Senator Hansen’s Bill LB 304 “Cottage Foods” Passes First Round of Debate

By Senator Ben Hansen

It was a great week at the Capitol as we moved through a good amount of committee and senator priority bills.  As I mentioned in an earlier column, the rest of the 2019 session is going to be made up bills senators have chosen as their priority bills or bills the different committees have identified as priority bills for the session.  I really felt like we were able to make some progress this week, taking action on some big issues.

We kicked off Monday with debate on my priority bill, LB 304.  As a reminder, the bill would allow individuals and families to sell the same cottage foods sold at farmers markets from their homes.  We made some changes to the bill to require producers have their water tested if using a private well, register with the Department of Agriculture, and to clearly label the foods they sell.  On the floor I talked about how selling cottage foods could help a family make ends meet or could help kick start a small business, giving them the experience and funds to expand.  Nebraskans produce food for the rest of the world so it makes sense that these same producers should be able to sell food directly to consumers from their homes.  It’s a pure form of farm-to-table food production and one that we should encourage.  My priority bill passed the first round of debate with 41 votes.

Another major bill passing the first round of debate was LB 512 introduced by Senator Linehan.  The bill is the Department of Revenue’s annual cleanup bill, making changes as needed to Nebraska tax law.  Senator Erdman brought an amendment to include parts of his LB 482, introduced to make changes in assessment of destroyed property.  Sen. Erdman’s bill was introduced on January 22nd, long before the floods ravaged our region and even before they were predicted.  The new changes would allow for a reassessment of damaged property for tax purposes.  For example, if a building was damaged by a natural disaster, a landowner could request the building to be reassessed while it is being rebuilt or repaired.  Once the building is restored it would then be assessed again for tax purposes.  This bill, although not its original intent, could provide tax relief to victims of the flood and I was happy to vote yes on the bill along with 41 other senators.

On Thursday I and other senators on the Health and Human Services and Appropriations committees received a brief from state officials on the expansion of Medicaid, set for an implementation date of October 1st, 2020.  There’s a lot of work to do and I expect to be a part of many more hearings and briefs about expanded Medicaid as the year goes on.

The Revenue Committee is expected to release its proposals for property tax relief next week.  I’ve spoken about property taxes many times on the floor, and I’m excited to begin in-depth discussions about the #1 reason I ran for the legislature – property tax relief.

If you have questions or comments, please contact the District 16 office at (402)-471-2728 to speak with my Administrative Assistant, Ellie Stangl; or my Legislative Aide, Jacob Campbell.  You can also email me at  To follow along with the session please visit or you may watch the live stream when available at




Lisa Maise, 48, of Pender NE

Lisa Maise, 48, of Pender, NE, passed away Sunday, April 14, 2019 at Pender Community Hospital.

Memorial services are pending with Munderloh-Smith Funeral Home in Pender.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch













Wind Advisory

…WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 1 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 10 AM CDT THURSDAY… The National Weather Service in Omaha/Valley has issued a Wind Advisory, which is in effect from 1 PM this afternoon to 10 AM CDT Thursday. * WINDS…East 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph. * TIMING…This afternoon into Thursday morning. * IMPACTS…Strong winds may blow down limbs, trees, and power lines. Strong crosswinds along north to south highways. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… A Wind Advisory means that winds of 30 to 39 mph are expected for one hour or longer, or winds of 45 to 57 mph for any duration. Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles. Use extra caution. &&

I Love a Birthday!

Tomorrow, I turn 56.

I am still trying to wrap my head around that number.

It keeps getting larger and larger.

There are only two choices: The number grows larger or 6 feet under.

Yikes! I am not ready for 6 feet under.

Who is? Even though all of us know we won’t be here forever, who really wants to be “gone”?

Not me. Not yet. I have so much to do. I have plans.

What are my plans? Not much. Not lengthy.

I just want to hug Penelope and Rowen as much as I can. I can’t wait for the newest arrival in June.

I love being a grandma. Who doesn’t? But, I am a Nene. Penelope, or Peeps as I call her, named me Nene.

I take pride in the name she has given me. I take pride in seeing her beautiful face. She is something special.

But, she is not alone in the special category. Rowen, her brother, is a unique little guy.

He is so much like his mother, my daughter. Except he is a bit more ornery. That is fine too.

He is himself. He has his unique qualities too!

What will the next one be? Only God knows. I am anxiously awaiting.

Being a grandma/Nene is an honorable title. I never take it lightly.

I spoil, hug, kiss and love them every minute I see them. When I am not with them, I text, call and love facetime!

Getting older isn’t so bad. Not when precious little ones make life worth living.

Tomorrow, for my birthday, I get to spoil them some more. And they will spoil me too!

I am spoiled because they bring love and joy into my life.

God Bless Penelope and Rowen and the newest baby T coming soon! You will hear about the arrival when

it happens!

Have a great weekend all. And, when your birthday comes, cherish it. Another time around the sun is a blessing indeed!


My Many Hobbies

I believe life isn’t all about work. I think to be a well-rounded person, one should also have hobbies. I take time every day to enjoy my hobbies.

