NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

The official site of the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature

Joni Albrecht

Sen. Joni Albrecht

District 17

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 jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov

Welcome
January 6th, 2021

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 17th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sincerely,
Sen. Joni Albrecht

Weekly UPDATE July 16, 2021
July 16th, 2021

107TH LEGISLATURE INTERIM 

It is my hope that as your summer progresses, you have the chance to take vacations and see the people and places that refresh you. I have truly enjoyed the extra time I have had with Mike and our children and grandchildren. The kids and the crops are growing and life continues to be so good in Nebraska!

Tri-state Governor’s Conference

Since the inaugural conference in 1988, the Governors of Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota have met almost every other year to exchange ideas on topics of regional importance. I had the privilege of joining Governor Pete Ricketts, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem at the Tri-state Governor’s Conference this week where they interacted with several key issues, including the challenges Siouxland businesses currently face while trying to fill job openings, affordable workplace housing, medical malpractice and telehealth and the KC-135R Aircrew Training System placement in Sioux City. 

I appreciated Governor Rickett’s update about how Nebraska compares to other states across the country in regard to Covid responses, low unemployment and successes in the Legislative Session this year where spending was controlled, tax relief, military and social security tax exempted, and broadband significantly expanded in Nebraska. It was very encouraging to hear from all three Governors and I greatly appreciate the strategic leadership of each one of them.

Ag-Land and School Bonds

This last session, LB 2 was enacted to correct an unfair property tax burden on ag-land owners. Over the last 25 years ag-land valuations have skyrocketed. In rural Nebraska, residential and commercial property has increased at a much slower rate, or in some instances stagnated or even decreased. LB 2 addresses this inequity in school bond elections; it attempts to bring back a fair proportionality of who pays when new school buildings are erected.

 Adding to the injustice, while small town populations may have declined, farmer numbers have declined even faster. Farmers today are more productive, and in order to be profitable larger farms are a necessity and thus fewer workers are needed. Ag-land owners in most school districts have very little voter representation and are simply out voted when it comes to bond elections. If you have your home in a rural school district, you may have noticed over time that what you pay in school taxes have actually declined–if so, you can thank a farmer, because due to rising farmland valuations the cost of operating your school and paying off existing bonds has shifted to them.

To address the problem, LB 2 lowers the unadjusted valuation of ag-land from 75% to 50% for school bond levies only. Residential and commercial values remain the same at 100%. The effective start date of the legislation is January I, 2022. Ag-land will still be valued at 75% for all present schools bonds or any new projects approved before that date.

 In government sometimes when you fix a problem, another is broadened. LB 523 is a sister bill to LB 2 that is still on General file, and it needs to be enacted to plug a loophole in present law. Because ag-land valuations have skyrocketed, many school districts can fund their operations with a levy well under the 1.05 limit. Districts have the ability to levy up to 14 cents for a building fund if their total levy stays under the lid. As long as a school district doesn’t use bonds to pay for a building project the school board–using the building fund–can on its own approve it without a vote of the people. Since LB 2’s 50% ag-land valuation only applies to bond funding, more school districts will be tempted to build schools with general funds where farmland remains at 75% of appraisal. Nebraskans historically have expected to vote on major school construction projects, LB 523 would force all school boards to honor those expectations.

NDE Health Standards

The first draft of the Health Education Standards are available for review at: https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

You can submit a formal comment by emailing nde.standardsinput@nebraska.gov.

The NDE has communicated that the next draft will be available for review by August 1. It is vital that we all stay engaged in the process to ensure that our local voice is heard so that our children’s education is representative of the desires of our District.

The August 2021 meeting of the State Board of Education will be held at the Nebraska Innovation Campus, 2021 Transformation Drive, Lincoln, NE 68508.  The agenda for the August meeting will be posted on or about July 29, 2021; check back to this site at that time for additional meeting details. Access to the meeting will be made available to members of the public and members of the media at the meeting site and by live internet broadcast via the Nebraska Department of Education’s YouTube channel. The meeting will be recorded and available after the meeting on the NDE YouTube channel.

Link to Live Internet Broadcast:  https://www.education.ne.gov/live/

In the meantime, contact your state and local school board members and representatives and ask them to sign on the Resolution rejecting the first draft of the proposed Health Education Standards.

I always appreciate hearing from you, the Constituents of District 17. Your input helps me know how to effectively serve you in the Legislature. If you have any comments or concerns, please contact me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

107TH LEGISLATURE INTERIM 

Happy 245th Birthday America! I stand eternally grateful to have been born and raised in the most amazing place on earth! We appreciate the military who allow us to be the home of the free and the land of the brave. 

This week I joined forces with 29 other State Senators to take a public stand in opposition to the Nebraska Department of Education’s new Health Education Standards. Thursday morning, July 1, the following press release was sent out to media outlets across the state.

Thirty Nebraska State Senators stand together in support of Resolution for school boards across the state to oppose Nebraska Department of Education’s new Health Standards.

Nebraskans have spoken loud and clear—they do not want their children subjected to the Health Education Standards proposed by the Nebraska Department of Education. To our disappointment, despite three months of feedback from parents, the NDE has not been responsive to their objections and concerns.

But Nebraskans can always count on parents and local school boards to take action. The Nebraska State Senators listed below respect parents as the first educators of their children. We therefore call on local school boards in our State to adopt Resolutions to reject the proposed NDE Health Education Standards and retain local control over the content of their health curriculums.

The group includes Senator Julia Slama (LD 1), Senator Robert Clements (LD 2), Senator Robert Hilkemann (LD 4), Senator Mike McDonnell (LD 5), Senator John Arch (LD 14), Senator Ben Hansen (LD 16), Senator Joni Albrecht (LB 17), Senator Brett Lindstrom (LD 18), Senator Mike Flood (LD 19), Speaker Mike Hilgers (LD 21), Senator Mike Moser (LD 22), Senator Bruce Bostelman (LD 23), Senator Suzanne Geist (LD 25), Senator Myron Dorn (LD 30), Senator Rich Pahls (LD 31), Senator Tom Brandt (LD 32), Senator Steve Halloran (LD 33), Senator Curt Friesen (LD 34), Senator Ray Aguilar (LD 35), Senator John Lowe (LD 37), Senator Dave Murman (LD 38), Senator Lou Ann Linehan (LD 39), Senator Tim Gragert (LD 40), Senator Tom Briese (LD 41), Senator Mike Groene (LD 42), Senator Tom Brewer (LD 43), Senator Dan Hughes (LD 44), Senator Rita Sanders (LD 45), Senator Steve Erdman (LD 47), and Senator John Stinner (LD 48).

