Presidents Day provides us with the opportunity to honor and reflect on the founders and leaders that made our great country what it is today. America continues to be the best country in the world as we continue to fight for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am thankful for the leaders that have fought for the freedoms and opportunities that make the United States, especially Nebraska, the best place to work, play, and raise a family.
With snow and cold weather taking over Northeast Nebraska, please be careful when traveling. The Nebraska Department of Transportation offers up-to-the-minute travel and traffic updates via Nebraska 511. On their website, you can track snowplows on the Nebraska state highway system and view photos of real-time road conditions. Visit http://511.nebraska.gov or call 511 to learn more about current road conditions. Please travel safe and stay warm!
This week we debated Sen. Julie Slama’s (LD1) LB 399, Change the name and provisions related to the committee on Americanism, for the second time (a total of six hours of debate is allowed on each bill). LB 399, which I co-sponsored, change the name of the committee to the committee on American civics. The new committee would be required to hold at least two public meetings annually and ensure that the district’s social studies curriculum is accessible to the public. It also would ensure that the district’s curriculum aligns with state social studies standards and teaches and assesses foundational knowledge in civics, history, economics, financial literacy and geography. We also debated Senator Tom Brewer’s (LD43) LB 575, Require school district policies regarding the provision of information to and access by military recruiters, which allows military recruits to visit high schools and speak with students about opportunities after graduation.
During debate, Senator Ernie Chambers (LD11) referred to the American flag as a “rag” and compared the flag to a swastika while harshly and unfairly criticizing our great county. Senator Chambers regularly criticizes our country and the brave men and women who fight for our freedoms (including the freedom of speech that he regularly enjoys), but his criticisms are ugly and inappropriate. His comments also outrageously minimize the horrors and millions of lives lost during the Holocaust and Second World War. Senator Brewer responded to Senator Chambers’ comments during debate of LB 575, his words summarize my feelings perfectly:
“I think I speak for most of us that have worn the uniform, it rips our heart out to hear someone say that they refer to the flag as a rag because for those of us that have brought home those that we’ve lost it’s hard to refer to the flag as a rag because you have to fold it and you have to give it to the parents — that’s awful hard to do.”
I am so thankful for the sacrifices of men and women, like Senator Brewer, that have sacrificed so much to protect us and our country. I proudly stand to support our veterans and to honor our flag. God bless the men and women who have fought for our freedoms.
Although some of my colleagues have decided not to protect and support life by voting last year’s Title X provisions out of the budget, President Trump’s administration made a historic pro-life move this past week. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services followed Nebraska’s lead by issuing a new rule that makes any health care clinic that performs or refers patients for abortions ineligible to receive federal Title X funding. Abortion is not a part of family planning; this rule will ensure that only clinics that provide family planning services receive federal funding. While this will not shut down or completely defund family planning clinics that perform or refer abortions, as clinics that offer abortion services can discontinue those services or separate them completely from their family planning services, this is a momentous step towards protecting the lives of the unborn. I proudly support the efforts of the Trump administration and Governor Pete Ricketts to keep Nebraska a Pro-Life state.
Live coverage of committee hearings and the full session of the Unicameral is available at www.netnebraska.org/capitol
It is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage my constituents to reach out to me and I look forward to hearing from you.