Week nine of the first biennium of the 105th Legislature consisted of days 36 through 40 of the 90-day session.
Monday, February 27 was the start of a full and hectic week in our office that included morning floor debates, afternoon committee hearings, an executive session in the Agriculture Committee, and my introduction of two bills on Friday, March 3: LB 309 to the Government Committee and LB 466 to the Health and Human Services Committee. LB 309 exempts Nebraska from participating in daylight saving time. LB 466 seeks to eliminate one of the barriers (the integrated practice agreement) for certified nurse-midwives to practicing in Nebraska. This change would bring Nebraska in agreement with 28 other states who do not impose this burden on certified nurse-midwives. Introducing two bills in the same day can be logistically difficult. Sometimes a senator will have their legislative aide introduce one of their bills for them, but the timing worked out so that that was not needed. Due to me introducing two bills on Friday, I was present in the Revenue Committee for only one bill presentation. It made for a late evening, and my drive home to the farm on Friday was with the setting sun.
On Wednesday, March 1 Nebraska celebrated our 150th birthday as a state. The celebration took place in the Norris Chamber. All committee hearings were held in the morning so the afternoon would be available for the celebration. To begin the ceremony, the head of Nebraska’s Executive Branch, Governor Pete Ricketts, the Chief Justice of the Nebraska Supreme Court, Mike Heavican, and Nebraska’s Secretary of State, John Gale, were escorted into the chamber. Governor Ricketts gave a speech honoring Nebraska’s rich cultural heritage and our people’s work ethic, the Chief Justice discussed our people’s longstanding dedication to equality before the law, and Secretary Gale praised Nebraskans’ commitment to their free and fair election process. Grade school students sang songs, and Hannah Huston, a finalist on the Voice, sang the National Anthem. A poem written by Twyla Hansen — a native of Lyons, Nebraska, located in District 16 — was also read aloud for all to hear. Celebrations will continue throughout the year. For more information go to: https://ne150.org.
On Thursday I will be introducing LB 67 to the Judiciary Committee. This bill is titled the “Fair Repair Act.” Put simply, this bill is about ownership. When you, the consumer, purchase equipment, no matter what it is, you should have the right to maintain, repair, and legally modify the equipment, and no license agreement should restrict your access to do that. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are selling equipment in the sale contract and then essentially “un-selling it” in their end use license agreement or something similar. Anything that is sold to you that is subject to a license is not solely your property — it is basically a bag of parts wrapped in a license dictating where, when, and how you can maintain, repair, or legally modify it. If LB 67 passes, Nebraska will be the first state to pass this legislation, and it would have a domino effect nationwide. This legislation will positively impact all consumers, of all ages and income levels, by adding competition to the electronic repair market, and by paving the way for more innovation. I did not realize how important this legislation is nationally, until Apple sent lobbyists to my office to oppose it. In fact, a reporter from The Guardian flew in from San Francisco on Wednesday to interview me about the legislation. Reporters from Reuters, Popular Mechanics, the Boston Globe, Motherboard, Inc. Magazine, BuzzFeed, and the Journal Star have also interviewed me. I invite you to come testify on Thursday.
Please contact me; my administrative aide, Courtney McClellen; my legislative aide, Brett Waite; or Rick Leonard, the Research Analyst; with questions or concerns at (402) 471-2728 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or stop by Room 1022 (please note we have changed office location, two doors south of previous office) if you are in the State Capitol. If you would like to follow the Legislature online you can visit http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government. Live broadcasting is also available on NET2.