A RESOLUTION FROM LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS

The following is the Resolution many local school boards across the state are signing and sending to the State Board of Education letting them know that Nebraskan’s want to decide when their children learn the delicate topics of life. The local public schools of Nebraska have been a safe, wholesome environment for decades, and we want to keep it that way.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF SCHOOL DISTRICT NO.__________ IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA AS FOLLOWS:

 Section 1. The Board of Education (the “Board”) hereby makes the following findings and determinations:

 (a) Parents and guardians are the primary educators of their own children, especially in matters of faith and morals, including sex education; and

 (b) The school district is to support and assist the education of children, not to replace the parent or guardian; and

 (c) The Nebraska Department of Education has proposed Health Education Standards which could infringe on parent’s and guardian’s role as primary educators of their own children; and

 (d) Parents and guardians in this district have voiced their concerns over some of the proposed

Standards, making it clear that they do not intend to relinquish their role as primary educators of their own children; and

 (e) Parents and guardians who support some or all of the proposed Health Education Standards have every right and every opportunity to avail themselves of any and all educational material necessary to educate their own children in a manner consistent with the proposed Health Education Standards from the Nebraska Department of Education, and their right and ability to do so is not adversely affected by this District’s decision to decline the adoption of the proposed Health Education Standards.

 Section 2. The Board hereby directs and determines that the District will not adopt or utilize the Health Education Standards proposed by the Nebraska Department of Education. The District will make its own determinations regarding the content of its health education curriculum.

 Section 3. At such time as the Nebraska Department of Education removes all content which promotes ideological positions on human sexuality, the District will consider the adoption of new Health Education Standards.

  RESOLVED on this _____ day of ________________, 2021

Again, I strongly encourage all Nebraskan’s to read the Standards and inform themselves about content that is being considered. Take some time to review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think. A draft of the Health Education Standards are available for review at: https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

You can submit a formal comment by emailing nde.standardsinput@nebraska.gov.

The most important step you can take moving forward is to contact your state and local school board members and representatives and ask them to sign on the Resolution rejecting the first draft of the proposed Health Education Standards.

AN END TO COVID-19 

This week, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the State of Emergency implemented in March of 2020 would end on June 30, 2021, removing the last official pandemic measure issued by the State of Nebraska. Isn’t it wonderful to be on the other side of this unprecedented event. We will never forget how we made it through together!

As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

Weekly UPDATE June 25, 2021
June 25th, 2021

107TH LEGISLATURE INTERIM 

It’s hard to believe that we are nearly halfway through the summer already. One of my favorite seasons is upon us with the celebration of America’s birth and Independence Day! It is always so fun to live in a place like rural Nebraska to experience our local parades and celebrations. I hope to see you there!

STOP 30 X 30

I was honored to attend Governor Pete Ricketts signing ceremony for an executive order aimed at pushing back on President Biden’s 30 x 30 plan.  30 x 30 is a goal set by President Joe Biden to permanently protect or conserve in its natural state 30 percent of the nation’s land and waters by 2030.

I thought it would be beneficial to highlight this Session by Committee. This week we will take a look at the significant bills that came out of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee in 2021.

FIREARMS

LB236, introduced by Senator Brewer of Gordon, updated several concealed carry provisions and the state’s Uniform Controlled Substances Act. As introduced, the bill would have allowed certain Nebraska counties to allow residents to carry a concealed weapon without a state-issued permit. Amendments removed those provisions and added provisions of:

  • LB85, introduced by Brainard Senator Bostelman, which requires the Nebraska State Patrol to notify the holder of a concealed carry permit four months prior to the permit’s expiration;
  • LB173, introduced by Blair Senator Ben Hansen, which exempts from concealed carry prohibitions the transportation of a firearm in a vehicle for lawful purposes or carrying a concealed weapon directly to or from a vehicle if the firearm is unloaded, stored in a case and kept separate from ammunition;
  • LB244, introduced by Elmwood Senator Clements, which allows a 30-day grace period to renew a concealed carry permit; and
  • LB301, also introduced by Hansen, which removes CBD contained in a product approved by the FDA from the definition of hashish or concentrated cannabis and updates Nebraska drug schedules and penalties to conform to federal law.

GOVERNANCE

Local political subdivisions have greater flexibility to meet virtually under LB83, introduced by Norfolk Senator Flood. The bill allows authorized political subdivisions to hold meetings virtually during a declared emergency. The bill defines virtual conferencing as a meeting conducted electronically or by phone.

Under LB83, political subdivisions subject to the state’s Open Meetings Act and currently allowed to conduct one half of their annual meetings by video conferencing and teleconferencing can hold virtual meetings and discuss regular business during a governor-declared emergency.

Current requirements regarding advanced public notice and at least one physical site available for public participation still will apply. An official participating in such a virtual meeting may do so from any location.

The bill also reaffirms the validity of any actions taken by a public body between March 17, 2020, and April 30, 2021, in reliance on an executive order from the governor that waived open meeting requirements during the pandemic.

Government entities that fail to file required reports with the state auditor of public accounts may be fined $20 a day — up to $2,000 total per filing — under LB368, introduced by Senator Sanders of Bellevue.

ARMED FORCES

More Nebraska service members are eligible to receive a military grave marker under LB261, introduced by Elkhorn Senator Linehan. A Nebraska National Guard member who served on or after July 1, 1973, or served in active duty federal service is eligible.

The bill, which passed 41-0, also removes a requirement that a member of the armed forces have served during wartime to receive a marker. Markers will be available to all members of the armed forces in active duty or the U.S. Reserve Forces.

PROPOSED HEALTH STANDARDS

I strongly encourage all Nebraskan’s to read the Standards and inform themselves about content that is being considered. I plan to spend the summer traveling to Legislative Districts across Nebraska, to hear concerns firsthand, so legislation can be enacted next Session to address these issues. Take some time to review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think. A draft of the Health Education Standards are available for review at: https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

You can submit a formal comment by emailing nde.standardsinput@nebraska.gov.

