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The Legislature continued debating priority bills the past week.

LR14CA, a constitutional amendment introduced by Sen. Wayne, was advanced to select file. LR14CA would amend the state constitution to allow for extensions on repayment of tax-incremental financing (TIF) from 15 years to 20 years. This amendment would apply to areas where more than half the properties are designated as extremely blighted. LB15, introduced by Senator Blood, was also advanced to select file. This bill would adopt the Children of Nebraska Hearing Aid Act. Under this bill, children under the age of 19 would be allowed to have hearing aids and all maintenance and creation of the devices to be paid for by insurance as long as the benefits have not exceeded $3,000 in the past four years.

Recently, Nebraska Future Farmers of America held its 91st annual convention in Lincoln. It was a pleasure to welcome the FFA to the Capitol and join students from around the district for breakfast. The event drew about 6,000 high school students from across Nebraska, who are preparing to begin careers in the agriculture industry. The students competed in several different events focusing on career and leadership development. Several leaders in the agriculture industry were also in attendance and provided tours of their facilities and presentations to help students acquire a better understanding of working in the industry. Agriculture is integral to our state and it was fantastic to see these young adults interested and excited to carry on one of our state’s most proud industries.

As recovery from the recent flooding continues, the Nebraska Emergency Management Association and FEMA have released a statement about their continued efforts and the process of moving forward. The first step to recovering from this disaster is the removal of debris. NEMA and FEMA ask that residents not to wait to begin removing debris caused by the flood. They suggest to record or photograph any damage that has occurred and then move the damaged items or debris to the curb for pick-up. The agencies ask that there be separate piles of debris while disposing into different categories. This includes electronics, large appliances, hazardous waste, vegetative debris, and construction debris. FEMA and NEMA stress to not leave debris close to poles, fire hydrants, or in roadways. For more information about debris removal visit http://www.deq.state.ne.us/.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation has created a new website at https://dot.nebraska.gov/news-media/nebraska-flood-2019/ to view information on the repair and construction of roads and bridges damaged by the recent flood. The site also contains an interactive map of road and bridge closures. The website will be continually updated as repairs progress.

Finally, if you have been affected by the flood and require assistance we ask that you contact your insurance providers and apply for federal assistance. To apply for individual assistance through FEMA visit disasterassistance.gov or call the toll-free number at 1-800-621-3362. Also, the Small Business Administration is offering low-interest loans for homeowners, renters, business owners and private non-profit organizations. To apply for these loans visit disasterloan.sba.gov/ela or call 800-659-2955. Lastly, you were a farmer or rancher who requires assistance please contact your county Farm Service Agency Office which can be found here: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=ne&agency=fsa.

I appreciate hearing from constituents on issues affecting District 23 and encourage you to contact my office on legislation at 402-471-2719 or bbostelman@leg.ne.gov.

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