Nebraskans know how important it is to protect our environment, especially the farmers and ranchers across the Third District whose livelihoods are tied directly to the land they cultivate, the water they use to irrigate, and animals they raise. Across party lines it is clearly understood that there are ways we can address environmental concerns and improve access to the energy we need to fuel our economy. However, the government must not arbitrarily pick winners and losers or create new policy solely for messaging purposes. We need initiatives which make sense, are affordable to consumers, and do not incapacitate small businesses or agriculture. We must be smart and consider the practical implications before enacting policies in the environmental and energy space.
Greetings District 36. The Legislature utilizes a specific procedure called the Consent Calendar to move non-controversial bills through the process quickly. For a bill to be placed on the Consent Calendar, individual Senators must make a request to the Speaker. In order for a bill to qualify for Consent Calendar it must have been voted out of committee with no dissenting votes and have little to no fiscal impact on the budget. In addition, a request for a bill to be placed on the Consent Calendar is often backed by a need for a particular issue or problem to be addressed during the current legislative session. Debate on a consent calendar bill is limited to no more than 15 minutes. A bill can be removed from the Consent Calendar upon the objection of three Senators.
Earlier this year, President Biden pushed his $1.9 trillion spending package, the American Rescue Plan, through Congress and signed it into law claiming it was a dire necessity because of the pandemic. However, his administration has been very slow in rolling out programs created by this massive bill despite saying it was so urgently required. Instead, they have been busy proposing more “emergency” spending, before money allocated in the previous bill has even been spent and while our economy has begun bouncing back, largely on its own.
Greetings District 36! I would like to take this opportunity to address the draft health standards released for review by the State Board of Education. I have fully reviewed the draft standards and the rationale behind the draft. I am left with serious reservations about the appropriateness of the draft standards. Several Senators signed a joint letter to the State Board of Education objecting to the proposed standards. I did not sign on to that particular communication, and instead chose to make my own personal contacts with those in decision making positions. While I understand that student safety is a primary motivator for the health standards, it appears to me that the health standards are missing the mark by not being age appropriate.
Over the last four years, we have seen our trade relationships and trade agreements updated at record rates. Now with Ambassador Katherine Tai, who most recently served on the staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, sworn in as the new United States Trade Representative, it is time to hit the ground running and pick up where the previous administration left off by leveling the playing field with our trade partners, improving market access for U.S. goods, and finalizing pending free trade agreements.
Greetings District 36. It’s been just over one year since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the state of Nebraska. In March of 2020 we had no idea of the upcoming roller coaster we would be riding. Who could’ve imagined schools, churches, restaurants, bars, salons and many others being closed or being directed to operate at limited capacities. Sports programs and much of our normal recreational activities were put on hold. Over this whole period of time people have continued to ask: “when will things go back to normal”?
We are now one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. While the virus has drastically and unfortunately changed the way we operate personally and professionally, my staff and I have continued serving Nebraskans. Although a lot of my travel has been limited, I look forward to hitting the road again and visiting with folks in person very soon.