The most important step you can take moving forward is to contact your state and local school board members and representatives and share your personal perspective.

DISTRICT 17 COVID-19 

The number of positive tests reported for the periods June 17, 2021 to June 24, 2021 in District 17 are as follow: 

Dakota County +9 (4144)

Thurston County: +1 (1190)

Wayne County: +0 (1162)

As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

Weekly UPDATE June 18, 2021
June 17th, 2021

107TH LEGISLATURE INTERIM 

In a world where things seem to be changing in many ways, I am finding myself thoroughly enjoying being back in the comforts of rural life, basking in the peacefulness and beauty as far as my eyes can see. It makes me realize how much I have to be thankful for, as a Nebraskan and an American.

I am going to continue a review of some of the bills Governor Ricketts has signed into law this Session that I have not covered with you before.

Joint Hearing for Property Tax Request Increases

Under LB644, introduced by Sen. Ben Hansen of Blair, counties, cities, school districts and community colleges must participate in a joint public hearing and pass a resolution or ordinance before increasing their property tax request by more than an allowable growth percentage. The bill requires counties to notify affected taxpayers of the hearing by postcard, the cost of which will be shared by the political subdivisions seeking to increase their property tax request.

The hearing, which must be held on or after Sept. 17 and before Sept. 29, must be open to public testimony. Its agenda may include only the proposed property tax request increase. LB644 also includes provisions of LB189, introduced by Hastings Sen. Steve Halloran, that require a political subdivision’s governing body to make provisions in its next budget to pay a refund of real or personal property taxes. The measure also repeals a provision allowing political subdivisions up to five years to pay the refund. Under the bill, interest on refunds accrues at a rate of 9 percent on the unpaid balance beginning 30 days after the date when the county assessor certifies the amount of the refund based upon the final non-appealable order or other action approving the refund.

Inland Port Authorities

LB156, introduced by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, allows up to five inland port authorities to be established in Nebraska. An inland port authority may be established in a metropolitan, primary or first class city or a county with a population greater than 20,000. A qualifying city and one or more counties that contain a qualifying city — or in which the extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction of such city is located – may form a joint inland port authority.

To be eligible, an inland port site must be at least 300 acres in area and meet two of the following criteria of being within:

  • one mile of a navigable river or waterway;
  • one mile of a major rail line;
  • two miles of a major airport; or
  • two miles of any federal interstate or any four-lane divided highway.

An inland port authority is authorized to engage in marketing activities, issue and sell revenue bonds and acquire rights-of-way and property. All authorities established under the bill will be administered by an appointed governing board. The bill prohibits inland port authorities from levying sales taxes and states legislative intent to transfer $5 million in general funds for the next two fiscal years to the Site and Building Development Fund to be earmarked for large, shovel-ready inland port authority projects.

Legal Framework for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration

Under LB650, sponsored by Norfolk Sen. Michael Flood, the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will regulate facilities that inject carbon dioxide through wells into underground geologic formations for permanent or short-term storage. LB650 allows geologic storage only if a storage operator obtains a permit from both the Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Underground Injection Control program. Before the Commission issues a permit, it must hold a public hearing and consult with the state Department of Environment and Energy and the federal permitting authority. The Commission must find that the proposed storage facility would not endanger surface waters or underground drinking water sources and that the storage operator will establish a testing and monitoring plan to assess the location and migration of injected carbon dioxide. LB650 requires storage operators to pay the Commission two fees on each ton of carbon dioxide injected for storage, one to defray administrative expenses and another to defray expenses incurred in the long-term monitoring and management of a closed storage facility.

Statewide School Safety Reporting System 

LB322, sponsored by Gothenburg Sen. Matt Williams, requires the state Department of Education to establish a statewide, anonymous reporting system to support threat assessment teams with the goal of reducing violent incidents. The reporting system- the Safe2HelpNE report line — allows students, school staff, parents and community members to report information about concerning behavior or possible harm to people or property anonymously and free of charge by telephone, mobile app, website or email. The report line will be available to any public or nonpublic school that has a threat assessment team and maintains a current list of contact information for at least five team members designated to receive alerts from report line staff 24/7.

Report line staff immediately will alert the appropriate threat assessment team of any concern directly regarding a student, school staff member or school property or that is likely to impact a student, school staff member or school property. The bill requires parental notification within a reasonable period if a report regarding a student is deemed credible, unless such notification reasonably could be believed to contribute to the endangerment of the student or others. Any information or material in the possession of the threat assessment team will remain separate from educational records. 

Proposed Health Standards

I strongly encourage all Nebraskan’s to read the Standards and inform themselves about content that is being considered. I plan to spend the summer traveling to Legislative Districts across Nebraska, to hear concerns firsthand, so legislation can be enacted next Session to address these issues. Take some time to review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think. A draft of the Health Education Standards are available for review at: https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

You can submit a formal comment by emailing nde.standardsinput@nebraska.gov.

The most important step you can take moving forward is to contact your state and local school board members and representatives and share your personal perspective.

DISTRICT 17 COVID-19 

The number of positive tests reported for the periods June 10, 2021 to June 17, 2021 in District 17 are as follow: 

Dakota County +9 (4144)

Thurston County: +1 (1189)

Wayne County: +0 (1162)

As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

Weekly UPDATE June 11, 2021
June 11th, 2021

107TH LEGISLATURE INTERIM 

It has been so good to be back in the District and to able to catch up with so many of you.  In addition to working in the garden, Mike and I look forward to hosting family who will be traveling in from around the country.  The sweetest of times are when we have the delight of spending time with our grandchildren. 

On Tuesday this week I had the pleasure of attending the Wayne Area Right to Life gathering. Sandy Danek, President of Nebraska Right to Life also joined me and shared a pro-life update of where things are at on the Federal level. They asked me to give a review of new legislation in Nebraska and an update on the Nebraska Department of Education Health Standards. 

Before we step away from the First Session of this Legislative Term, I thought it would be beneficial to review some of the bills Governor Ricketts has signed into law that we have not covered before.

Highway Reporting Requirement 

LB579, introduced by Columbus Sen. Mike Moser, requires the state Department of Transportation to include in its annual report to the Legislature information detailing the amount of money spent to date on the state’s expressway system, the number of miles yet to be completed and expected milestone dates. The report also must include a statement of all state highway projects under construction and the estimated cost of each project.

