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The third week of this short legislative session was a busy one for my office and the hard work has just begun. We had hearings on two of my bills this past week and I think both went well. The first bill was discussed in front of the Judiciary Committee and had to do with requiring the Nebraska Department of Corrections to do a comprehensive staffing analysis with an additional focus on mental health services staff.
LB692 follows through on recommendations made by the Legislature’s LR127 committee in their comprehensive report on the NDCS. I should point out that the Department has been asked to do a comprehensive staffing analysis several times but so far they have never completed it. Now the department believes it could cost up to $150,000 because they would need to hire an outside consultant. I don’t believe this kind of thing needs to be done by an outside entity, I believe the department can and should do it themselves. Ongoing staffing analysis is one of the keys to any organization’s future success and it is standard that they are done in-house. They are done in house because who knows the workforce and their needs better than those who work in that environment every day? I’ll continue to fight to get this bill out of the Judiciary committee. This is about the safety of everyone, from the guards and staff at correctional facilities to the inmates to the general public. This is a decades old issue that needs to be corrected with common sense policy.
On Thursday, my APRN compact bill, LB687 went in front of the HHS committee. This, too, is going to be a bit of a fight, mainly because the opponents of the bill have managed to sew a great deal of confusion surrounding the language. To be clear, LB687 would make it so that an APRN from one compact state could practice in another compact state quickly and easily. They would still have to follow the laws of the state in which they are treating patients. This is about mobility and not about expanding what an APRN is allowed to do, which opponents have claimed. I am confident that as we continue to work to show members of the legislature what’s at the heart of this bill, we will be able to move it forward. It’s important to get this, and my other two compact bills passed this year. Interstate Compacts such as this APRN compact and others make it easier for military spouses who transfer to our state to hit the ground running and find employment in a more efficient manner in their field of expertise.
Speaking of military spouses and their families, next week is going to be another busy week. In total, we will have five bills going in front of committees. This includes LB683, the Military Spouse Realtor’s License bill on Monday, my Military Medicaid Waiver bill (LB685) on Thursday and my Military Veteran Beginning Farmer Tax Credit bill (LB684) next Friday. I will also be discussing LB688 in front of the Judiciary committee. This bill allows children to bring sunblock to school and allows teachers or employees to help children put the sunblock on. Currently, most schools don’t allow kids to bring sunblock to school unless they have a note from their doctor. Considering the scourge that is skin cancer these days, this is a bill that is relatively simple but can make a big change and possibly save lives.
On top of all of this, we are still debating bills that were left over from the previous session on the legislature floor in the mornings. As state senators, we pack a ton of work into what is a relatively small window of time on these short (60 day) sessions.
Friday was the 11th day of this Legislative session. That means there are only 49 left to go. If you have any questions about my bills, or any legislation in front of the legislature, don’t hesitate to email or call my office.
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.