Things keep moving as we continue to try to accomplish goals set for the betterment of District 17 and all of Nebraska. This week my Priority Bill LB1186 passed first reading. Together, Senator Hilgers and I expressed the importance of making sure we take care of our teachers.
VISITORS. I was delighted to have family visit the Capitol last week. Scott and Lisa Albrecht from Thurston, Laura Fischer from Scribner, and Andrea Diehm from South Dakota, were welcomed to the chamber by the Speaker, as were their children Isaac, Ben, Evelyn, Keegan, Kylie, and Kessler. Be sure to make the Capitol one of your stops if visiting Lincoln. I would love to see you and introduce you to the Legislature.
NOVEL CORONOVIRUS: By now, we have all heard much about the global spread and local appearance of COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China. As talk of the virus has increased worldwide, so has attention on Nebraska, UNMC/Nebraska Medical Center, and the crucial role our state is playing in effective quarantine and diagnosis and treatment research. Notably, the qualifications for release from UNMC/Nebraska Medical Center are greater than CDC qualifications. The nation’s first clinical trials on coronavirus therapy has begun at UNMC. Updated on the University’s role on the virus can be found at https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID.
The Health Director for Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department (NNPHD) which serves several counties in Northeast Nebraska, including Thurston and Wayne, has kept me updated on status of their commitment to keeping on top of the situation. There are currently weekly phone call updates involving the CDC, NNPHD and other health departments across the state. Health Alerts have been drafted and distributed to the medical community, local government officials, and to schools, daycares, and Wayne State College. Weekly meetings with Pender Community Hospital department heads, and meetings with Wayne State College Student Health Staff and International Student Coordinator have taken place. Links to CDC information are also now included on the NNPHD website.
As for personal action, the most important information we are hearing is that, despite the global and local attention on the virus, individual risk of contracting the virus is low. Everyone reinforces a singular message-prevention is key. Exercise good hygiene practices, stay home from work and activities if you are ill, and self-quarantine if you suspect you have symptoms consistent with those of the virus.
COMING UP IN SIOUXLAND At 11:00 am on April 9, 2020, representatives of the United States Army Corps of Engineers will be at the the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center, 300 Third St. to answer questions from the public. The conversation will likely include the Corps’ action to cut water release in certain areas because of mellting snow downstream.
STILL TALKING PROPERTY TAX RELIEF. I continue to work toward the passage of the property tax relief provided by LB974. There is great resistance from large schools as LB974 seeks to make sure that every property owner gets some relief and that every public school, including those in rural Nebraska, receives funding for every pupil being served by that school.
Under LB974, there is a three tier, three year plan for reducing property taxes on agricultural land, commercial property, and residential property, while at the same time reducing public school reliance on property taxes.
A review of the figures for District 17 schools that was provided by the Fiscal Office and that I included in my February 14 Weekly Update to provide a reality check if we do not pass LB974. If we do nothing, the property tax burden for every Nebraska property owner is not reduced and reliance on property taxes to fund public schools means property taxes will continue to grow with increased spending.
Additionally, District 17 schools stand to leave over $12 million dollars on the table as larger and louder school districts protect their taxing authority. I simply cannot stand by and watch this happen.
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 by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at email@example.com