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We are in our second week of the 105th Legislative session and have hit the ground running. We have started to address the bills that made it to General File in the last session to get them off our plates before we move on to new legislation presented over the first ten days. I have two more bills that were voted out of committee last year sitting in General File and waiting for debate on the floor. It’s possible we’ll get to debate at least one of them next week.
The beginning of the legislature is also when Governor Ricketts gives his State of the State address. This year he focused heavily on making sure that Nebraska is open and welcoming to new business ventures. I believe I have brought several bills this year that underline exactly what he was talking about. I have three virtual currency bills that are aimed at making sure we are on the cutting edge when it comes to intersecting the technological and business worlds.
The Governor also talked about continuing the state’s push for removing red tape and allowing for people who want to work to get to work faster. I brought several of these types of bills last year and I’ve brought more this year as well. The Governor and I are in full agreement that if someone is truly qualified to work in their field of choice, the state shouldn’t be standing in the way.
Listed below are the new bills I have introduced in 2018 and links to the text. Please be sure to call my office at 402-471-2627 and speak with me or Oliver should you have any questions about the legislation:
LB 681-Adopt the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact: This is very similar to my nursing compact from a year ago. It allows physical therapists from compact states to come into Nebraska and practice here without applying for an entirely new license. Should it pass, this will be a good tool for helping military spouses who are therapists who want to get to work as soon possible.
LB 682-Provide consumer protection and civil relief for service members and provide a duty for active duty military and the National Guard: This bill would make it so that an active duty member of the military or National Guard that receives order to move out of Nebraska may do so without having to worry about paying early termination fees on contracts for services like cable, phone or gym memberships. It’s only fair that if a service member has no choice in their deployment, he or she should not be held accountable for the decisions of their superiors.
LB 683-Provide a license fee exemption for service members and their spouses under the Nebraska Real Estate License Act: Like the compacts, this would allow a service member or their spouse, who are licensed realtors in another state, to be able to be licensed in Nebraska right away without paying the licensing fee. We already have our hearing date for this bill, and it will be on January 22nd.
LB 684-Change the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act: This would create
an incentive for property owners to rent land or assets to beginning veteran farmers. The
proposal would make asset owners eligible for a one percent tax credit for land or assets leased
to a qualified beginning veteran farmer.
LB 685-Provide a funding priority for special-needs military dependents under the Developmental Disabilities Services Act. This would specifically add dependents of active duty military members who are severely developmentally disabled to the list of treatment priorities kept by the DHHS. In essence, this would allow prioritized treatment for those who need it most but are not covered by Tricare. We were very careful to make sure this isn’t coming at the detriment of others who also need services.
LB 686-Adopt the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact. This is much like my nurses compact in LB88 last year, though it applies to psychologists. This bill will also go the extra mile in moving Nebraska forward when it comes to telemedicine.
LB 687-Adopt the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Compact. Also like LB88, but with a different group of nurse licenses.
LB 688-Provide for the possession, use, and application of sunscreen for children and students and provide immunity. This would allow for kids to bring sunscreen to school and would allow teachers or school workers to help apply that sunscreen if needed, as long as there is a note from the parents and protect them from liability unless there is criminal intent.
LB 689-This is a bill that fixes some language in state statute that the courts have been having to work around. It would make it so that juveniles who are convicted for sexual offenses outside the state that then move into Nebraska are treated the same as those who are convicted inside the state. This is simply a fairness of law situation.
LB 690-Adopt the Counterfeit Airbag Prevention Act is a bill that will make it a felony for repair shops to knowingly install counterfeit airbags into cars. This is a bigger problem than people realize around the country and we need to make sure the practice is stopped cold in Nebraska so we don’t have the sad case of having to name a future bill after a loved one who has been killed as a result of this practice.
LB 691-Adopt the Nebraska Virtual Currency Money Laundering Act and define and redefine terms under the Nebraska Money Transmitters Act. Virtual currency and the technology that comes along with it is the wave of the present and the future. We need to make sure we have both our hands around it. This is one of three blockchain technology bills I’m bringing forward. This one lays out what happens when someone is committing illegal acts such as human trafficking and money laundering with virtual currency such as Bitcoin.
LB 692-Provide for a staffing analysis of the Department of Correctional Services. This would require the department to carry out a workforce analysis on the entire organization with a focus on mental health staffing services by the end of this year, and then every two years after.
LB 693-Regulate and create criminal offenses regarding the use of unmanned aircraft systems. This is the drone bill you might have read about in numerous articles over the past couple of months. We’re looking to make sure that people are not using drones for criminal activity. This is a public safety bill and I would encourage you to read the document in its entirety. It’s another one that is technologically advanced and complicated, though those who have read it fully have come away understanding the need for it.
LB 694-Prohibit cities and villages and counties from taxing or regulating distributed ledger technology. This is my second of three blockchain technology bills and makes sure that Nebraska will be an attractive landing spot for entrepreneurs. We need to be sure that these business people are not running into a maze of different regulations put in place by cities and counties. Blockchain is going to revolutionize how we do business because they are precise, save money, save time, are autonomous, transparent, versatile and are very safe since they are encrypted on a shared ledger.
LB 695-Authorize and define smart contracts and authorize the use of distributed ledger technology as prescribed. The third and final blockchain technology bill deals with smart contracts. Smart contracts use code and math to decide if contract conditions are met. The funds are then transferred automatically. With the dawn of self-driving delivery vehicles, governments looking to streamline efficiency and save costs, banks looking for safer ways to do business and industries like healthcare and insurance, smart contracts are a fast moving reality in both business and government.
LB 735-Provide for interlocal agreements regarding nuisances. Currently, municipalities have the authority to regulate and enforce nuisances within their borders. This would build on this legislative authority by allowing municipalities to enter interlocal agreements with a county to provide for cooperative action to remove or prevent nuisances. Interlocal agreements have always been a great way to save manpower and funds here in Sarpy County.
Did you know that there is a long list of items available for free to the public relating to the Nebraska Legislature? Here is a list of only a few that you might find interesting. If you are receiving this email digitally, you should be able to link to the information from your newsletter.
For hard copies of these documents, please call my office at 402-471-2627 and we will be happy to place one in the mail to your home address.