Senator Albrecht Introduces New Administrative Assistant, Prepares For January Legislative Session

WAYNE – District 17 Senator Joni Albrecht recently welcomed in a new Administrative Assistant to her office and provided information in the role of the State Board of Education.

According to a weekly release from the office of Senator Albrecht, the weather is definitely cooling down and it is feeling more like Fall in Nebraska and she hopes the precipitation is allowing everyone to have a little bit of needed rest in order to get ready for the next leg of bringing in the harvest.

Jacki O’Neill was introduced as the new Administrative Assistant. When you call in and make an appointment or have suggestions, O’Neill will be happy to take down your details and direct you to the proper channels. Although she lives in Lincoln, Jacki has lived in District 17 in the past and continues to have many connections in the area. She has been married to Dan for 44 years and they have five children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Jacki has also been a 41 year member of the Jackson, Nebraska American Legion Auxiliary. You can reach Jacki at 402-471-2716 or joneill@leg.ne.gov.

Also, as Senator Albrecht prepares for the Legislative Session to begin in January, she is looking at a few new bills that are vital to bring forward.

One is in direct response to the controversy around the Health Education Standards draft created by the Nebraska Department of Education this year. Senator Albrecht will be looking at legislation that will go back to the drawing board and clearly define the original role of the State Board of Education regarding Education Standards.

To give you a little history, in 2000 the Nebraska Legislature passed Statute 79-760.01 which requires the Nebraska State Board of Education to adopt measurable academic content standards for at least the grade levels required for statewide assessment. Those standards shall cover the subject areas of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies, and the State Board of Education shall develop a plan to review and update standards for those subject areas every seven years. Though the State Board of Education has created standards in other areas, they were only mandated to create standards for the five core subjects.

The Legislature has also heard many bills in the past regarding additional mandatory standards to be taught to children. In fact, legislation has passed to mandate being able to read by 3rd Grade, Civic Education, Financial Literacy Education and a version of Health Education Standards. The Health Standards in that bill are defined in statute 79-712 Public school; health education; requirements.

Provisions shall be made by the proper local school authorities for instructing the pupils in all public schools in a comprehensive health education program which shall include instruction (1) as to the physiological, psychological, and sociological aspects of drug use, misuse, and abuse and (2) on intellectual disability and other developmental disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, autism, and epilepsy, their causes, and the prevention thereof through proper nutrition and the avoidance of the consumption of drugs as defined in this section.

For purposes of this section, drugs means any and all biologically active substances used in the treatment of illnesses or for recreation or pleasure. Special emphasis shall be placed upon the commonly abused drugs of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, hallucinogenics, amphetamines, barbiturates, and narcotics. And 79-2,146. Suicide awareness and prevention training. (1) Beginning in school year 2015-16, all public school nurses, teachers, counselors, school psychologists, administrators, school social workers, and any other appropriate personnel shall receive at least one hour of suicide awareness and prevention training each year. This training shall be provided within the framework of existing inservice training programs offered by the State Department of Education or as part of required professional development activities.

Comprehensive Sex Education has been introduced in Nebraska several times in the past and has failed to advance every time. When the State Board of Education took liberties beyond current State Statutes and introduced Health Education Standards with extremely controversial content, they stepped outside of their lane.

Senator Albrecht has also received numerous emails every week with personal stories of Nebraskans from all ages, races and socioeconomic realities in the state in relations to vaccines. For some, the threat of a mandatory vaccine has jeopardized their health, their freedom, their place of employment and life as they’ve known it. Senator Albrecht added her signature, with many of her colleagues, requesting a Special Session to take a hard look at how vaccine mandates are impacting the individual lives of Nebraskans.

There is a chance that a special session may not be granted but she is so thankful Nebraska’s Attorney General Peterson also signed on to an Amicus Brief with 19 other Attorney Generals across the country to stand for the individual freedoms of all Americans. Attorney General also jointly led with Missouri’s Attorney General a ten-state coalition in filing a lawsuit against the Biden Administration for imposing a vaccine mandate on federal contractors and employees.

Governor Ricketts also announced that he had signed an executive order barring state agencies from enforcing coronavirus vaccine mandates on state teammates. Senator Albrecht will continue to keep you informed as things progress.

If you have any comments or concerns, contact Senator Albrecht at 402-471-2716 or email jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

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