Greetings from Senator Willilams

Greetings District 36! While we continue to hold all day public hearings, the full Legislature met one morning this week to take up a number of bills that had advanced from committees. Among the bills debated were six bills I introduced as Chairman of the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee. The bills were brought to me by the Department of Insurance, the Department of Banking and Finance, the Real Property Appraisers Board, and the Secretary of State to update statutes related to industries that are critical to our State’s economy. These agencies work closely with industry representatives to identify legislative changes necessary for Nebraska to maintain a competitive business environment.

Leading on Biofuels

Nebraska is a biofuels powerhouse - the second and third largest producer of ethanol and corn, respectively, in the country. With 25 active ethanol plants and a capacity of more than 2.5 billion gallons, the importance of biofuels to our state economy cannot be understated. Biodiesel production in Nebraska has seen exponential growth as well. Thanks to innovation and technological developments, biodiesel production has grown from 25 million gallons in 2004 to 2.9 billion gallons in 2019. Ethanol has an economic impact of $5 billion in Nebraska, and in turn the industry directly employs more than 1,400 Nebraskans.

BLENDED FAMILY FACES CHALLENGES

Q: I’m married for the second time, with a total of four children -- two from my first marriage and two from this one. Unfortunately, my wife clearly favors her own kids over my two older ones, and she’s become unfairly critical and overbearing. Is this unusual in blended families? What can I do about it?

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“The naughtiest thing I did as a child was when my dad and I went to town, and at the store I took off and tried to run away. My dad and his friend spent the day trying to track me down,” my grandma, Tammie Wheelbarger, shared as she sat at the dining room table and ate some homemade banana bread. I was surprised. I can’t see her doing that because she has always been calm and very kind when I was growing up.

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Greetings District 36. This week the Legislature continued all-day hearings. It continues to be a new and challenging situation for Senators, staff, and the public, but I am confident it has helped reduce the spread of COVID-19. All-day hearings will continue through the month of February. Then we will begin full day debate of bills.

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Getting Americans back to work has been one of the primary challenges facing our nation since the COVID-19 pandemic began nearly one year ago. While the employment situation varies widely from state to state, ensuring every unemployed American can reconnect with work must be a top priority. In Nebraska we are fortunate to have an unemployment rate of just 3%, making us one of 18 states that have an unemployment rate below 5%. Other states which have had more restrictive lockdowns are seeing much higher rates of unemployment.

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Q: I don’t usually care for labels, but I think it would be fair to call my husband a “workaholic.” He works constantly and spends very little time with our children and me. When I approach him about it, he simply says, “Things will be better soon.” Do you have any suggestions?

Greetings from Senator Willilams

Greetings District 36! The Legislature continues with full day hearings. As mentioned in previous columns, full day hearings are new to the Legislative process, and are designed to limit large gatherings and provide a means to social distance while we continue to battle the pandemic.

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