As we round the corner from 2019 into 2020, let us reflect back on the year we just completed.

2019 was a very difficult year for many residents of Nebraska. We had a long, snowy winter followed by spring floods and even more blizzards, which resulted in some of the worst weather to hit our state since 1949. The snow and rain during the month of March left some Nebraskans without a home and others suffering great economic losses. Nevertheless, it was amazing to see how people stepped up to help those in need.

As I review the events of 2019 some of the bills I introduced helped make the lives of our citizens better off. For instance, I introduced LB 482, a property tax relief bill for those with destroyed properties. Little did I know when I introduced this bill how important it would become for those with destroyed properties. This legislation eased the burden of property owners who had their properties destroyed by the year’s natural disasters by allowing them to apply for a reduction in their property taxes so long as their property was damaged by at least 20 percent before July 1.

Looking ahead and into the future, anytime that a natural disaster occurs in our state before July 1, property owners will be able to get some much needed property tax relief by having their properties reassessed. This legislation has already saved Nebraskans millions of dollars in property tax relief.

Another bill that I am celebrating the passage of this year is LB 372, a bill which allows massage therapists to use mobile units. Because there was no opposition to this bill at the public hearing, it qualified for the Consent Calendar and passed unanimously with no opposition votes. Consequently, massage therapists can now take their practices to where their clients live, work, study and play. I introduced this bill on behalf of a constituent who works as a massage therapist.

During the interim period, when the Legislature was not in session, I had the opportunity to visit with many folks throughout Legislative District 47, which includes 10 counties in the Panhandle of Nebraska. The concerns and issues they expressed are very important to me. Visiting with people and hearing their concerns tells me that there is a lot of work left to be done.

Recently I was visiting with a constituent who made the following comment to me, “It is a breath of fresh air to have someone that represents us and who really cares.” These are the kind of words that I cherish the most, because unless I am listening to the people and representing their best interests in the Legislature, I am not doing my job as a state senator. Therefore, I want you to feel free to call my office with any of your ideas or concerns. That telephone number is 402-471-2616.

When I was asked why I want to seek another four years in the Legislature, the answer I gave is the same answer I gave four years ago. And that is: Because I care about the people in my Legislative District and the people of Nebraska and I want them to know that I will continue to care.

Thank you for allowing me to represent you and thank you for reading my articles.

May you have a happy and blessed New Year!

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