Posted by Clark Kolterman on Jan 06, 2019

Senator Mark Kolterman of Seward, the Nebraska State Senator representing District 24, was the featured program at the January 2, 2019 Seward Rotary meeting. His twin brother, Clark Kolterman, with program co-chair Kevin Zadina, introduced him to the Rotary membership. 

Kolterman was reelected in November to his second four year term in the Nebraska Legislature. The legislative session begins January 9th and goes through mid-June of 2019.  Currently, Senator Kolterman serves on the Health and Human Services Committee (HHS), the Banking, Commerce and Insurance 

Committee (BCI), the Committee on Committees Committee and chairs the Retirement Committee. These assignments may change as he is seeking to move from the HHS Committee to the Appropriations Committee this upcoming session.

Property taxes, education, Medicaid and prison reform are the top four legislative issues Kolterman expects to see in 2019. 

Kolterman believes that property tax is in need of reform because the agriculture sector is paying an inappropriate amount of the property taxes.  He believes the Legislature also needs to examine ways to revamp education funding to seek a more equitable way to distribute state funds.  He noted that another major challenge will be the funding of Medicaid expansion enacted by voters in 2018. The expansion is expected to require an estimated increase of $20 to $80 million in funding due to the additional people qualifying for coverage.  This will affect the State of Nebraska’s budget tremendously.  He noted Nebraska’s state budget is currently running about $95 million short. He commented that the state’s economy is directly related to the Ag economy and commented on the current Advantage Act and the implications of the act.

“We have the ability to work together to accomplish our goals,” stated Senator Kolterman, “and I hope we can do just that - get to work and cooperate!” 

Kolterman feels the thousands of specific tax exemptions needs to be reviewed and revised because the exemption list is too long. He addressed imperfections related to the current assessment and earmarks of fines and fees. He stressed the difficulty in raising fees and cited several examples of attempts to raise fees that did not generate the intended change. 

The final major thrust will be reforming correctional services in the State of Nebraska while maintaining overall public safety.  Prison overcrowding has become a major issue over the past few years and needs to be addressed before the situation becomes critical.  

He was most proud of his work with the NeHii program – Nebraska Health Information Initiative – and detailed the specifics on this health communication effort, created by a group of organizations working together to make it a reality. Because of NeHii, they can now successfully relay and communicate health care information and drug record information for patients across Nebraska in one common form of communication.

Senator Kolterman has prepared 20 bills for the approaching legislative year, and he hopes to co-sponsor many others. One of his priority retirement bills calls for a study to examine transferring management of the Omaha School Employees Retirement System to the Public Employees Retirement Board that administers all the other state-wide retirement systems.  The Omaha School Plan turned their retirement system investments over to the Nebraska Investment Council system to manage in 2017.  The Council invests all all the state-wide pension funds. The statewide School Employees Retirement Plan is currently funded 89% and OPS the Omaha School Plan is currently funded at 64%.

The relationship with the education circles is very important to Senator Kolterman, as he is very pro-education. He discussed his legislation from 3 years ago, promoting equality between the private colleges and public universities and feels that the Nebraska student attending any college in Nebraska should have similar funds available to them.

Kolterman stressed that he believes the real challenge is the rural vs the urban lifestyles and shared some of the difficulties in making changes in the government at the State level.

Senator Kolterman serves Seward, York and Polk counties, and concluded his speech by commenting on 

some funny happenings and situations in dealing with his constituents of the 24th District.  He encourages communication with his constituents and suggested they call his office at 402-471-2756, or email him at or write him at Senator Mark Kolterman, District 24, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509.  

The meeting concluded with questions and answers by Senator Kolterman.