Captal Update from Sen. Matt Williams
Greetings District 36. As we begin the month of April, the legislative session nears the two thirds mark. Over the past several weeks the Legislature has made significant progress on some issues facing Nebraska. However we have still not arrived at a solution for the current tax imbalance. Within the next week, I believe the Revenue Committee will roll out its tax reform recommendation for consideration by the full Legislature. As your senator I will work hard to help deliver the type of property tax relief needed for rural Nebraska.
This past week I was honored to participate in a signing ceremony for LB140 with Governor Ricketts. LB140 provides a comprehensive update to the Nebraska Banking Act. This had not been undertaken since 1963 and, as you can imagine, banks and banking products have changed dramatically since that time. I would like to say a special thank you to the Director of Banking, Mark Quandahl, and his staff along with industry representatives for taking the time and making the effort to provide this much-needed update. I believe it is the role of state government to provide the best environment possible to grow our state and allow our businesses to compete worldwide. LB140 is a small but important step in this direction.
The Legislature is working through priority bills and taking action on some important issues. Support for our veterans will improve by moving the State Veterans’ Homes into the Department of Veterans Affairs under LB340. The Department of Roads and the Department of Aeronautics would merge to become the Department of Transportation under LB339. In an effort to address human trafficking, LB289 would increase the penalties on those who traffic or solicit a trafficked individual. Law enforcement officers will no longer risk losing health insurance coverage if they are injured in the line of duty under LB444. I am proud to support all of these bills.
Over the past several weeks the halls of the Capitol have been filled with fourth-graders from across our state. Many fourth-grade students study state government and have the opportunity to visit our State Capitol. Whenever possible I try to take the time to visit with the students from Legislative District 36. As part of a class project, a group of fourth graders from Pershing Elementary in Lexington wrote letters to me about a bill to change the Nebraska State flag. The overwhelming consensus from this group of fourth-graders was “leave our flag alone.” I could not agree more. I delivered these letters to the Senator who proposed the change to our current flag. I would like to thank the students and their teacher, Tisha Thacker, for sending these letters to me. Maybe each Senator should listen to elementary students more often!