I love a good book. I am currently reading a book about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Who doesn’t know who they are? I still watch I Love Lucy reruns! I don’t normally buy books, but I did buy this one. It is titled Desilu, The Story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. I normally read romance novels. Not the disgusting kind that are all about sex! I don’t care to read about that! There is romance in the Desilu book. The book also details their rise to the top in the acting industry, their struggles professionally and personally, and their ultimate divorce. It is a very good book, with many photos of the couple, their children and their friends and co-workers. I find it fascinating. I also like a change in my normal reading. Two of my favorite authors are Nicholas Spards and Debbie Macomber. But, I have to admit, I get a little bored and have to find something different to read. I also enjoy books on history. I have two other books I have purchased that I plan to read next that involve history. I will share more about them when I read them.

I have many other hobbies I enjoy as well. Jeff and I love getting the boat out and going fishing! I can’t wait to go again this year. Catching fish is so much fun. But, I also cherish the time Jeff and I spend together, sitting in the boat talking, enjoying the lake and nature. I do have to admit, if we don’t catch fish, it isn’t quite as fun, but a day on the lake is priceless!

I also take walks, getting some exercise and looking at the trees, flowers, and nature popping colors all over! Jeff and I have hummingbird feeders hung up outside. We enjoy watching them when they come back each year. The way they can fly backwards amazes me. They are very quick too!

My favorite hobby is crocheting. I have mentioned this before. I can’t believe all of the things I have made from yarn! The possibilities are endless. Recently, I finished two baby blankets. I will share photos of them at a later date, after the mommies-to-be receive them when their bundles of joy are born. There are times though when a big project gets boring. Crocheting a blanket takes a considerable amount of time. Sometimes I just have to put it down and crochet something smaller. Thanks to google, I can find many patterns to choose from. I crocheted two bracelets and two shower/bath poufs in no time! The picture of the bracelets doesn’t really do them justice. They are quite beautiful. The first one I made turned out quite large for my small wrists, so I may be gifting it to someone. I improvised and made a smaller one that fits me. It is called a bobble bracelet. I learned a new stitch when I made them too. The shower/bath poufs were very simple to make. The pattern called for two single crochet stitches in each stitch all the way around. For the second one that has more blue colors throughout it, I decided to try three single crochet stitches in each stitch around. I like how they both turned out! I may keep them both for myself! Next time I go shopping, I am going to purchase more yarn and make a couple more I can gift!

Whatever your hobbies are, take time to enjoy them. Life goes too fast! Enjoy each moment. Don’t just work…….take time to LIVE!

Have a great rest of your week!

The shower/bath poufs and bracelets I crocheted. All photos credit of Denise Gilliland, Editor and Chief, Kat Country Hub.

Senator Hansen’s “Cottage Foods” Bill Up For Debate Soon

Greetings to all in District 16 and the surrounding region.  As the recovery from the flooding progresses I want to thank all the volunteers who’ve donated time, money, and resources to the victims of the flooding.  I’ve seen many stories on social media and in the newspapers about the incredible support pouring into Nebraska from around the country.  Times like these are good reminders that treating people with love, respect, and dignity is still the foundation of our culture.  I hope you all are as encouraged as I am by the response people have had to those affected by the flood.  We are all truly blessed to live in America, and specifically Nebraska!

This was the final week of public hearings in the legislature.  I greatly enjoyed being part of the Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Business and Labor Committees this year.  In each of these committees, I was able to utilize my education and experience to represent the many interests of our district.  It was a great learning experience and I am excited about serving on these committees during the next session.

Since committee hearings have wrapped up for the year we will move to full days of debate starting on April 2nd.  Though we’ve accomplished a fair amount so far, we have quite a ways to go before the session ends on June 6th.  We can expect the remainder of the session to filled with debate on property tax relief, corrections issues, industrial hemp, a new business tax incentive package, and budget issues.  The Revenue Committee has yet to release its package of property tax relief bills and neither has the Appropriations Committee released its proposed state budget.  These two topics alone will be the subject of vigorous and extended debate.  On the floor this week I made a statement about the time that is wasted in the Legislature when we could be discussing important topics like property tax relief.  I’m hopeful we can begin discussing tax relief soon now that committee hearings have ended.

My priority bill, LB 304, will be up for debate soon on the floor.  Though I wrote about it briefly in last week’s column, I want to refresh everyone a bit.  This bill is referred to as a “cottage foods” bill and would allow producers to sell the same low-risk cottage foods already sold at farmers markets from their homes or at other events.  The foods sold must be shelf-stable baked goods or other products not required to be time or temperature controlled.  To bring this bill out of committee, I worked on an amendment that would require producers to take and pass a food handler’s class, have their well water tested if served by a private well, and register with the Department of Agriculture.  By including these non-burdensome requirements, I was able to ensure senator and stakeholder concerns were met and there was no opposition to the bill.  I expect this bill will face little opposition during debate, and I’m excited about the positive effect it will have for many constituents in District 16.

