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Friday, March 31st marks the 57th day of the 105th Legislative Session. This week we moved into all day floor debate, which has resulted in a number of bills moving quickly through the first stage of the process. Once a bill has been voted on initially, it will still face two more rounds of voting before becoming a law.
This is both exciting and a bit overwhelming. Throughout the course of the week we have taken up more than 40 bills, not to mention dozens of amendments. I am learning a great deal every day.
This week has been especially gratifying in that I was able to put forward three of my legislative priority bills for debate by the body. I’m pleased to announce that this week I am 3-0 when it comes to my legislation passing.
First up was LB 506, which would adopt the Care and Compassion for Medically Challenging Pregnancies Act, which passed by a vote of 38-0.
As prenatal testing becomes increasingly routine and diagnostic methods have improved significantly over the last few years, more fetal anomalies are being detected. In these very rare, but tragic circumstances, parents are given minimal options. Perinatal hospice is an innovative and compassionate model of support for families who find out a pregnancy has a life-limiting condition. This support helps parents embrace whatever life their baby might be able to have and also enables families to make meaningful plans to honor their child.
My bill asks the Department of Health and Human Services to host on their website information that medical professionals may share with these parents. The purpose of this bill is to raise awareness of perinatal hospice care and provide readily available information to help women and families through one of life’s most difficult stages.
This bill was the result of a lot of hard work with multiple stakeholders, and I’m proud to have the support of groups such as the Nebraska Medical Association.
Next up was LB 172, which is a cleanup bill to Nebraska’s Employment Security Law which eliminates obsolete language and clarifies other provisions to make the law easier to understand, without making any substantive changes to the law. This was a needed modernization of the statute which is why I chose this bill as one of two priority bills from the Business and Labor Committee.
LB 172 passed 34-0, which I feel was a testament to the hard work by staff from the Department of Labor as well as my Legal Counsel Meghan Chaffee with my committee.
Immediately after LB 172, the Unicameral took up LB 276, which I brought on behalf of the Department of Agriculture. This bill updates sections of Nebraska law first adopted in the 1930s that deal with hybrid seed corn, specifically to include modern processes of producing hybrid seed corn.
Some of the methods listed in current statute are no longer used and other processes have emerged since the law was first written, necessitating a modernization of the language.
There is still some work to be done but this bill passed with strong support, 39-0.