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On Friday, May 31 the 106th Legislature First Session adjourned Sine Die. We are set to reconvene the Second Legislature Session in January of 2020. During the interim, Senators will focus on studies, researching future legislation, attending events and meetings in our home districts. Please do not hesitate to still reach out to my office, which will remain fully staffed throughout the interim.
In this week’s column, I wanted to recap my bills passed in this first session. Four of the five bills that I introduced or prioritized in this session, LBs 333, 399, 519, and 593, have been passed and signed into law.
LB 333 was a statutory maintenance of the Nebraska Milk Act. In short, this bill brought our pasteurized milk regulations back in line with updated federal regulations. This was a common-sense bill that passed with little opposition.
LB 399 was no small feat for the Legislature. Nebraska’s civics education statutes had not been changed since 1949. There have been many failed attempts to update these statutes throughout past sessions but we achieved a comprehensive overhaul in 2019. In summary, this bill updates outdated statutory language, adds modern holidays, and sets a minimum standard for civics education in our schools. School districts can choose one of three options for their students to complete prior to graduation, which include taking the civics portion of the naturalization test twice, student attendance or participation in a meeting of a public body with a project about the experience afterwards, or completion of a project or paper and a class presentation on a person, persons, or one of the holidays listed in the bill. LB 399 ensures that each student graduating from a Nebraska high school has a basic grasp of civics knowledge.
LB 519 was another step in the right direction for cracking down on human trafficking in Nebraska. The package, which was actually a set of three bills, extended the statute of limitations for human trafficking and child pornography, permits law enforcement agencies to wiretap suspected human trafficking rings, and outlines the damages that could be collected by a human trafficking victim in a civil suit. LB 519 also ensures human trafficking victims under the age of 19 are treated equally, regardless of whether they were trafficked by a parent, family member, or boyfriend.
LB 593, my priority bill for this session, will protect family farms and other properties from Medicaid liens. This bill is very technical and critically important. It relates to medical assistance recovery, would change and eliminate provisions relating to medical assistance reimbursement claims and liens, provide for retroactivity. The goal of this bill is to repeal provisions pertaining to the recovery of Medicaid costs.
As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln NE 68509-4604; telephone: 402-471-2733; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.