Week eleven of the first biennium of the 105th Legislature consisted of days 45 through 49 of the 90-day session.
On Monday and Tuesday the Legislature debated LB 368. This bill would have repealed Nebraska’s motorcycle helmet law. It would have allowed individuals, 21 years of age and older, to operate a motorcycle or a moped on any highway in Nebraska, provided they are wearing eye protection, such as sunglasses, that covers the orbital region of a person’s face. This year’s bill removed a provision – which was in last year’s bill – that would have required an extra $19 for those purchasing a motorcycle license to fund a brain injury trust fund. This bill did retain, however, on my insistence, the provision that prohibited children six years old and younger from being a passenger on a motorcycle. A motion for cloture to end debate fell one vote short. I voted for the cloture motion (to end debate) and would have voted to advance the bill if the cloture motion had been successful.
On Wednesday and Thursday we debated LB 62, which was on its second round of debate. This legislation repeals a statute, which was passed in 1919, that prohibits teachers in all public schools in the state of Nebraska from wearing any religious garb in the school or while engaged in the performance of their duty. Garb not only includes all types of clothing, but also any adornments such as necklaces, bracelets, or earrings. The bill overcame an attempted filibuster by a vote of 38-3. I voted for cloture and the bill.
On Thursday and Friday we debated LB 46, the bill that allows Nebraskans to purchase a specialty license plate. These specialty plates are designed to reflect support for the protection of unborn children and will be available in 2018. Seventy-five percent of the fee for these license plates will go to the Nebraska Child Abuse Prevention Fund. This bill also overcame an attempted filibuster and advanced to Final Reading by a vote of 35-8. I voted for cloture and in support of the bill.
On Thursday the Legislature also advanced LB 10 and 11 to Final Reading. LB 10 increases, by one, the number of judges of the separate juvenile courts in counties having 400,000 inhabitants or more, which have established a separate juvenile court. This increase will help with the backlog of juvenile court cases that has occurred in Douglas County. The intent of LB 11 is to make clear in our statutes that Nebraska’s young people, who are going through the juvenile court system, do not have to wait so long before they receive rehabilitative treatment. They sometimes have to wait up to a year or longer before they receive the help they need. That should be fixed under this bill. I voted to advance both bills.
On Friday we adopted the permanent rules, with no changes or amendments from last year’s rules. This was done so that we could end debate on the cloture rule and finish the session by focusing on the people’s business.
On Wednesday, March 15th we were pleased to welcome the fourth graders from Arlington Elementary School to the state capitol building. It was a joy to have them in my office and have the opportunity to speak with them about issues important to them. By their suggestion, we discussed extending a 4th graders’ recess time – not something the legislature can help with though.
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.