State Legislature Back In Session, Senator Joni Albrecht Gives Her Weekly Update For District 17

WAYNE – Senator Joni Albrecht started her weekly update by encouraging college Juniors and Seniors to apply for the Legislative Page internship program. The deadline to submit applications is by October 2, 2020 at 5 p.m. The Page Selection Committee will meet in October to decide which candidates fill the positions. Albrecht requested that if you or someone you know is interested in applying, call her office at 402-471-2716.

Tax Commissioner, Tony Fulton, reported that Nebraska saw their General Fund for June exceed expectations. The receipts show $578 million in gross sales use, individual income, and miscellaneous funding. This is 0.4 percent higher than the projected $576 million dollars in revenue. On the contrary, Nebraska’s gross corporate income fell 12.4% below it’s forecast. Governor Ricketts said that the report provides room for improvement through a few key initiatives, including property tax relief.

The Commissioner of Education, Matthew Blomstedt, talked with the governor on Friday, July 17. They discussed work being done to get children back to school for the fall. The governor maintained that he will not require students to wear masks in the fall, but he does believe students wearing masks would be helpful. If students wear masks, not as many children would need to be tested once one student tests positive. Albrecht noted that school districts around the state are making plans to get kids into the classroom.

Monday, June 20, was the first day back in session for the state legislature. Albrecht mentioned that they’ll be working hard, with 40 priority bills on the agenda for Monday alone.

Speaker Jim Scheer emphasized that the legislature will spend responsibly due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy. Albrecht wrote that the impact of the virus on the 2020-21 budget year is uncertain. More spendy bills are less likely to make it through the process, according to the speaker. Some bills might be amended to reduce costs or they won’t make it very far.

The legislature may also discuss Property Tax Bill LB1106 during the first week back. This would give property tax relief to all property owners, residential, commercial, or agricultural. The bill takes a common sense approach to school spending, while making the state pay more education funding. Albrecht believes this bill will benefit almost everyone is District 17, both the taxpayers and school districts. She aspires that people at the capital will reach across party lines to get this bill passed.

Another priority bill of importance to the senator is LB992. This is the bill about expanding broadband service to rural areas in Nebraska. Albrecht is on the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, the committee that created the bill. LB992 will be placed on General File, the first reading, shortly after reconvening. This bill would address concerns by those in the telecommunications industry.

Also District 17 and residents of northeast Nebraska are invited to register and attend a Virtual Property Tax Town Hall on Monday, July 27.  To register, log on to www.platteinstitute.org/events or call 402-452-3737 for more information.

Senator Joni Albrecht invited her constituents to share their thoughts, questions, ideas, and/or concerns by calling her office at 402-471-2716, or by emailing her at jalbrecht@leg.ne.gov.

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