Tax Incentive Program 

LB18, sponsored by Seward Sen. Mark Kolterman makes three changes to the ImagiNE Nebraska Act, a business tax incentive program that replaced the Nebraska Advantage Act. Currently, the act requires that all qualifying new full-time jobs be filled by individuals who reside in Nebraska. The bill removes this provision and instead requires that an individual in a qualifying job be employed in the state and be subject to Nebraska income tax on compensation received.

Microenterprise Tax Credit 

Under the Nebraska Advantage Microenterprise Tax Credit Act, a business with five or fewer full-time employees can apply to receive a refundable tax credit designed to help decrease the cost of startup and expansion. The program, which offers a tax credit to approved microbusiness taxpayers for new investment or employment equal to 20 percent of the investment amount- up to a maximum of $20,000 – is set to expire in 2032. Total credits approved under the program are limited to $2 million annually. LB366, introduced by Albion Sen.Tom Briese, also strengthens reporting requirements and allows certain family members of a person who has received the maximum credit also to participate in the program – as long as ownership is not shared and the businesses are completely separate.

Residential Water Tax Eliminated

LB26, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, exempts the gross receipts received from the sale, lease or rental of and storage, use or consumption of residential water services.

Tax incentives for nuclear energy firms

Under LB84, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Bostelman of Brainard, a renewable energy firm that uses nuclear energy to produce electricity will qualify for incentives under the ImagiNE Nebraska Act.

Special Committee on Flood Control, Water Resources Created

LB406, sponsored by Omaha Sen. Mike McDonnell, creates a special committee, consisting of at least seven members of the Legislature, that will study the need to protect public and private property, enhance economic development and promote private investment along the Platte River and its tributaries from Columbus to Plattsmouth.

The committee will conduct similar studies on the Lake McConaughy region and the region in Knox County that includes Lewis and Clark Lake and Niobrara State Park. 

The committee may hold hearings and request reports from federal, state, county, city and village agencies and natural resources districts on matters pertaining to the studies. It also may hold closed sessions to receive confidential information with a majority vote of committee members. With the Executive Board’s approval- the committee may enter into contracts for consulting, engineering and development studies. The committee will complete each study no later than Dec. 31, 2022, and will terminate on that date.

Statewide Farm-to-School Program

LB396, introduced by Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth, requires the state Department of Education to hire a coordinator to administer the program, which also may provide students with hands-on learning activities, such as farm visits, cooking demonstrations and school gardening and composting programs. The coordinator will partner with public agencies and nonprofits on a public engagement campaign and build a communication network that links farmers and schools. They also will encourage schools to develop and improve their nutrition plans using locally grown or processed food and provide technical assistance to school food services staff, farmers, processors and distributors regarding the demand for and availability of Nebraska food products.

Livestock Brand Act Changes

The Nebraska Brand Committee may use electronic devices, nose prints, retinal scans or DNA matches to identify. LB572, introduced by Hastings Sen. Steve Halloran, allows the committee to provide for electronic inspection of enrolled cattle identified by certain approved nonvisual identifiers. The committee will establish procedures for cattle enrollment that include providing acceptable certification or evidence of ownership and submit a report to the Legislature describing actions taken to implement electronic inspection. 

The bill creates an electronic inspection fee of no more than 85 cents per head and lowers the physical brand inspection fee to the same amount. The new fee schedule takes effect Oct. 1, 2021, and ends June 30, 2023. LB572 also increases fees for new brand applications and brand renewals and authorizes the committee to charge for actual mileage incurred by an inspector to perform a physical inspection.

Additionally, the bill requires the committee to provide a certified bill of sale and a certified transportation permit to qualified dairies that sell or move calves under 30 days of age out of the brand inspection area. Dairies first must provide required information electronically to the committee. LB572 also makes violations of several Livestock Brand Act provisions infractions enforceable by citation. The bill makes it a Class III felony to willfully or knowingly apply, remove, damage or alter an approved nonvisual identifier — or corrupt the information recorded on an identifier — if it is done to steal or falsely assert ownership of livestock.

Proposed Health Standards

I strongly encourage all Nebraskan’s to read the Standards and inform themselves about content that is being considered. I plan to spend the summer traveling to Legislative Districts across Nebraska, to hear concerns firsthand, so legislation can be enacted next Session to address these issues. Take some time to review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think. A draft of the Health Education Standards are available for review at: https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

You can submit a formal comment by emailing nde.standardsinput@nebraska.gov.

The most important step you can take moving forward is to contact your state and local school board members and representatives and share your personal perspective.

 

DISTRICT 17 COVID-19 

The number of positive tests reported for the periods June3, 2021 to June 10, 2021 in District 17 are as follow: 

Dakota County +7 (4140)

Thurston County: +1 (1189)

Wayne County: +0 (1162)

As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

107TH LEGISLATURE INTERIM 

I hope your summer is off to a good start and you are enjoying the great sunshine. This week I’ve caught up on my mowing and had a houseful of grandkids! Life is good! 

In addition to taking calls about valuations this week, my office has heard from many people who are concerned about the new Health Standards being proposed by the State Board of Education. I am making it my quest this summer to travel the State to get answers. I want to listen to the Second House- the people of Nebraska.

To get you up to date, I decided to pull Legislative Resolution 228 and am holding LB 281 “Erin’s Law” on Select File until the Second Session of the 107th Legislature, due to my concern about the content in the Health Standards proposed by the Nebraska Department of Education. 

LB 281, “Erin’s Law”, would require schools to provide four hours of training to students in K-12, and teacher training and parental advisement as a preventative method for helping reduce incidents of child sexual abuse. Though the bill was my Priority Bill, and I felt confident that I had the votes to move it forward, I decided to leave it sitting in Select File until next Session. 

Erin’s Law addresses a very delicate topic, and needs to be handled with great care. I am concerned that if I move forward with the bill at this time, it could become part of the larger agenda put forth by the Department of Education. I plan to wait until I feel confident that LB 281 won’t be convoluted with the Health Standards in any way. LB 281 is currently in 37 other states, and there are amazing, appropriate curriculums that are being taught without us having to worry about our children learning topics and materials we don’t want them to be exposed to.

