am honored to have been selected by Governor-Elect Jim Pillen to sit on his School Finance Reform Committee. The Governor-to-be campaigned on fixing our school finance system so that the state doesn’t pick winners or losers in how we fund our schools.

Why is this important? Well, Nebraska has some of the highest property taxes in the country. A large part of that is due to the outdated way we fund our education system, called the TEEOSA formula. I am honored that Governor-Elect Pillen chose me to sit on this committee, and I look forward to working with the committee to find common ground to reform our state aid to schools. Reforming the TEEOSA formula is a key part of fixing our property tax system and to provide a brighter future for Nebraska students.

I will be attending one final conference before the session begins. The Council of State Governments hosts an annual conference where state legislators can meet together and discuss the various policy issues of our day. Important issues to be discussed will include interstate compacts, sharing natural resources, modernizing the electric grid, health care innovation, tackling the affordable housing crisis, and inclusive policy making.

I look forward to the 108th Nebraska Legislative Session and welcoming our newly elected Senators and Governor-Elect Pillen. I anticipate a productive session and lively debates. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2023!

Office Information

If you have questions or concerns we welcome constituents to contact the office by telephone: (402) 471-2615 or through my email:

Happy end of summer! My staff and I have spent our time in-district to reconnect and attend various educational conferences. I will share some information about some of the conferences.

3rd Annual State Aerospace Policy Summit

I attended the Aerospace States Association (ASA) Policy Summit in June. The ASA is a nonpartisan organization of Lieutenant Governors, Governor appointed delegates, academics, and aerospace professionals representing state’s interests in federal aerospace and aviation policy development. Aviation and space interests were discussed, as well as issues and opportunities to grow jobs and expand economic development in our state.

I would like to encourage Nebraska students to be involved and excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and challenge them to participate in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. This is a national science competition for students in grades 5 through 8. This program asks students to identify a problem and come up with a unique innovation to solve it. Every day we use and enjoy inventions developed from the aerospace industry. Encouraging youth will allow Nebraska to grow our own inventors. I believe it is important to invest in critical areas of our economy in sectors such as aerospace and other STEM fields.

49th Annual American Legislative Exchange Council Conference (ALEC)

I attended the 49th Annual American Legislative Exchange Council Conference. The ALEC Conference is one of the country’s premier state policy organizations. At this conference, I learned about many different subjects not only important to the United States, but also to Bellevue. Some of the topics discussed include inflation, fiscal responsibility, professional licensing, homeland security, health and human services, energy, the environment, and workforce development. 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.

State Legislative Leaders Foundation

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 District 45 to the best of my ability.

I was nominated to attend the State Legislative Leaders Foundation’s Emerging Legislative Leaders Program in mid-July in Charlottesville, Virginia. This was held at The Darden School on the University of Virginia campus. I learned to use Darden’s case analysis method, which involves testing my mastery of techniques and refining my decision-making processes. The goal was to improve my way of thinking about business perspectives and become a more effective leader, and seek to meet the challenges of the future with confidence.

Other Visits

I was also nominated to be a technical assistance team member by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the Council of State Governments (CSG) for the National Center for Interstate Compacts. This program supports the development of an interstate compact specific to school psychology credentialing. An interstate compact creates a constitutionally authorized contract that enables professionals in good standing to practice in all states that join the compact. This is especially important as many areas of Nebraska are experiencing a shortage of school psychologists-and this technique is a great way for Nebraska to temporarily address the workforce shortage.

In August I attended the Governor’s Agricultural and Economic Summit in Kearney and sat on a panel discussing policy with the Farm Bureau Foundation. I also had the pleasure of escorting newly-elected Congressman Mike Flood at Offutt Air Base so he could view the intricacies and importance of Offutt and STRATCOM to our state, our country, and the entire world. Later in the month I attended a program hosted by the Strategic Air and Space Museum which included NASA astronaut and Nebraska native Clayton Anderson, who is the new President of the Museum. It was inspiring to chat with Astronaut Anderson, and I had the opportunity to meet with him later that month to discuss Nebraska’s role in aerospace.

Additionally, my staff are joining others in the Legislature to tour the four University of Nebraska campuses. There will also be a policy forum for staff to attend at the Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln in September. Meanwhile the Education Committee, of which I serve on, has several interim hearings scheduled that I plan to attend, focused on preparing for the upcoming session.

Office Information

The office remains on the 11th floor of the Capitol due to HVAC renovations. This floor is not as easily accessible to the public. We welcome all constituents to email or call with their thoughts, concerns and ideas. Our office telephone number is (402) 471-2615, and my email address is

Happy April! My colleagues and I have been hard at work in Lincoln with multiple late-night
debates and early mornings. I want to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude for those that
have been keeping in touch with my office this year as your calls and emails have made an
impact on how I work through legislation.


