Senator Rick Kolowski

Legislative Update 2016

The One Hundred Fourth Legislature, Second Session
The legislature went into session on January 6th, 2016.  This is a short session of 60 legislative days.

We are currently in the process of having public hearings on legislation that has been introduced.

I am honored to serve on the Education, Natural Resources, and Retirement Systems Committees.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn for the year on April 20th.

Proudly serving District 31
Legislation that I introduced in 2016
LB 716 – To promote bike safety and to clarify the rules of the road for bicyclists and motorists alike.  This bill would clarify that any bicyclist who is riding on a designated path that intersects with a street or highway would have the right-of-way within the crossing if he or she follows all traffic signals.  LB 716 would make state laws pertaining to bicyclists and motorists easier to understand.  Learn more in this article in the Omaha World Herald.

LB 818 – To harmonize provisions relating to reporting child abuse complaints.  This bill will align Nebraska’s child abuse reporting laws so a person making a maliciously false complaint will not be protected.

LB 902 – To update the Nebraska Clean-burning Motor Fuel Development Act.  This will clarify language in legislation that Senator Nordquist passed last year to promote ethanol and compressed natural gas vehicles.

LB 974 – Which will create a sales tax holiday for back-to-school sales.  This will give parents a much needed break when buying school supplies and back-to-school items.

LB 1073 – Which will recognize the Honor and Remember Flag to honor our fallen service men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country.  You can read more about the Honor and Remember Flag and how to support our veterans at:  Honor and Remember

LB 1074 – Which will fund after-school programs that are proven to increase student achievement and provide a high quality learning environment after the official school day is over and in the summer.

My Votes on Important Legislation

The Legislature has already voted on some major legislation.  Here is how I voted on these issues:

LB 619 by Senator Larson would legalize Poker in Nebraska.  I voted AGAINST this legislation as I do not support expanded gambling.

LB 136 by Senator Johnson would prohibit flying lanterns from being sold or used in Nebraska.  I SUPPORTED this legislation to keep Nebraskan’s safe from these types of dangerous fireworks.

LB 176 by Senator Schilz allows Nebraska pork producers to contract with farmers to raise hogs.  I SUPPORTED this legislation because I support economic development and Nebraska has lost 60% of its hog farms.  LB 176 will allow Nebraska pork producers to compete for national and international markets.  LB 176 does not prevent small local producers from serving and accessing local markets.  I support Nebraska agriculture both large and small.

LB 289 by Senator Ebke would have prohibited city regulations of firearms.  I could not support LB 289 at this time.  Local law enforcement presented the Legislature with minor amendments which were ignored by the bill’s sponsor. I served in the military, I personally own guns and I am an ardent defender of the 2nd Amendment and gun owner rights. I also have great respect for Omaha Police Officers who described the bill as “pro-gang” not “pro-gun” and I stand with the majority of Nebraskans who support local control over state mandates.
Congratulations are in Order
Congratulations to the Millard West High School Marching Band on being named Grand Champion at the 2015 National Funding Holiday Bowl in San Diego, California. The band took first place in its class and swept all the caption awards: best music, best marching, best percussion, best color guard, best drum major and best general effect.  As grand champions, the students earned the right to deliver a solo performance during the pregame at Qualcomm Stadium host to the San Diego Chargers. The band performed an abbreviated version of their show before the college bands took the field to perform their pregame shows.  I introduced Legislative Resolution 421 honoring them.  Here is the Omaha World Herald Story.

Congratulations to Sean Lynch II, a student at Omaha Skutt Catholic High School for being selected to the United States Senate Youth Program.  A great honor!  The U.S. Senate Your Program was established in 1962 and brings outstanding high school students who are interested in pursuing careers in public service to Washington, D.C., for an intensive week-long educational event.  In this highly competitive program, two student delegates are selected from each state, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.  I introduced Legislative Resolution 424 in his honor.

Congratulations to Millard West History Teacher Tim Royers for being named the 2016 Nebraska Teacher of the Year. The award recognizes the state’s top teacher for his or her skill, knowledge, dedication and ability to inspire students.  Royers was selected from among five finalists.

He has also coached debate, served as Millard West assistant coach from 2007 to 2012, and then head coach through last school year. The team won the state championship in policy debate in 2010 and 2013 and was the overall state champ in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. They were perennial qualifiers at the national debate tournament.  In his submission to the judging panel, Royers said he wants students to think critically, consider multiple perspectives and be able to assess causes of events over an extended period of time.  During the next year, he will serve as an ambassador on teaching issues for the state and will be in the running for national teacher of the year.  Check out the Omaha World Herald Story.

Congratulations to eighth-grade Millard science teacher Courtney Matulka for receiving the 2015-16 Milken Educator Award. The Milken Family Foundation presents the award to outstanding teachers nationwide. The award comes with a $25,000 check, which winners can use as they please.  Matulka, 30, is in her seventh year at George Beadle Middle School. Matulka is the only Nebraska teacher to receive a Milken Award this year. Through the years, 40 Nebraska teachers have been recognized. Ten former winners attended the assembly.  Milken winners are selected for their effective instructional practices, student-learning results, educational accomplishments beyond the classroom and unheralded education work. The award goes to early- to mid-career educators who offer strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership and for their engaging and inspiring presence.   Here is the Omaha World Herald Story and her picture:

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