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This week was a busy one, as I had hearings on four different bills over the course of the week. I also officially chose my priority bill to be LB685 (Military Medicaid Waiver). I had originally planned for my priorities to be a combination of two of my smart contract and blockchain bills but I was informed there was not a likelihood that they would both get out of committee. The fact of the matter is that there is still a great deal of confusion over this technology (some confusion deliberately pushed by opponents) and it’s going to take some work to get that confusion cleared up. I feel this state needs legislation that will codify how digital ledger technology and everything that comes with it works and I’ll be bringing this issue back next session.
Having said that, LB685 is an important piece of legislation in its own right and I’ll be working hard to make sure that it gets across the goal line. LB 685 provides 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. I have talked to the Department of Health and Human services a number of times on this bill. The way it was explained to me, everyone starts at the bottom of the list of treatment priorities and then moves up the list depending on the services they require. This means that no one would “jump the line” under my bill, but they would have a better chance of getting the services they need.
We also had hearings on LB686 which is a Psychologist compact. This is much like my nurses compact in LB88 last year, though it applies to psychologists. This bill moves Nebraska forward in the areas of telemedicine. We also heard my drone bill. LB 693 regulates and creates 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 most who have read it fully have come away understanding the need for it. We have been very careful to protect the livelihood of Nebraska’s professional drone pilots. Finally, the Government committee heard LB 682 which provides consumer protection and civil relief for service members, 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 an 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. There is currently federal law that addresses much of this, but a loophole needed to be closed at the state level to be sure all are protected and the language catches up with current technology.
Next week is the final week of committee hearings and it is also when my final bill will be heard this year. LB 690 which adopts the Counterfeit Airbag Prevention Act is a bill that will make it a felony for repair shops to knowingly install counterfeit airbags into cars. The counterfeit industry is a $600 billion a year industry and it is thought to be more profitable than the sale of narcotics. 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.
On February 28, the Legislature begins having full-day debate so there is still plenty to do before we wrap up the Session in April. Monday will be the 33rd day of the session, so we have officially moved past the halfway point.
If you have any questions about my bills or any legislation in front of the legislature, please don’t hesitate to email or call my office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-471-2627.
There are currently many opportunities to serve on boards and commissions spanning a variety of open positions. This is a great chance to give back and be involved in our community. Application forms can be found and completed at https://governor.nebraska.gov/ under “Constituent Services.” If you feel so inclined and might be interested in serving, please review the opportunities that are available and consider sharing this message with others who might share this interest as well.
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.
Some of these links have documents that can be printed. If you would like a hard copy of one or more of these documents, please call my office at 402-471-2627 and we will be happy to place it in the mail to your home address.