NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE

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Rita Sanders

Sen. Rita Sanders

District 45

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

Welcome
January 6th, 2021

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 45th 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. Rita Sanders

Newsletter 3/4/2021
March 4th, 2021

Currently

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

Focus

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

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

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

Bellevue First

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

COVID – 19

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

For more information regarding COVID-19, visit:
https://www.sarpycasshealthdepartment.org/

Thank You for Reading!

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

Stay safe, and stay healthy!

Newsletter 2/12/2021
February 12th, 2021

The Rita Record

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



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

Currently

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

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

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

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

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

Focus

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

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

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

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

Bellevue First

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

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

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

COVID-19

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

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

For more information regarding COVID-19, visit:
https://www.sarpycasshealthdepartment.org/

Thank You for Reading!

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

Stay safe, and stay healthy!

Newsletter 1/29/2021
January 29th, 2021

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

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

Currently

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

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

Focus

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

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

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

Bellevue First

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

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

COVID-19

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

For more information regarding COVID-19:
https://www.sarpycasshealthdepartment.org/

Thank You for Reading!

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

Stay safe, and stay healthy!

Sen. Rita Sanders

District 45
Room 1406
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2615
Email: rsanders@leg.ne.gov
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