If you have questions or comments, please contact the District 16 office at (402)-471-2728 to speak with my Administrative Assistant, Ellie Stangl; or my Legislative Aide, Jacob Campbell.  You can also email me at  To follow along with the session please visit or you may watch the live stream when available at


NDOT Holding Open House Meetings

The Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) will be holding open

house meetings in communities impacted by the severe flooding that occurred earlier this month.

Representatives from the NDOT will provide updates on transportation-related response and recovery

efforts in the area and will answer questions.  All members of the public are welcome and encouraged

to attend.


Meeting dates/times and locations for the open houses include:


Wednesday, April 3, 10:00 – 11:30 am: Ponca Tribal Headquarters (2523 Woodbine Street,

Niobrara, NE 68760)


Friday, April 5, 10:00 – 11:30 am: Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center

(701 E Benjamin Ave, Norfolk, NE 68701)





Vicki Kramer, (402) 479-4512,


Bonnie D. (Giles) Crippen, 87, of Tekamah NE

Bonnie D. (Giles) Crippen found peace Monday, April 1,2019 at the Crowell Home in Blair, Nebraska.

Bonnie was born June 4, 1931 in rural Tekamah, Nebraska to Darious and Pearl (Price) Giles. She attended country school and graduated from Tekamah High School in 1950. She married Sidney Crippen of Lyons, Nebraska on October 12, 1950. Three children were blessed to this union: Cheri, Teresa and Dee. Bonnie and Sidney lived in Tekamah, Blair, Stanton, Niobrara; for many years they worked as “Relief Managers” for Motel 6.

She worked as a housewife, waitress, nursing assistant and restaurant owner. Bonnie enjoyed cards, casino games, dancing and roller skating when she was young. Additionally, she loved visiting and being with her children.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Darious and Pearl; sisters, Daphne and Carma; brothers, Bobbie and Lonnie.

She is survived by her children: Cheri (Randy) Gregg of Seattle, WA, Teresa (Terry) Hanzlik of Omaha, NE and Dee (Laurie) Crippen of Fort Calhoun, NE; 6 grandchildren; 7 great grandchildren; sisters, Linda Caldwell and Wanda Blankenbeckler; brother, Kenny Giles; a host of relations and friends.

Private family services will be held. Burial at a later date.
Burial is in the Tekamah Cemetery, Tekamah NE.
Memorials suggested to:


245 South 22nd Street
Blair, NE 68008


11207 West Dodge Road
Suite 250
Omaha, NE 68154
Pelan Funeral Services in Tekamah is in charge of arrangements.


Bonnie Crippen

Ewald O. Dahlquist, 93, of Oakland NE

Ewald O. Dahlquist, age 93, of Oakland, Nebraska passed away April 1, 2019 at St. Joseph’s Hillside Villa in West Point, Nebraska. Funeral services will be Saturday, April 6, 2019, 10:30 am, at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oakland. Burial with Military Honors will be in the Oakland Cemetery. Visitation will be held Friday, from 5-7 p.m. with family receiving friends at Pelan Funeral Services in Oakland. Visitation will also be held at the church one hour prior to service. Memorials to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Oakland. Pelan Funeral Service in Oakland in charge of arrangements.

Ewald O. Dahlquist was born October 26, 1925 to Oscar and Ester (Svensson) Dahlquist in Oakland, Nebraska. He passed away April 1, 2019 at St. Joseph’s Hillside Villa in West Point, Nebraska, at the age of 93 years.

Ewald was baptized and confirmed at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oakland. He graduated from Oakland High School in 1943. He farmed and fed cattle in partnership with his father, Oscar, and later with his son, Ken.

In January 1951, Ewald entered the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. He was assigned to 793rd FA Battalion, HQ Battery. In 1952, his unit was alerted to Germany as occupation forces. He returned to the U.S. in December 1952 and was honorably discharged in January 1953.

Ewald returned to the farm to help his father. On August 2, 1953, he was united in marriage to Patricia Mattson. To this union were born three children:  Don, Nancy and Ken.

Ewald served on the Palmquist School #33 school board. He served two terms on the church council. He also served with the Burt County Farm Bureau, Burt County ASC Committee, and as a Burt County Senior 4-H Council Member. He was a leader in both beef and horse 4-H clubs. He was a lifetime member of VFW Post No. 5543. Ewald served on the Burt County Fair Foundation and the Farmers Co-Op and Agland Co-Op Boards and was honored with the Joe Roh award.

In 1978, Ewald began spending time in Arizona during the winter months. He began staying for a month and gradually increased his stay to five months.

He was preceded in death by his wife Patricia, his parents; sister, Bernice (Eddie) Naggatz

He is survived by his daughter, Nancy (Mack) Cameron of Herman, NE; sons: Don (Rochelle) Dahlquist of Lincoln and Ken (Cindy) Dahlquist of Oakland; grandchildren: Lance Dahlquist, Lacie (Joe) Potts, Layne Dahlquist, and Nick (Emily) Dahlquist, Ellie Marvin and Jake Marvin; sister-in-law, Betty Mattson; niece, Sandra (Dick) Wals; nephews: Steve (Sharon) Mattson and John Mattson and their families.

Ewald Dahlquist

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