WAYNE – Senator Albrecht noted that it was good to have her office fully staffed this past Wednesday. Albrecht and her staff met with First Five Nebraska, University of Nebraska, and the Chamber of Commerce. They discussed their focus and ideas looking ahead to the remaining 17 days of the legislative session that resumes July 20.
Albrecht gave her sympathy for those that have lost loved ones during the pandemic. She mourns along with the teams at Northeast Nebraska Public Health District (NNPHD), Dakota County Health (DCH), and Winnebago Comprehensive Healthcare System (WCHS). Danielle Smith, CEO of WCHS noted that it was lucky that there’s only one new case from recent mass testing in Winnebago. There were two COVID-19 related deaths recently. This emphasizes the need to take the virus seriously, according to the senator. Albrecht agreed with Danielle Smith saying that in small communities losing one life is one too many.
All county fairs in District 17 have been canceled. Albrecht pointed out that the Wayne County Fair will be open for the viewing of 4-H and FFA projects. Only family members can see the projects, but have to buy tickets.
There will be an open-to-the-public unveiling of two signs at the newly named Medal of Honor Highway in South Sioux City. This will be held on July 2, 2020, at 10 a.m. at Siouxland Freedom Park. Albrecht will be attending and speaking at the event.
Governor Ricketts announced the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions. On June 22, 2020, Thurston and Wayne counties are two of 89 counties in Nebraska moving on to Phase 3 of the Safe State Reopening Plan. Dakota County will move into Phase 2. Directed Health Measures (DHM) for each county can be found at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Directed-Health-Measures.aspx. Also, updated reopening guidelines can be found at http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Nebraska-Guidance-Documents.aspx.
Nebraska had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 5.2% when the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their May numbers. The Platte Institute noted that unemployment rates fell in 38 states. Albrecht stated that these numbers speak to the unity and work ethic of Nebraskans. There were 92,638 people unemployed in Nebraska in April. This dropped to 54,879 people for the month of May. The senator said their job isn’t done and there still needs to be more done to continue recovery.
On Monday, June 22, Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL) announced Extended Benefits (EB) for eligible unemployed individuals who exhausted their previous benefits. The EB program offers up to 13 weeks of additional benefits. NDOL will notify eligible people and issue application instructions. The benefits will be the same amount as previous benefits.
Senator Albrecht mentioned that there was a glitch in the application for the Small Business Stabilization and Livestock Producers Grants. There was a pause on new application to sort things out, but applications are open again. The glitch may have caused people to be denied when they shouldn’t have been. The new deadline to apply is 5:00 p.m. on July 1, 2020. To apply or re-apply go to https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/ag-grants/.
Under a new program by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Nebraska is able to offer additional assistance to eligible recipients. FFCRA provides food assistance to families eligible for free or reduced meals. People already receiving benefits will have their increased benefits automatically credited to their EBT card. Newly eligible families can apply at a participating Food Bank, online through the P-EBT portal at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website, or by calling 800-383-4278.
Senator Joni Albrecht invites her constituents to share their thoughts, questions, or concerns with her by email at email@example.com or by calling her office at 402-471-2716.