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This week included legislative days 33 through 36, taking us just over the halfway point in this short, 60-day session. Besides the typical business of hearings that ended Tuesday and moving to full days of debate on the floor, it was a wonderful week. I was able to see and welcome many constituents who came to Lincoln for meetings and celebrate Nebraska’s 151st year as a state! We were very grateful for those from the district who came to pray with and for us. Pastor Coral Parmenter and Reverend Les Parmenter served as Chaplains of the day Monday and Tuesday while Pastor Allison Siburg served as Chaplain of the day Thursday.
Monday, February 26th was Northeast Nebraska Day at the Capitol. Many constituents from District 16 and other Northeast Nebraska districts attended day-long meetings learning about this session and sharing conversations with their Senators. On the floor, we debated legislation introduced by Senator Howard prohibiting medical practitioners from prescribing opioid pain relievers to individuals under 19 years of age for periods of more than 7 days at a time. The bill, which moved on to Select File, addresses the growing opioid crisis around the country.
The General Affairs committee received testimony on LB747, a bill introduced by Senator Thibodeau to regulate bottle clubs. The bill would add a new definition for bottle clubs, requiring them to obtain the necessary licensing to serve alcoholic liquor and follow state regulations. Currently, establishments that would fall under the new definition of a bottle club allow patrons to bring their own alcohol and are relatively unregulated. The changes would ensure these establishments operate under similar regulation as Nebraska restaurants and bars in regards to alcohol being served or consumed. LB747 has eight cosigners including myself.
On Tuesday, February 27th the League of Municipalities hosted a luncheon where I was able to spend the noon hour with our Mayors and representatives from District 16 learning more about legislation they support or oppose. Occasions such as this are extremely valuable for elected officials, providing us with opportunities to discuss the concerns and needs of our constituents.
We began full days of debate for the rest of the session on Wednesday, February 28th advancing five bills to Select File. Speaker Scheer announced the potential for late nights as we attempt to address the many Senator, Speaker, and Committee priority bills this session. There are 107 bills that have been designated a priority of some sort, few of which have been addressed yet this session.
Thursday, March 1st several constituents, family and staff from NorthStar in West Point were in the Capitol for “Birthday Our Way” sponsored by the Nebraska Association for Service Providers discussing their concerns and needs for those with disabilities in regards to pending legislation.
On the floor Thursday, debate centered on LB117 introduced by Senator Hilkemann to allow eligible patients to be treated with any drug, biological product, or device that has successfully completed Phase 1 of a clinical trial but has not yet been approved for general use by the USFDA. Commonly referred to as “right to try” legislation, the bill moved to Select File after vigorous debate surrounding the consumer protection provisions in the bill and its constitutionality.
Tuesday, March 6th we convened after recess days on Friday and Monday. Please contact me; my Administrative Aide, Courtney McClellen; my Legislative Aide, Jacob Campbell; or the Agriculture Committee Research Analyst, Rick Leonard, with questions or concerns at (402) 471-2728, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit my office, Room 1022, in the Capitol. If you would like to follow the Legislature online please visit netnebraska.org and click on the “Live & On Demand” button or simply follow this link http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/television/live-demand-state-government