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This column covers legislative days 21 through 24.
We were able to get a considerable amount of work done in the Capitol last week by moving through quite a few bills that had remained on General File from the last session. These are bills that have not been designated as senator priority bills but did not receive floor debate last year. We continue to hold floor debate in the mornings, reserving the afternoon for committee hearings.
Thursday, February 13th was a big day for bills I introduced last session. LB 312 is a bill I introduced that would allow dental hygienists to perform procedures within their current scope of practice in rural health settings. I’m very excited about the opportunities this bill will create for hygienists to live where they want while still using the skills they learned through their specialized education. As I’ve said in past columns – we have a shortage of dental hygienists in rural Nebraska, and I think this bill will help.
LB 381, a bill I introduced last session to allow the state to use a “per-diem” reimbursement method for state employees passed on final reading. Moving to a per-diem method of expense reimbursement will save the taxpayer money by saving state workers time. It has been introduced in the past but always fell short of being implemented and I’m confident that this is the year it will be signed into law. This is a good step for the efficiency of government that I was happy to lead across the finish line.
I want to thank many of you for contacting our office last week. LB 58 is a bill introduced by Senator Morfeld of Lincoln that’s commonly referred to as a “red flag” law. This bill was recently voted out of committee onto General File and has the potential to become a priority bill. I’ve received more calls and emails about this bill than any other this session by far. Many of you are concerned about an infringement on our 2nd Amendment rights as established by the U.S. constitution. I am too. Others were concerned about what would happen when, as the bill requires, law enforcement would remove guns from an individual’s home. I am too. Please rest assured that I do not support LB 58 and will fight it on the floor if it comes to it. A related bill, LB 816 introduced by Senator McCollister of Omaha, has gotten a lot of attention from many of you as well. As with the “red flag” bill, if LB 816 comes to the floor I will fight it.
Looking ahead, February 21st is the last day to choose committee and senator priority bills; February 27th is the final day of committee hearings and full days of debate begin on March 3rd. As always you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the office to speak with my Administrative Assistant, Ellie Stangl, or my Legislative Aide, Jacob Campbell. To read all introduced legislation please visit nebraskalegislature.gov. You may watch the live stream of the session when available at netnebraska.org