More good news on the Nebraska economy this past week. Due to the growth seen as the State reopens, the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board raised the State’s revenue forecast for the current Fiscal Year 2020-21 by $285 million, by $118 million for Fiscal Year 2021-22, and by $307 million for Fiscal Year 2022-23.
Responding to the report, Governor Ricketts recognized the “new forecast is a reflection of the resilience of Nebraskans and the strong economy they have built.” The forecast brings good news for the property tax relief package passed in August and it is my hope that will enable us at the Legislature to continue to act to bring added relief to taxpayers. State Unemployment numbers also continue to decline as Nebraskans return to work, with a weekly drop in both new claims and continuing claims for the period.
COVID-19 update: Last week, the Governor discussed Nebraska’s vaccine preparedness and distribution plan once a vaccine is available. The plan was submitted in response to the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) request to do so and reflects anticipation that the vaccine will initially be limited. The following chart was published outlining the State’s plan. The details of the plan can be accessed on the Department of Health and Human Services website at: chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/http://dhhs.ne.gov/Documents/COVID-19-Vaccination-Plan.pdf
• Use the network, facilities and resources of the statewide Vaccines For Children program
• Mobilize a heightened flu vaccination effort to help test efficiency of the structure and guard against flu complications
• Limited supply = priority distribution
• Free injections covered by U.S. government
• No mandate
• Subject to revision
Limited supply = priority distribution
1) Healthcare workers
2) Other high-priority residents and workers
• Nursing, skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living residents
• High-risk individuals (ex. cancer, kidney or heart disease, COPD, sickle cell, diabetes, obesity, immune-compromised)
• Essential workforce determined by region (ex. first responders, teachers, food processors, correctional staff)
• Vulnerable and congregate living (ex. minority communities, disabled, homeless, incarcerated, college students)
In other COVID-19 related news, meetings of local government agencies may look a little different for a while. On Friday, October 30, 2020, Governor Ricketts signed Executive Order No. 20-34, which allows for elected officials to fully participate in governmental meetings by telephone or video conferencing if the official has been ordered by the local health agency to quarantine or isolate due to exposure to COVID-19. The Order applies solely to those officials in those circumstances and applies to public bodies as defined in Nebraska statute and subject to the Nebraska Open Meetings Act.
DISTRICT 17 COVID by the numbers. The following numbers of positive cases were reported by District 17 health departments and were received by my office for the period October 24 through October 30, 2020:
Dakota: +105 (2633)
Thurston: +51 (423)
Wayne: +54 (403)
As harvest winds down, we are grateful for the earth and its bounty, our family and community. Like your family may be doing, our family looks forward to the Thanksgiving holiday. It may look a bit different this year, with less travel, smaller gatherings, and perhaps electronic communications in place of in-person visits as we practice the precautions associated with the pandemic. Still, in our hearts, we celebrate the harvest, our families, and the love we share. The happenings of 2020 have been different and difficult, but together we remain #NebraskaStrong.
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 by phone at 402-471-2716 or by email at email@example.com