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The 106th Legislature is entering its final weeks of session for 2019. Last week we began debate on the state’s $9.3 billion biennial budget. The budget includes LB293 – LB299, each of these bills were debated on general file and all advanced to select file. LB298 received extended debate on FA67 which returned $50 million to the property tax credit relief fund. The appropriations committee in their budget recommendation had removed this amount from the property tax credit fund. The amendment was adopted.

LB294 is the mainline budget bill it approves the spending for all state agencies. There was extended debate regarding the increase in funding in certain agencies as well as funds placed into the budget without receiving floor debate. Bills that are brought to the appropriations committee that are not agency expenditures should be debated by the entire body before inclusion in the budget as all other bills are required to do. This budget includes funding that was placed in the budget without the bill being debated on the floor and I am opposed to this practice. For these reasons I voted against the bill and will continue debating the bill on select file.

The Legislature also advanced other important bills that do not relate to the budget. LB209, introduced by Sen. Albrecht, was advanced to select file and would require medical professionals to provide information on continuance of pregnancy to those seeking an abortion through the abortion pill process. The abortion pill is a two-step process. The first pill, mifepristone, blocks progesterone which nurtures and supports the pregnancy. The second pill, misoprostol, empties the uterus and ends the pregnancy. LB209 would require medical professionals to inform those seeking an abortion that there is a chance to continue the pregnancy after taking the first pill.

Mold is a naturally occurring fungus and is a major health issue in flooded buildings it will continue to grow unless properly eradicated. NEMA has provided information on how to properly clean mold with fungicide on its website at nema.nebraska.gov/sites/nema.nebraska.gov/files/doc/050619nr.pdf Nebraska is offering fungicide at no cost, it can be picked up at the Fremont Mall, in Fremont and at Lifespring Church in Bellevue. Pick-up will be available Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced the Disaster Housing Recovery Fund which will provide $3,005,000 to applicants located in counties that received a flood related disaster declaration from NEMA. Approved applicants may be awarded up to $500,000 with a 10% cash matching requirement. Funds may be used for reconstruction, construction, demolition, or acquisition of housing or rental units. Additional information may be found on the departments’ website by searching NE DED disaster housing recovery.

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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