Tom Brewer

Tom Brewer, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 3rd District, talks with Scott McPheeters of Gothenburg, Neb., during a campaign event at the Holiday Inn.

The first session of the 106th Legislature has adjourned “sine die.” We quit six days early. Normally the motion to adjourn is a simple “yea or nay” voice vote. This year, several of us requested a roll call vote before adjourning for the year. I don’t think we should have adjourned early without addressing the No. 1 issue facing Nebraska — property taxes. Only eight of my colleagues agreed with me.

In spite of this, I was able to get 14 out of 23 bills passed that I introduced this session. I am blessed to have such an effective team and couldn’t have done it without them.

It should come as no surprise to my constituents that I am motivated to work on bills that encourage and enable Nebraskans to serve honorably in the military. LB 152 provides stronger legal protections for sensitive personnel information for National Guard members serving in a law enforcement support role. LB 575 requires that public schools give military recruiters the same access to students at job fairs and other events as is provided to other employers and colleges. LB 156 creates a legal process for titling surplus military vehicles for use on state roadways.

The 43rd District is the most rural district in Nebraska, and that means that we face challenges that city dwellers never have to think about. My priority bill, LB 155, protects non-participating property owners by creating a new way to challenge eminent domain takings used by industrial wind energy projects. LB 374 updated an old law about falconry and provides another option for problem bird abatement at airports. LB 660 updated the laws concerning the Brand Committee.

As a legislator with Native American roots, I also worked with my colleagues to pass LB 154, which directs the Nebraska State Patrol to investigate and report on the epidemic of missing Native American women and children.

As chairman of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, our committee election package included three of my bills: the secretary of state’s election law update, an increase to the fine amount for campaign ethics and public corruption violations, and a change to the meeting requirements for a metropolitan utilities district.

LB 212, which I introduced as a Government Committee bill, will ensure that rural representatives in certain public bodies can participate in more meetings remotely. LB 375 will allow the Nebraska Historical Society to accept and preserve more donated historical collections. LB 505 streamlines how child support payments flow through the courts and the State Treasurer’s Office.

Finally, I worked with coach Tom Osborne, TeamMates and Mentor Nebraska to pass LB 511, which will allow state government employees to adjust their work schedules to allow an hour each week for volunteer mentoring with at-risk children and teens.

Not all of these bills are glamorous, but my job is to help make government in Nebraska serve the people better. I think each of these bills makes progress on that.

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