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SINCE LAST WEEK…
This was officially the final week of the 2019 Legislative session. It has been a lot of hard work but the legislature as a whole has accomplished a great deal. That doesn’t mean that our work is done by any means. We simply enter a new phase. My office actually started the hunt for bill topics earlier this spring and now we’ll be ironing out the details and deciding what to bring in January. If you have a topic you think needs to be looked into, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. The sooner the better, as I like to make sure we have our ducks in a row before the session begins.
What we passed in 2019
In total, we had eight of my bills passed and become law and a ninth bill was amended into another and is on its way to the Governor’s desk for signature.
LB15: This is a bill that will require insurance companies to cover hearing aids and hearing aid fitting and repair for children who would not be covered otherwise as long as the cost of the device and services doesn’t surpass one percent of a company’s total premiums collected.
LB11: Allows for counties and municipalities to enter into interlocal agreements with the aim of forming a cooperative action to abate, remove, or prevent nuisances. The goal is to allow for shared resources ultimately saving taxpayer dollars.
LB8: This is a bill that allows for physician medical directors to use flashing lights when they are en route to an accident, so they can also arrive in a timely manner and continue to improve emergency protocol to protect our residents. In order to qualify for this bill, they would have to receive a safety certification and have it approved by the sheriff of the county where they operate.
LB6: This allows the dependents of an active duty military member to receive in-state tuition rates to Nebraska colleges as long as they lived in the state when they were accepted for admission; even if they have since moved out of Nebraska.
LB115: This law makes it so that if a military family is planning on moving into Nebraska and they have a child that is going to be attending public grade school here, they can start the enrollment process before they have actually established residency. In other words, it makes sure that children of military families are not having to sit out a semester and wait simply because of red tape nor miss out on opportunities that pertain to curriculum or extracurricular activities.
LB7: Defines what is an acceptable airbag to be installed in your car and creates penalties if a person or company intentionally install a counterfeit airbag. There have been cases around the country where criminals have literally replaced an airbag with a trash bag full of random hunks of scrap. People can be seriously injured or even die if they get into an accident and these counterfeit airbags are deployed. Bottom line is that it holds bad guys accountable and protects unknowing consumers.
LB12: This allows for active duty military members and their spouses to waive the licensing fee for becoming a realtor in Nebraska, as long as they are already a licensed realtor in another state.
LB138: This creates several new medals of honor license plates for those who served in Iran, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf War, the Vietnam War and the Global War on Terror. In addition to these plates, it also creates a “Support Our Troops” plate that anyone cam purchase. The proceeds from the Support Our Troops plates will go toward a new fund that is created to help recruit and retain retiring military to live, work and stay in Nebraska.
LB13: This bill, which was amended into LB209, eliminates breastfeeding women from Nebraska’s public indecency laws. Considering all the science that proves the importance of breastfeeding, Nebraska owes it to mothers to make sure they are getting their children the nutrition they need without fear of being publicly shamed or cited. LB209 passed final reading on Thursday and is expected to be signed by Governor Ricketts in the next few days.
First up for 2020
There are still three bills I introduced this session that have been voted out of committee but that we didn’t have the time to get to this year. These are still alive and at the front of the line for debate when we kick off 2020 next January.
LB137: This bill makes it so that any Daily Fantasy Sports Contest company that is operating in Nebraska has to register with the state and pay a $10,000 registration fee. They would then have to pay an annual fee to continue doing business here. That fee would be six percent of their gross receipts for the previous 12 months. This is something that could end up being quite a revenue generator for Nebraska should it pass. Since these companies are already here and doing business, they should be regulated.
LB594: My truth in meat advertising bill simply makes sure that a company that is selling a vegetarian alternative to a meat patty or hot dog does not label their food as “meat-product.”
LB9: Dealing with Digital Ledger Technology, this would make sure that cities and counties cannot tax the tech beyond what the state has taxed it at. This isn’t the kind of thing we need to have a patchwork of laws covering.
Milk is Milk
Another piece of legislation that passed this session, somewhat in the vein of my LB594 was LR13. Brought by Senator Murman, this is kind of a truth in milk advertising piece that asks the federal government to craft better, more restrictive language so that Almond Milk is not passed off as a product that contains dairy milk in it. I cosponsored this because I believe companies should not be attempting to mislead consumers.
Reducing the burden on Veterans
One other bill that will be among the first we take up in 2020 will be LB153. Brought on behalf of Governor Ricketts’, Senator Brewer and I )and others) cosponsored this bill because we need real reform when it comes to the retirement benefits of our military families.
The bill repeals what we currently have in place for military retirement in Nebraska with a 50 percent across the board exemption on retirement pay. This is on General File and will be taken up next session. I’ll be fighting to make sure it passes.
Senator Halloran’s LB693 is a bill that passed earlier this month that I cosponsored that has to do with phone spoofing. The law means that people (generally scammers and telemarketers) cannot call from outside Nebraska but use technology that makes it look as though it’s based inside our state. Their hope, when they use this technology is that people will be more likely to answer the call if they think it’s a local number.
The above three bills referenced are just part of a long list of legislation I’ve cosponsored this year. The Speaker of Legislature talked in his farewell address for the session about the need for State Senators to trust each other and work together in a bipartisan fashion. Those are principles I’ve always believed in and practiced.
Friends, please take a moment and review the information below. I’m hosting the ONLY showing of this movie in Nebraska.
It’s a small theater and there are only 60 seats left. An individual ticket is only $13.38 each. The event will be held at Village Pointe Cinema located at 304 N. 174th St on June 12th @ 6:30 p.m ONLY!
You MUST order your tickets in advance. After the movie, we will have a live discussion from Washington DC with other participants across the US on this ONE DAY ONLY nationwide screening of the film. We will have handout materials after the film. NOTE: Fun fact, a woman from Norfolk, Nebraska was one of the travelers.
Pledge to #ListenFirst by joining the movement to mend
the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides
one conversation at a time
The Listen First Project (LFP) seeks to encourage conversations that prioritize understanding and help build trust and cooperation among schools, workplaces and society as a whole. LFP consists of 225 partner organizations and thousands of individuals with the National Conversation Project.
I am honored to be included among the list of cultural influencers who have joined the #ListenFirst movement and are recognized as Listen First Leaders by LFP. Among those recognized alongside me are: Dominique Wilkins, Bret Baier, Michael Steele, Van Jones, Katie Couric Robyn Tannehill and Senator Carol Blood. Listen First is nonpartisan and never endorses or campaigns for any candidate or issue.
ROCKING IT FOR RECOVERY – TOMORROW!
Fun and Fundraising for Knights of Columbus and Catfish Lake Flood Recovery
MEET OUR TEAM