This March, approximately two weeks after I presented my bill to the Education Committee, the Nebraska Department of Education released the first ever draft of Health Education Standards. The Standards contain explicite material about human development and sex education, and have been the focus of significant unrest in parents and citizens across Nebraska since its release. 

My office orchestrated a letter from myself and 28 other Senators to the State Board of Education and Commissioner Blomstedt expressing our deep concern about the sex education content included in the material. The Nebraska Legislature has repeatedly rejected efforts to mandate so-called comprehensive sex education curriculum. Yet, the proposed Standards are a back door attempt to propose what the people of this State have rejected. And that in doing so, the proposed Standards violate the right of parents as the first educators of their child (especially in matters of human sexuality).

There are many Legislative Resolutions going on in the Legislature this summer. But in order to control the narrative and outcome of a study like LR 228 would have been, 

I will be working with my 28 colleagues to hold town hall meetings in Districts around the State to listen to the hearts of the people and communicate back to the State Board about what we are hearing. Together we will research student protection, the new Health Standards, internet uses and content both taught and available to students in Nebraska’s schools. 

Friday morning my staff and I attended the State Board of Education meeting in Kearney. Approximately 500 people were gathered to show their concern. The Board limited the testifiers to 75 people, but let me tell you, they were sharp, articulate, powerful 2 minute testimonies by people of all ages and walks of life. 

It is important for us to keep in mind that the State Board of Education is an elected, constitutional body. We vote them into office. The purpose of the Board is to set policy and ensure that the State Department of Education functions effectively within the framework developed by the State Legislature and the Board. By law, the Board and the Department have broad leadership functions to carry out certain regulatory and service activities. That being said, the level of power and influence awarded these members, selected by us and Nebraska citizens, is significant, and needs to be held in check. Though the local Districts ultimately decide what is taught in each school, the unspoken pressure to comply with the State Department of Education leadership is real and needs to be looked at. What our kids learn in school is essentially determined by this Board. Their choices this year to publish a draft of Health Standards is concerning to tens of thousands of parents and grandparents in the State. 

To review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think. Information about submitting public comments as the next Board meeting as well as a draft of the proposed Health Education Standards are available at:

https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

The Board will meet next on August 6. I believe it is a vital time for all Nebraskans to stay informed and engaged in making our voices heard for the sake of our children. If you want to get involved, written Public Comment will open on July 29.  People who wish to address the Board in person at the meeting should plan to arrive and sign-in with official NDE representatives before 9:00 am.I also suggest that you contact your local school board members and suggest that they too read the Heath Standards and send letters if they are concerned. 

The members of the State Board of Education can be contacted at the email address below. I would suggest you copy all members on your communication.

Patricia Koch Johns patsy.kochjohns@nebraska.gov

Lisa Fricke- lisa.fricke@nebraska.gov

Patti Grubbels- patti.gubbels@nebraska.gov

Jacquelyn Morrison- jacquelyn.r.morrison@nebraska.gov

Patricia Timm- patricia.timm@nebraska.gov

Maureen Nickels- maureen.nickels@nebraska.gov

Robin Stevens- robin.stevens@nebraska.gov

Deborah Neary- deborah.neary@nebraska.gov

Commissioner Matthew Blomstedt- matt.blomstedt@nebraska.gov

DISTRICT 17 COVID-19 

The number of positive tests reported for the periods May 29, 2021 to June 4, 2021 in District 17 are as follow: 

Dakota County +3 (4136)

Thurston County: +0 (1188)

Wayne County: +0 (1162)

 

As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

107TH LEGISLATURE, 1ST SESSION – DAY 82

On Thursday, Governor Pete Ricketts highlighted the historic results of the First Session of the 107th Legislature in his annual “Sine Die” address to the Unicameral on the final day of its 2021 regular session.  The budget passed by Senators provides combined tax relief of over $1.8 billion to Nebraskans over the next two years.  That’s the greatest amount of tax relief any Legislature has delivered in at least a quarter-century—and likely the largest amount in the history of the State of Nebraska.  This represents an average of 18.5% of the State’s budget over the next two years. During the address, the Governor thanked the Senators for making historic progress on the key priorities he set in January, including property tax relief, veterans tax relief, and broadband infrastructure.  He also thanked Legislators for their work to assist state agencies as they responded to the coronavirus pandemic.   Gov. Ricketts praised the Unicameral for controlling spending in the State’s next two-year budget.  Additionally, he applauded Senators for taking action to pass legislation based on lessons learned from the pandemic, such as providing expedited reciprocity for many licensed healthcare professions. 

I am proud of the progress made in Session one of the 107th Legislature. Great things happened this year, and I look forward to seeing many more advances in the next Session. In the meantime, I am looking very forward to being back home and spending time with my family and the great people of District 17!

BROADBAND EXPANSION BILL SIGNED

This week Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB 388 into law during a ceremony at the State Capitol.  The bill provides $20 million in matching grants annually to expand access to high-speed broadband across Nebraska.  LB 388 was introduced by Senator Friesen at the request of Gov. Ricketts and prioritized by Speaker Mike Hilgers of Lincoln. LB 388 will bring fast, reliable broadband connectivity to an expected 30,000 households.  Broadband networks funded by LB 388 will be built to upload and download speeds of 100 Mbps, which is much faster than the current minimum standard of 25/3 Mbps set by the Federal Communications Commission. I was honored to serve on both the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee that heard the bill and passed it out onto the Floor. 

RENEWABLE FUELS MONTH

Governor Pete Ricketts has proclaimed May as “Renewable Fuels Month” in Nebraska. Representatives from the Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Renewable Fuels Nebraska, and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture are all significantly invested in seeing renewable energy launched even more significantly in our state. I was honored to help by sponsoring LB595, an ethanol sales and use tax exemption which was signed by the Governor this week. 

