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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
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
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.
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.