FCCLA Attends Virtual Legislative Workshop
Nine FCCLA Members attended the Virtual FCCLA Legislative Workshop on Wednesday, February 10th at the Plainview Public Library. Attending were Brooklyn Kumm, Jessica Booth, Peace Akkinigbagbe, Devon Tunender, Logan Jacobsen, Brooke Forbes, Baili Prewitt, and Shayla Jacobsen.
Members began the day with a welcome from Jolene Schlemmer, Co-President of Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers of Nebraska, who assisted in organizing the Legislative Workshop. Alexis Richmond, FCCLA state president, also welcomed students to the day and spoke about the state FCCLA program “Literacy for Littles”.
Three senators gave presentations on their careers and bills they are introducing. Students first listened to a message from Senator Megan Hunt who shared about her life as a senator, what led her into legislation, and her role as a senator. She is in her 3rd year as a senator. She shared 3 bills that she is presenting. The first is the SNAP Program (previously known as food stamps), the second is regarding minimum wage. This bill would eliminate sub minimum wage ($2.13 for tip receiving workers) so all workers earn $9 an hour minimum wage. Her third bill would state that an employer can’t hire/fire someone because of their sexuality. After the presentation, students spent time discussing the minimum wage bill as this would personally affect them due to the jobs they currently have.
Senator Jen Day spoke next on her work and career in legislature. This is her first year as a senator after changing career paths a few times. She will introduce 14 bills this session. Today she talked about the student loan tax credit bill, where employers help to pay their employees students loans and the tax credit, they could receive by doing this. Another bill focuses on providing schools with more mental and behavioral health resources for public schools. Other bills have focus on special education and additional school and educational support, along with creating school-based health centers. Senator Day also gave some advice to students. She encouraged them to find a career path that provides them with fulfillment and to never stop learning and educating yourself.
Senator Rob Clemens also spoke on his career as a senator and how he came into this role. He is now in his 5th year in the legislature. One of the bills he is introducing regards homeschool tuition. He is promoting that homeschool diplomas be acceptable for instate tuition at colleges and universities. Right now, those with homeschool diplomas must pay out of state tuition when attending college. Another one of his bills concerns conceal and carry permits. Currently, these permits are renewable every 5 years, however, there is no renewable reminder notice sent. This bill would give permit holders a 30-day time period to renew their permit if it has expired. Their current expired permit would not be valid during this time but would allow for reinstatement of the permit without having to take the class.
Members were then able to go online and watch the different sessions of the legislative sessions in action. In small groups, members watched the Natural Resources Committee, Health and Human Services Committee, Judiciary Committee, Government, Military and Veterans Affairs, and Revenue Committee. Members also had the opportunity to view the Governor’s News Conference. Baili Prewitt said, “It was interesting to watch the way the senators handled each other’s remarks. It was fun to watch and listen to those that were opposed to the bill.” Brooke Forbes found enjoyment in the sessions and said, “It was pretty interesting to watch. They had a lot of good topics. I liked watching senators “put other people in their place” when making comments and for going off topic.”
Students ended the workshop by completing a Scavenger Hunt of the capital with a virtual tour. Peace Akkinigabagbe said, “The scavenger hunt was super fun. It was cool to go inside the capital and governor’s residence and look at different features. It was set up with lots of extra information, videos, and pictures.”
“Despite the Legislative Workshop being virtual this year, students were able to gain information about our legislative process, hear from senators, and view sessions along with the capital. A bonus for the students was the ability for each member to attend at no cost. In the past, only 2 members per chapter were allowed due to space limitations,” stated Adviser Ronita Jacobsen.