Currently, we are completing our work on the budget, such as taxation and spending measures.
Every even-numbered year, the Nebraska Legislature is tasked with amending the biennial
budget passed the year prior. On Tuesday, the Legislature passed LB’s 1011, 1012 and 1013 from
Final Reading!

However, my colleagues and I have a unique task this year: allocating the federal American
Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. ARPA funding was passed by Congress in March of 2021,
and its purpose is to create programs for businesses, residents and local governments. Nebraska
is projected to receive about $6 billion of ARPA funds. However, many of these additional funds
already flow directly through pre-existing programs or funding mechanisms that would already
dictate the allocation of these funds. The Legislature has been given over $1 billion to designate
for COVID-19 recovery efforts. ARPA funding requests must meet the following criteria in order
to be eligible: Responsive to a Public Health Emergency, Replaces Public Sector Revenue,
Premium Pay for Essential Workers, and/or Infrastructure (including water, sewer and

Time Crunch

Unlike any other session in recent memory, the body is under severe time constraints. Because of
big issues like the budget, the Perkins County Canal proposal, and ARPA funding, we have more
to debate than our 60 legislative days allow. Unfortunately this means that not all priority bills
will have a chance to be heard by the Legislature. Because of that, senators are seeking other
ways to get their bills passed.

My Legislation

This year, I introduced nine bills. Of those, six are “in play;” meaning, they have been, or still
could be, passed into law. Because of the time limits I mentioned above, some of these bills are
attached to other priorities that have a better chance of passing. This is similar to hopping onto a
bus to get to the other end of Dodge Street on time, instead of walking – and that is why we
sometimes call it “hitching a ride.” For example, my LB 928 (Closed Captions for Political Ads)
will (hopefully) “hitch a ride” on LB 843 with AM 2075.

Some of my bills are still traveling the traditional route. LB 1165 (a bonding and levy
clarification) made it on the consent calendar which means it was placed on the schedule early
on. The consent calendar is composed of bills that did not have any opposition in committee
hearings, and advanced out of committee unanimously. LB 1165 has been placed on Select File
(Round two of three).

Other bills of mine that may still be advanced include LB 1080 (making homestead applications
easier for 100% disabled veterans), LB 1171 (bringing Sarpy County in sync with other counties’
jury commissioner process), and LB 1233 (investing in Offutt Air Force Base to grow its
economic impact and support our service members).

Offutt Air Force Base

As it so happens, LB 1233 was included in the budget package that was passed on Final
Reading! Once signed by the Governor, the state will have shown Offutt Air Force Base an
unrivaled and historic commitment to our United States Armed Forces. Thanks to Bellevue,
Sarpy County and all of Nebraska, no state places more value in its military neighbors and
residents as we do.

“As a former Commander of Offutt Air Force Base I know how tough it can be on our Airmen
when living on base and far from home,” says Congressman Don Bacon about this piece of
legislation. “ I greatly appreciate the work of Senator Sanders, the Nebraska Legislature, and
Governor Ricketts to approve funding that will enhance the accommodations and support on
base for our military members and their families.”

LB 1233 creates a public-private partnership, investing $25 million into caring for our service
members and their families. That money is matched, fully, to repair or replace several aging

amenities on base. LB 1233 also creates new projects that vastly increase the base’s visibility and
attractiveness for brand-new missions. More missions equals more people, and more people
equal economic impact. I thank my colleagues for recognizing what we in Bellevue have known
for years: Offutt Air Force Base is a Nebraskan gem that provides immense benefits to not only
the state of Nebraska or the United States… but the entire world.

February 2022 Newsletter
February 28th, 2022

The Nebraska Legislature has officially hit the halfway mark of the 2022 Legislative Session! This month has been a busy time for my office and I; my colleagues and I’s days have been filled with floor debates in the mornings and committee hearings in the afternoons.

We are completing our last round of committee hearings before beginning all-day debate on March 8th. My time in the Education Committee and the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee has been time well spent as I have learned a lot about the needs, wants, and policies within the retrospective committees. I am particularly excited to begin all-day floor debates as it allows me to support and learn more about other areas, such as tax reform, agriculture, etc.

To Recap
I have 9 bills that have had hearings and have either advanced out of their retrospective committee, or are waiting to be voted out of committee. Here is a look at some of the notable pieces of legislation I have introduced:

– LB 928 requires closed captioning or transcripts of certain campaign advertisements. This bill is designed to make political advertisements more accessible and transparent, especially to those who may be deaf or hard of hearing.
– LB 1080 supports 100% disabled Veterans by reducing burdensome application requirements when applying for a homestead exemption.
– LB 1158 modernizes our academic transparency policy AND makes learning materials more accessible to parents and guardians.