NOTICES OF VALUATION CHANGE

The Nebraska Department of Revenue, Property Assessment Division, reminds property owners that real property Notices of Valuation Change will be sent by county assessors on or before June 1, 2021. If there was an increase or decrease from the 2020 assessed valuation of a real property parcel to the 2021 assessed value, the county assessor is required to send a notice of valuation change to the property owner of record as of May 20, 2021. If a property owner disagrees with the assessed value, whether or not a notice of valuation change has been received, a protest may be filed with the county board of equalization. The valuation protest may be filed in person or by mail with the county clerk in the county where the property is located, on or before June 30, 2021. Requirements for filing a protest are on the Notice of Valuation Change. For more information regarding filing a protest, please contact the county clerk where the property is located. County contact information is available at revenue.nebraska.gov/PAD/county-assessors-and-parcel-search

VETERANS TAX RELIEF BILL

We had a ceremony this week at the Governor’s Residence to sign LB 387, a bill that allows military retirees to exempt 100% of their military retirement pay from Nebraska state income tax. I was honored to join Governor Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director John Hilgert, as well as other veterans groups and Senators.

“STOP 30 x 30” TOWN HALL IN NORFOLK

Recently, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that he will be hosting a series of “Stop 30 x 30” town halls across Nebraska.  30 x 30 is a goal set by President Joe Biden to permanently protect in its natural state 30 percent of the nation’s land and waters by 2030. At the town halls, Gov. Ricketts and others will deliver remarks about the 30 x 30 plan, and how Nebraskans can push back on President Biden’s radical climate agenda.  

More information about Governor Ricketts’ opposition to 30 x 30 can be found at www.Governor.Nebraska.gov. The Stop 30 x 30 Town Hall in Norfolk will be at 1:00-2:00pm,Thursday, June 3, 2021 at the Johnny Carson Theater, 801 Riverside Blvd.

PROPOSED HEALTH STANDARDS

I strongly encourage all Nebraskan’s to read the Standards and inform themselves about content that is being considered. I plan to spend the summer traveling to Legislative Districts across Nebraska, to hear concerns firsthand, so legislation can be enacted next Session to address the issue. Take some time to review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think. A draft Health Education Standards are available for review at:

https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

You can submit a formal comment by emailing nde.standardsinput@nebraska.gov. 

DISTRICT 17 COVID-19 

The number of positive tests reported for the periods May 21, 2021 to May 28, 2021 in District 17 are as follow: 

Dakota County +16 (4108) 4133

Thurston County: +12 (1188)

Wayne County: +2 (1162)

As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

107TH LEGISLATURE, 1ST SESSION – DAY 82

I enjoyed seeing the representatives from the National Guard 

who came by the Capitol this week.

In the past 48 hours we have passed many bills this week for the State of Nebraska, but several that are monumental.LB 387, (Brewer, at the request of the Governor) the 100% un-taxing of military retired pay with a vote of 47-0. LB 64 which will phase out the taxing of Social Security over the next 10 years with a vote of 41-0. LB 388e (Friesen, also at the request of the Governor) Adopt Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act. 

BILLS ON THE WAY TO THE GOVERNOR’S DESK

There are many bills that have advanced to Final Reading this week, but I have picked out a few that I believe are especially relevant to District 17:

LB 432A (Revenue Committee) Adopt the Firefighter Cancer Benefits Act, provide a tax credit for parents of stillborn children and an income tax exemption, change the corporate income tax rate, Adopt the Nebraska Educational Savings Plan Trust

LB 387 (Brewer, at the request of the Governor) Eliminating taxation of military retirement benefits

LB 2 (Briese) Change the valuation of agricultural land and horticultural land for certain school district taxes 

LB 595 (Albrecht) Provide and change sales and use tax exemptions for certain products and agricultural machinery and equipment, exclude certain income from gross receipts, and change funding for and require reports regarding the Game and Parks Commission Capital Maintenance Fund 

LB 561e (Briese) Rename and change powers and duties of the State Racing Commission and provide regulation and enforcement regarding sports wagering and other gambling activities at licensed racetrack enclosures 

LB 572 (Halloran) Change provisions of the Livestock Brand Act

LB 388e (Friesen, at the request of the Governor) Adopt Nebraska Broadband Bridge Act

LB 131e (Hunt) Adopt the Municipal Natural Gas System Emergency Assistance Act and change provisions relating to ordinances, bond elections, municipal boundaries, the Community Development Law, and building and plumbing codes

LB 396 (Brandt) Adopt the Nebraska Farm-to-School Program Act

DISTRICT 17 2ND AMENDMENT SANCTUARY 

The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides that it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms and that such right shall not be infringed. The people of Legislative District 17 are strong supporters of our freedoms and the Second Amendment. Thurston, Wayne and Dakota Counties have all joined 88 of 93 other counties of Nebraska, as well counties in other  states across the country, and passed an ordinance declaring that it is a Second Amendment sanctuary county. The Nebraska Legislature recognized all three counties in District 17 with Legislative Resolutions as Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties and strong supporters of the Second Amendment. A copy of the Resolutions have been sent to the County Board of each county. 

LR FOR DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED

LB376, introduced by Senator Machaela Cavanaugh, failed to advance to Final Reading this week. The bill would have required the State Department of Health and Human Services to apply for a three-year Medicaid waiver to start a family support program for developmental disability services.  As with every bill, I work hard to understand the benefits and sustainability. This bill carried with it too many unanswered questions for me to give it a green vote. LB376 would only temporarily address the current wait list. The general fund impact — estimated at $3.8 million in fiscal year 2021-22. Senator Arch has introduced a Legislative Resolution to study the specific needs of the developmentally disabled in Nebraska and most effective ways to help these children and their families for the long term. I will certainly be signing to the LR and look forward to the discussion. I anticipate that a similar bill will be brought back next year.

USDA EXPANSION FOR RURAL BUSINESSES

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it has implemented a series of actions to make it easier for very small rural businesses to get access to capital. The Department published a final rule outlining changes to the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). The program provides loans and grants to microenterprise development organizations to help them establish revolving loan programs to assist microenterprises, businesses with 10 or fewer full-time employees. It also provides annual funding to development organizations to conduct training and provide technical assistance to microloan borrowers. Program applications are accepted on a continuous basis at any local Rural Development office.

NEBRASKA  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HEALTH STANDARDS

Recently the Nebraska Department of Education released a draft of the Nebraska Health Education Standards. I strongly encourage you to read the standards and inform yourself about new content that is being considered. 

Take some time to review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think. 

A draft Health Education Standards are available for review at:

https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

You can submit a formal comment by emailing nde.standardsinput@nebraska.gov. 

