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Kathy's Commentary: The good and bad of the legislative sessionThe Nebraska Grocery Industry Association would like to thank the Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Farm Bureau for their continued efforts to assist in providing accurate and timely information to our membership.  Studies indicate that consumers trust their grocer, and they depend on their local retailer to provide information on the food they consume. Farmer Goes to Market is a unique e-newsletter that offers statistics and studies that provide information to retailers so they in turn are able to answer questions posed by consumers.  Farmer Goes to Market not only provides answers to questions, it also explains why.  For example, see our article on “Competitive Commodity Insights: Egg Shortage to Persist” to find out why it takes almost 9 months to get egg production back to levels of production prior to the avian flu outbreak – available table eggs were impacted by more than just the flu!

New site coming August 15, 2015We believe the information provided by Farmer Goes To Market is so valuable that we plan to make all articles that have been published in Farmer Goes to Market available at the click of a mouse!  Our new website, which will go live August 15, will have all issues available for your review.  No need to try to remember all those statistics and pieces of information!  Just go to www.nebgrocery.com to find answers to questions regarding farm practices, commodity insights, and accurate information – because it’s important to know the facts. Facts that are brought to you by the people who know!

Sincerely,
Kathy Siefken
Executive Director
Nebraska Grocery Industry Association

 

Kathy's Commentary: The good and bad of the legislative sessionThe Nebraska Legislature adjourned on Day 59 of a 60-day session. When the 2015 Legislative Session began, it appeared it would be a more conservative legislature than in past years. As it turns out, the Freshman Class of 2015, consisting of 18 new state senators, had a different view than sitting senators of old. The 2015 Session brought repeal of the death penalty, a tax increase in the form of a fuel tax, and a chance for children of illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license – all issues that were heavily debated, vetoed by the Governor and then overridden by the legislative body.

Along with controversial bills that passed were some good pieces of legislation. Our state senators gave the citizens of Nebraska some property tax relief, with promises that they will continue to work on the tax issues we face. They also provided incentives for business, assistance for lower income earners when they are trying to leave assistance programs, updates to worker compensation, and a budget that will grow at just over 3 percent.

In 2016, Nebraska will hold a 60-day session which means that when they convene on Jan. 6, 2016, we hit the ground running, with bills left on General File this year seeing floor debate as senators drop in new bills and hold hearings on those new issues. The fun never ends!

During the interim we will continue to work on legislative issues along with programs that benefit the members of NGIA. If you have questions regarding any of our events, issues that impact your business, or general questions regarding the industry, please feel free to contact our office – we are here to provide assistance!

Sincerely,
Kathy Siefken
Executive Director
Nebraska Grocery Industry Association

 

Last event of the year at Quarry OaksAs our children go back to school and cooler temps arrive, summer seems to be coming to a close. It is amazing how quickly the year is flying by. NGIA will hold its final 2014 event: The Hackers & Snackers Golf Extravaganza. This great event will be held on Sept. 24 at Quarry Oaks.  A 10 a.m. shotgun start will allow everyone to arrive the day of the outing; play one of Nebraska’s finest courses; visit with peers, competitors and friends; enjoy some of Nebraska’s finest beef; and head back home before 5 p.m.  The outing will feature a couple hands of NGIA-Style Texas Hold ’Em, a Par 3 Mini Tournament where proceeds go toward scholarships, and a chipping contest that allows each and every golfer to compete for cash. We encourage you to join us for this fun-filled day!

Our Annual Conference and the Legislative Reception & Dinner will be held at the Cornhusker Marriott in Lincoln on Jan. 22, 2015. The Annual Conference will begin with an informal lunch at 11:30 a.m., followed by nationally known speakers on topics of interest to all businesses. The Legislative Reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will feature former University of Nebraska at Lincoln Cornhusker football and volleyball players. State senators will be invited to attend, which will give our members an opportunity to visit with their representatives about issues of importance to our industry.

Two great events wrapped into one day!  Mark your calendar and plan to attend.

Sincerely,

Kathy Siefken
Executive Director
Nebraska Grocery Industry Association

Kathy's Commentary: In Nebraska, we just don't use the F word!The Nebraska legislature convened on Jan. 7 with a total of 18 new state senators arriving to take their place as representatives of their districts, along with a new governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and auditor. New faces bring many changes! Since Jan. 7, the Nebraska legislature has reviewed 663 bills, killed some, moved some and let others sit in committee. The Nebraska unicameral is a one-house system that requires each bill have a hearing, where each senator is allowed one priority bill, each committee is allowed two priority bills, and the speaker is allowed 25 priority bills. At this point, only those bills with a priority status will move forward and have a chance to become law. It’s a very reasonable method to bring the important issues to the top.

The learning curve is steep. New senators, for the most part, have done a good job of trying to learn everything they need to know without becoming overwhelmed. They put in long days, debating complex issues that evolve from day to day. Unfortunately, it appears the new way of doing business is to use what I call the “F” word: If a specific issue is not liked, the Filibuster is used. In times past, senators actually debated the issues, negotiated an outcome or came to a consensus, then took a vote when it appeared no more compromises were to be had. It was a great way to work through an issue and come out with legislation that worked. The new way of legislating is a disappointment because it is not about what is best for Nebraska, but more about how to stop a bill from moving forward if an individual doesn’t like the original bill.

We are over halfway through the 2015 session, and many of the more important issues have not yet been addressed.  In this 90-day session, the legislature is scheduled to adjourn on June 5. There will be late nights where debate, or a “F”ilibuster will go into the evening hours. There will be contentious issues that have to be worked out and compromises made. While it has been defined as a “more conservative” body, not all of the votes indicate this legislature really is more conservative than that of 2014. 

Nebraska’s unicameral, with one body of senators, was and is expected to be balanced by the citizens of the state of Nebraska. Citizens should take ownership of what is being discussed in our state capitol and should weigh in on those issues that are important to them. State senators listen to their constituents and heed their advice.  I would encourage everyone to take part in the legislative process.

Sincerely,
Kathy Siefken
Executive Director
Nebraska Grocery Industry Association

 

NGIA will hold its Annual Conference July 15 at Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. The Annual Sand "Bagger" Golf Outing will be held on July 16 at Iron Horse in Ashland. This year's line-up is a can't-miss slate of specialists who will speak on improving communication, Nebraska farm issues, couponing, OSHA survival skills, child labor and more. On July 16, we cap off the conference with an 8 a.m. shotgun start at the beautiful Iron Horse golf course in Ashland.

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