May
30
Fremont

Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to your correspondence with my constituents, Travis Vonseggern and Bill Jackson of Maple Creek Gunsmithing, regarding their entry and subsequent rejection as contestants for your “PUSH It Forward” promotion. 

As I understand it, the intent of your contest is to assist small businesses that are “vital to our communities.” Maple Creek Gunsmithing certainly fits that description. 

Therefore, I was upset to learn that the Maple Creek Gunsmithing contest entry was hastily rejected because they serve as a retailer of firearms.  I find your exclusion of this legal and constitutionally protected business completely unacceptable.

Maple Creek Gunsmithing has not only contributed substantially to our community, but Mr. Vonseggern and Mr. Jackson are US Army veterans who, by the very nature of their service to our country, are wholly deserving of the...

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May
28
Lincoln

From Paul Hammel of the Omaha World-Herald:

LINCOLN - Disabled veterans who own a business would get some preference in obtaining state contracts under a bill given first-round approval by the Nebraska Legislature on Tuesday.

State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont, a veteran and the primary sponsor, said the bill is a “small scope” reaction to the high unemployment rate of veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That rate is 11 percent in Nebraska, he said.

“It's difficult for veterans now to start a business,” Janssen said. “This bill is out there to encourage veterans to get involving in the bidding process (for state contracts).”

Legislative Bill 224 advanced from first-round debate on a 32-1 vote, but not before Janssen promised to amend the bill later to ensure that it applies only to state contracts, and not those awarded by local governments. It would apply to state contracts for goods and services.

Some...

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May
27
Fremont
Photo and story courtesy of the Fremont Tribune.

Crews were barely a block away working to remove fallen tree limbs and restore electrical power to a section of Fremont as the annual Memorial Day service began at 11 a.m. Monday at the Memorial Park Eternal Flame.

With chainsaws audible nearby and a toppled small tree lying in the park, State Sen. Charlie Janssen pointed out, however, that Sunday night’s weather was actually pleasant before foul weather rolled in at about 1:40 a.m. Monday, prompting a tornado warning.

Janssen, in fact, was relaxing on his deck Sunday night, listening to the music from a neighbor’s party, when a country music song made him think about the Memorial Day speech he would give.

The lyrics, “I got my toes in the water, (backside) in the sand … Life is good today,” stirred memories of a time when he had his own “...

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May
22
Lincoln

We enter the final three weeks of the 2013 legislative session with important state budget bill deadlines as well as crunch-time debate on individual, committee and Speaker priority bills.

By legislative rule, we must finish our work on the state budget on May 20. This provides the governor with the constitutionally permitted five days (excluding Sundays) to sign, veto or line-item veto provisions of the two-year state budget package. We expect several line-item vetoes by the governor on different spending items included in the budget bills and it is my hope that my colleagues join me in supporting the governor's efforts to hold the line on spending. Nebraska taxpayers work hard for their money and we must expend no more than is absolutely necessary to perform essential government functions.

Nebraska's capital punishment statutes were subject to a meaningful debate last week. Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha was the...

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May
1
Lincoln

The Legislature undertook a complicated and important debate last week to revise our state aid to PK-12 education funding formula.

The state of Nebraska provides more than one-third of the total dollars that go into PK-12 public education.

When all state funding sources are considered together, well over $1 billion is dedicated to the education of 290,000 students.

This is a remarkable figure and proof that Nebraska values education and supports our next generation of citizens. Aid to public education is by far the largest portion of our state budget.

So when we negotiate the elements that make up our aid to education formula, we must consider all the ramifications as they impact our 249 school districts. Communities across our state have a wide range of economic strengths, populations and demographic characteristics.

Dodge County is a...

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