DISTRICT 17 COVID-19 

The number of positive tests reported for the periods May, 13 2021 to May 21, 2021 in District 17 are as follow: 

Dakota County +7 (4117)

Thurston County: +8 (1184)

Wayne County: +2 (1162)

As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

107TH LEGISLATURE, 1ST SESSION – DAY 78

This has been a big week in the Legislature. Several significant bills have been debated on the Floor, including tax exemptions, branding, bitcoin and medical marijuana. I am happy about the result of some, and disappointed in others, but I so appreciate those of you who have taken the time to contact me in the process. It is such a privilege to represent District 17, and I will continue to work hard to stand strong for Nebraska’s families. Two of my bills were advanced this week as part of Revenue Committee Priority Bills. 

ETHANOL TAX EXEMPTION

My bill, LB595, was the lead bill containing several other sales and use tax exemption bills. Adopted 31-0, it would exempt from state sales and use taxes all catalysts, chemicals and materials used in the process of manufacturing ethanol and the production of coproducts such as distillers grains. As amended on General File, LB595 also would exempt from state sales and use taxes the gross income received from the lease or use of towers or other structures primarily used in conjunction with the furnishing of internet access service.

Also included in LB595 was Senator Murman’s LB672, which creates a new definition for agricultural machinery and equipment to clarify the sales tax exemption on such equipment. Agricultural machinery and equipment means tangible personal property that is used directly in: Cultivating or harvesting a crop; Raising or caring for animal life;  Protecting the health and welfare of animal life, including fans, curtains, and climate control equipment within livestock buildings; Collecting or processing an agricultural product on a farm or ranch, regardless of the degree of attachment to any real property.

Agricultural machinery and equipment will include, but is not limited to, header trailers, head haulers, header transports, and seed tender trailers. It excludes any current tractor model not permitted for sale in Nebraska.

STILLBIRTH TAX CREDIT

LB597, also part of a Revenue Priority Bill, advanced to Final Reading this week. It would create a $2,000 refundable state income tax credit for the parent of a stillborn child if a death certificate is filed for the child, the child had advanced to at least the 20th week of gestation and would have been a dependent of the individual claiming the credit.

FROM THE NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE TO PRESIDENT BIDEN

LR 107 was written by Senator Mike Groene and has been co-signed by at least 30 other Senators in the Nebraska State Legislature, including myself. Still in Executive Committee, the LR expresses the intent of this legislature as a body to reaffirm our solemn oath of office, expressing a firm resolution to maintaining and defending the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Nebraska against every act of aggression whether foreign or domestic, including every act of unconstitutional abuse of power arising from the State or Federal Government. LR 107 confronts the Biden Administration about the following concerns:

  • Their expressed intention to restrict our Second Amendment right to keep and to bear arms in unconstitutional ways.
  • their actions which seek to punish traditional religious beliefs about the sanctity of life and sexuality.
  • It expresses distress over proposed federal legislation which is designed to usurp the process of conducting elections, which the U.S. Constitution explicitly left to the discretion of the individual state legislatures in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. Proposed legislation in Washington, D.C. seeks to eviscerate protections such as voter identification, periodic updating of voter files, and restrictions against ballot harvesting.
  • It protests the goal of the executive branch of the federal government to restrict the private use of at least 30 percent of America’s lands and waterways by 2030.
  • it objects to the notion of vaccine passports being imposed on all American citizens.

GUN LAW BRINGS CLARITY

LB236, introduced by Senator Brewer, was advanced to Select File this week. The original version of the bill would have allowed counties to authorize law-abiding Nebraskans to carry a concealed weapon without a state-issued permit. The Attorney General expressed concerns about the constitutionality of this proposal. In response to those concerns, Senator Brewer introduced an amendment to instead incorporate bills introduced by Senators Ben Hansen, Bruce Bostelman, and Robert Clements. 

These provisions would clarify that cased, unloaded firearms are not concealed weapons. This would protect people in a vehicle for lawful purposes and carrying a concealed weapon directly to or from a vehicle if the firearm is unloaded, stored in a case or original factory packaging and kept separate from ammunition. The change would protect an individual who transports a new firearm upon purchase or who travels to the required training to obtain a concealed carry permit. The amendment to LB 236 would also require the Nebraska State Patrol to notify the holder of a concealed carry permit four months prior to the permit’s expiration and to allow a 30-day grace period to renew a concealed carry permit after expiration. This will prevent permit holders from being forced to spend extra time and money on repeating the required permit training.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL FAILS

LB474, introduced by Senator Wishart, would create a framework for legalizing medical cannabis use in Nebraska. To qualify for a medical cannabis registration card under the bill, a person must receive written certification that medical cannabis would improve their condition from a health care practitioner with whom they have an established, bonafide relationship. Registered medical cannabis users could purchase cannabis through regulated in-state dispensaries or home delivery from out-of-state suppliers. Patients would be limited to no more than two and one-half ounces of cannabis — or a greater amount approved by a medical necessity waiver — or cannabis infused products with no more than 2,000 milligrams of THC, from each dispensary. I am very concerned that the amount of cannabis purchased would  not be tracked or followed up on by a doctor. A person could “loop” dispensaries by stopping at each one and purchasing the allowable amount at each stop. Until medical cannabis is regulated on a Federal level, I am not in support of legalizing it in Nebraska.

NEBRASKA  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HEALTH STANDARDS

Recently the Nebraska Department of Education released a draft of the Nebraska Health Education Standards. I strongly encourage you to read the standards and inform yourself about new content that is being considered. 

Take some time to review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think. 

A draft Health Education Standards are available for review at:

https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

You can contribute your feedback at:

https://nde.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8dI1y2pRSfXlG8R

Or members of the public can submit a formal comment by emailing nde.standardsinput@nebraska.gov. 

DISTRICT 17 COVID-19 

The number of positive tests reported for the periods April 30, 2021 to May 7, 2021 in District 17 are as follow: 

Dakota County +18 (4117)

Thurston County: +3 (1176)

Wayne County: +3(1160)

As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

107TH LEGISLATURE, 1ST SESSION – DAY 74

It was a delight to have the Winside 4th and 5th graders visit the Legislature this week!

 

CONGRATULATIONS TO 2021 GRADUATES 

Every year, Beverly Neel, my Administrative Assistant reaches out to all of the schools in District 17 so we can send each Graduating Senior a letter of congratulations. This year 607 students will be graduating. To all Graduates, I wish you the best!