You can see the full list of bills I have introduced, as well as details on each proposal here.

I have designated LB 1158 as my priority bill for the 2022 Legislative Session. LB 1158 updates a 30-year-old statute regarding parental involvement and academic transparency. This bill is meant to address and recognize the role that technology plays in our classrooms. In essence, LB 1158 asks districts to address digital materials, and other materials, in their policies. This bill also mandates that any public hearing must include an opportunity for public comment.

Another significant priority of mine is LB 1233. As you know, Offutt Air Force Base is one of Nebraska’s crowning jewels. Yes, it provides an economic impact of $2.9 billion annually, but it’s more than just that: the service members and their families enrich our community with their time and talent. This is why it’s important to grow Offutt whenever we can. Some rough estimates of Offutt Air Force Base’s potential economic impact suggest numbers above $6 billion, which helps put that potential into perspective.

Last year, the Appropriations Committee (led by Senator Stinner) set aside $50 million to help construct a Space Command headquarters if Offutt Air Force Base was chosen for the location. Unfortunately, we were not chosen – but, the favorable financial situation for Nebraska this year gives us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to keep the state’s commitment to the community. My bill, along with Senator McDonnell’s LB 1232, repurposes that $50 million so that it still helps grow the Offutt community. Here’s the key part: every state dollar is matched at 100% or more, and the economic impact of Offutt will climb to possibilities we haven’t even imagined before.

Newsletter 1/28/2022
January 28th, 2022

Happy New Year! This month has been an exciting, eventful and valuable time for my office as we start the 2022 Legislative Session. I would like to express that it is an honor to represent District 45 here in Lincoln. I will be sure to keep you informed on current legislation, news, and events happening here at the State Capitol. 


The Legislative Process

The Nebraska Legislature has two regular sessions in every biennium. As we have the same membership in our body as we did during last session, we call this the Second Session of the 107th Legislature.


The process remains the same – bills must still be introduced and heard at a public committee hearing before potentially advancing to the entire Legislature for debate on General File, Select File, and Final Reading. If passed on Final Reading, the bill must be signed by the Governor, OR, the body must override the Governor’s veto, for a bill to become law.


This year brings a unique challenge that the Legislature has never faced: how to spend over 1 billion dollars from the federal government – also referred to as ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds. The Appropriations Committee sat through a hearing for eight hours listening to billions of dollars of proposals for the funds.


Senator Sanders’ Introduced Legislation

This year, I have introduced 9 legislative bills, 2 more bills than last year! To view the full list of the legislation introduced, you can find it here. However, I would like to highlight a few of the bills I am introducing in this newsletter! These specific bills have been introduced for the floor and are awaiting hearing dates, but when those hearing dates are scheduled, I will be sure to inform you. 


  • LB 928 requires closed captioning or transcripts of certain campaign advertisements. This bill is designed to make political advertisements more accessible and transparent, especially to those who may be deaf or hard of hearing.
  • LB 1080 supports 100% disabled Veterans by reducing burdensome application requirements when applying for a homestead exemption. 
  • LB 1158 modernizes our academic transparency policy AND makes learning materials more accessible to parents and guardians. 
  • LB 1170 supports school districts by encouraging cooperation between public schools and patriotic youth organizations to provide character and citizenship development. 
  • LB 1233 gives state support to one of Nebraska’s crowning jewels – Offutt Air Force Base. 

Senator Sanders’ Co-Sponsored Legislation

Senators can support their colleagues’ bills by co-sponsoring them. This means that I support the language, intent and function of that bill. Oftentimes, I like to co-sponsor legislation that I know will directly benefit District 45. 


I am a co-sponsor to bills that will benefit District 45 and the entire state of Nebraska. I am co-sponsoring more visible bills that tend to catch more news headlines, these are examples of the more functional and less-reported-on bills that the Legislature discusses every year that makes our state better.  With this being said, I would like to highlight some of my colleagues’ legislation that I am proudly co-sponsoring:


  • LB 1232: Appropriate funds from the Cash Reserve Fund to the Department of Economic Development for a capital construction grant for the United States Strategic Command Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications public-private partnership facility (Senator McDonnell) 
  • LB 1246: Require confidentiality for victims of sexual assault and sex trafficking in criminal proceedings prior to the filing of charges (Senator Pansing Brooks)
  • LB 1037: Require the Department of Administrative Services to contract for an evaluation of the state’s procurement practices (Senator Arch)


Thank you for taking the time to follow my work in your Legislature! If you would like to contact my office, please email us at or call us at (402) 471-2615.


Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay interested in your government!

Sen. Rita Sanders

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