107TH LEGISLATURE, 1ST SESSION – DAY 62
MEDAL OF HONOR HIGHWAY
Last year Beverly Neel and I had the privilege of joining other residents of District 17 to celebrate the completion of the newly named Nebraska Medal of Honor Highway (U.S.20). On May 11th, Ken Hanel and Daryl Harrison will join others to walk across the Nebraska Medal of Honor Highway in an event called, Walk the Walk. There will also be amotorcycle convoy participating in the festivities. You are invited to join the motorcycles, Walk the Walk with Ken and Daryl, or you may wish to simply attend the Christening of the highway at 5:30 pm in Siouxland Freedom Park. It will be a patriotic day to remember. Medal of Honor Recipient James C. McCloughan of Michigan will sing the National Anthem. Governor Ricketts has been invited to introduce James McCloughan and Charles Hagemeister, one of only two living Nebraska Medal of Honor Recipients. Both Medal of Honor Recipients will be speaking and then will christen the Nebraska Medal of Honor Highway. For more information contact Nebraska Medal of Honor Foundation, President Daryl Harrison at (402)922-1329 Pheasant55@harrisonwoc.com.
IMPROVEMENT ON US HIGHWAY 77
The Nebraska Department of Transportation is planning to improve approximately 5.57 miles of US-Highway 77 (US-77) located in Thurston County. The proposed project, identified as N-94- Winnebago, would be constructed primarily under traffic with lane closures controlled by appropriate traffic control devices; however, a detour would be required for the construction of two bridge-size culverts.
The proposed project would begin approximately 0.18 miles north of the junction of US-77 and Nebraska Highway 94 (N-94) at about mile marker (MM) 163.91, and extend north to MM 169.48, approximately 0.06 miles south of the junction of US-77 and US-75.
Proposed improvements on US-77 would consist of milling and resurfacing the roadway and surfaced shoulders with asphalt, bridge repairs and removing and replacing guardrail. Improvements to the bridge-size box culverts over unnamed streams at MM 165.41, 166.71 and 169.45 would consist of replacing the existing structure with a concrete box culvert, removing existing guardrail, grading, and full-depth pavement as needed where the existing structure is removed.
Construction could begin as early as Spring of 2023 and could be completed by Winter of 2024. Any questions or comments or further information regarding the project may also be found by visiting the4 NDOT website at http:dot.nebraska.gov/projects/future-projects/ and clicking on the “N-94-Winnebago”.
NEBRASKA- A “SECOND AMENDMENT SANCTUARY STATE”
On April 14th, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that he had signed a proclamation designating Nebraska as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State.” The proclamation is symbolic, and reaffirms Nebraska’s support for the right to bear arms. “The White House and U.S. Congress have announced their intention to pursue measures that would infringe on the right to keep and bear arms,” says Governor Ricketts’ proclamation. “Nebraska will stand up against federal overreach and attempts to regulate gun ownership and use in the Good Life.”
Governor Ricketts’ proclamation comes as over 50 Nebraska counties have passed resolutions of support for the Second Amendment that declare themselves as Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties. My office spoke with Wayne, Thurston and Dakota County Clerks and they are each currently considering a resolution as well. More information can be found at https://www.nebraskafirearms.org/.
SCHOOL BONDING AUTHORITY
This week the Revenue Committee sent my bill, LB523, School Bonding Authority, to the Floor. We continue to be “inundated” as elected officials by citizens concerned over high property taxes. One way this body can assist taxpayers is to assure, when possible, they are directly included in decisions of major spending when tax increases are necessary. Historically in Nebraska, when a necessity was deemed by a local school board to build new school structure or expand existing structures, we have held elections to fund those projects. When I vote for a local school board member, I have always believed I was giving that person the authority to make policy, hire staff, purchase supplies, pay utilities through the general fund, and maintain the existing school structure through use of depreciation funds included in their reserves. I have never believed that I was giving that individual the authority to build new school structures without my approval through an election. The intent in bringing this LB523 was simple. I wanted to give the citizens a vote on major local tax decisions.
RURAL-BASED BROADBAND FUNDING ADVANCED
LB338, which would give rural customers more input on their broadband carriers, was advanced from Select File this week. To qualify for consideration by the Public Service Commission (PSC), a rural-based plan must include an eligible telecommunications company. The plan would be judged on the company’s history and service capability in the area, as well as local support, partnerships with local public power and wireless internet service providers and cooperation by the incumbent local exchange carrier that has lost support from the commission.
A plan approved under the provisions of LB338 by the PSC would include a deployment timeline to include periodic milestones and reporting requirements from the telecommunications company. The bill would require any recipient of ongoing high-cost financial support from the universal service fund to submit to broadband service speed tests by the PSC. Any universal service funds distributed for new broadband infrastructure construction would be directed to projects that provide service scalable to 100 Mbps or greater of upload speed. Additionally, any political subdivision that receives federal funding for broadband service enhancement would be required to provide service scalable to 100 Mbps or greater for both upload and download speed.
The bill would ensure no federal funding could be used to expand broadband service in locations already capable of 100 Mbps or greater for both upload and download speed. Following the 36-0 adoption, Senators advanced the bill to Final Reading on a voice vote.
NEBRASKA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HEALTH STANDARDS
Recently the Nebraska Department of Education released a draft of the Nebraska Health Education Standards. I strongly encourage you to read the standards and inform yourself about new content that is being considered.
Take some time to review the entire document for yourself and let the State Department of Education know what you think.
A draft Health Education Standards are available for review at:
You can contribute your feedback at:
Or members of the public can submit a formal comment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
DISTRICT 17 COVID-19
The number of positive tests reported for the periods April 8, 2021 to April 15, 2021 in District 17 are as follow:
Dakota County +33 (4050)
Thurston County: +1 (1158)
Wayne County: +5 (1120)
I want to thank several of our District 17 Constituents who either contacted my office, or took the time to answer important questions that enabled me to bring accurate information to the floor debate this week. Your input and perspective helps shape legislation in this state and I really appreciate each of you. As always, it is of great importance that I hear from my constituents to effectively do my job as your voice in the Legislature. I encourage you to contact me and I look forward to hearing from you. You can reach me at 402-471-2716 or email@example.com.