NEBRASKA YOUTH PREFER RURAL COMMUNITIES

In January 2020, Nebraska Community Foundation began working with Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to co-create a survey designed to explore young people’s perceptions and perspectives of their Nebraska hometowns. 

While this survey only represents the views of 1,302 Nebraska high school students, the emerging patterns indicate that our hometowns are uniquely positioned to offer precisely the things that Nebraska high schoolers say they want in the places they

choose to live. 

They value safety. Students expressed an affinity for safe, low-crime, family-oriented places. Contrary to popular perceptions of youth, the students indicated a preference for safety and security over entertainment. They are community-oriented. Many students boast a resume filled with school sports, extracurricular activities, community volunteerism, and part-time jobs. Nebraska youth are not only highly involved, they also have a desire to be a part of their community. Out of 1302 youth, when asked, besides the people in your household, do you have other family that live in your community, 940 said they do. When asked if they have a job, including, summer jobs, babysitting, mowing lawns, owning your own business etc. 978 said they do. They favor small communities. Nearly half of responding students shared that their community is the perfect size. Nebraska’s hometowns are uniquely positioned to offer young people the safe, secure, family-oriented communities they desire.

REVENUE INCREASE FOR NEBRASKA

The Nebraska State Government will collect an extra $90 million in tax revenue in the current fiscal year that ends June 30 but will face a less rosy outlook over the following two years, based on new state estimates. The Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board last Friday lowered its revenue projections by $5 million over the following two budget years, starting on July 1. The new predictions will give lawmakers about $38 million more than expected in the current legislative session, after adjusting for requirements of state law. The projections will also trigger an automatic boost to a new state property tax credit program. (excerpts from AP article)

A YEAR FOR REDISTRICTING

Every 10 years, all 50 states must redraw the district  boundaries for the US House of Representatives and State Legislatures. In Nebraska, we will also draw new district boundaries for the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, the Public Service Commission and the Nebraska Supreme Court. Redistricting is a very difficult process and one that must proceed with substantive guidelines. Because of Covid, Census Data will be delayed until mid August. In order to accommodate the delay, a special session of the Legislature will be held for approximately two weeks in the Fall to complete the process.

STATUS OF BILLS I  INTRODUCED:

LB 111 First Responders In Committee

LB 112 Open Meetings In Committee

LB 113 DMV Modernization Approved by the Governor

LB 149 State Patrol Approved by the Governor

LB 280 Insurance Board In Committee

LB 281 Erin’s Law Select File

LB 282 Repeal Obscenity In Committee

LB 325 Art Therapy General File

LB 523 School Bond Authority General File

LB 595 Ethanol Tax Exemption Select File

LB 596 Ethanol Blend Tax Credit In Committee

LB 597 Stillbirth Tax Credit Select File

OFFENSES USING TECHNOLOGY

I also supported Senator Geist’s LB500, which was approved by the Governor this week. LB500 would allow for a person who uses an electronic device to commit an offense to be tried in the county where the communication was initiated or received. 

VALUATION OF AG LAND REDUCED FOR SCHOOL TAX PURPOSES

I gave a green light to LB 2, introduced by Senator Briese, which would reduce the valuation of agricultural land from 75 percent to 50 percent of actual value for the purpose of educational bonds. The bill has been placed on Final Reading.

CONSUMPTION TAX FAILS

Senator Erdman introduced LR11CA, which would have allowed Nebraska voters to choose to replace property, income, sales, inheritance, corporate and estate taxes with a state consumption tax under a proposed constitutional amendment. Though I am in strong support of a consumption tax, it has failed to advance this year. I will continue to work to reduce the tax burdens Nebraskans face.

FINANCIAL RELIEF CAUSED BY FEB STORM

Several communities in Nebraska, including some in District 17,  were left with severe debt incurred as a result of the extreme weather conditions this February.  For that reason, I stood in support of LB549, introduced by Senator Wayne, which would adopt the Municipal Natural Gas Emergency Assistance Act. Under the Act, municipalities which own or operate a natural gas plant or natural gas system could apply to the State Treasurer for emergency grant funding to cover up to ninety percent of extraordinary costs incurred by the municipality as a result of an extreme weather event. LB 549 provides for a one-time transfer of five million dollars from the General Fund to provide emergency grants under the Act. The Act terminates on June 30, 2023 and contains the emergency clause. LB549 has moved to Select File.

PHASE-OUT OF SOCIAL SECURITY TAX 

I voted in support of LB64,  sponsored by Senator Lindstrom, that would eliminate tax on Social Security income over 10 years.  Nebraska has roughly 320,000 residents that rely on some form of Social Security, either as a retirement, disability or survivor benefit. Nebraska is one of 13 states that tax the benefit, although some low-income residents don’t earn enough to be taxed by the state. LB64 has advanced to Select File.

BEEF MONTH

The Governor had declared May Beef Month in Nebraska. Red meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and various other nutrients that can have profound effects on health. Nebraska’s cattle industry grows the state by generating over $10 billion in cash receipts each year. Nebraska ranks first in the nation for commercial cattle slaughter, second for beef exports, and second for all cattle on feed.  In 2019, beef was Nebraska’s number two agricultural export behind soybeans.  Nebraska has 22 million acres of rangeland and pastureland, about half of which are in the Sandhills.

NEBRASKA  DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HEALTH STANDARDS

Recently the Nebraska Department of Education released a draft of the Nebraska Health Education Standards. I strongly encourage you to read the standards and inform yourself about new content that is being considered. 

Take some time to review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think. 

A draft Health Education Standards are available for review at:

https://www.education.ne.gov/healthed/health-education-standards-development/

You can contribute your feedback at:

https://nde.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8dI1y2pRSfXlG8R

Or members of the public can submit a formal comment by emailing nde.standardsinput@nebraska.gov. 

DISTRICT 17 COVID-19 

The number of positive tests reported for the periods April 30, 2021 to May 7, 2021 in District 17 are as follow: 

Dakota County +18 (4108)

Thurston County: +12 (1173)

Wayne County: +10 (1157)

As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

 

Sen. Joni Albrecht

District 17
Room 1404
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2716
Email: jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov
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