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Greetings District 18!
It’s quite amazing how fast the last couple months have gone by! Nebraska weather has gone from winter to spring, and back to winter again. I hope you are all keeping warm and sticking to your new years’ resolutions!
A lot has been happening here in the Legislature. Two of my bills were signed into law by the Governor this week- LB751 & 771, which were both cleanup bills relating to the banking industry. I’ve also brought back my bill to exempt citizens from state tax on Social Security benefits- LB749. This bill has some significant changes from my LB165 bill last year. In an attempt to address some of the concerns from this year’s budget shortfall, LB749 would put citizens’ tax exemptions into a “tiered system,” with those receiving under $75,000 a year in benefits a full exemption from the state tax.
I’ve also brought LB906 to the Legislature this year, which would provide tuition assistance to police officers, who are in constant need of new training and educational advancement to stay up to date with modern law enforcement practice. Another one of my bills which has garnered some attention, LB750, also called the “Whistleblower” bill, would provide protections to nurses who report unethical or illegal conduct by medical professionals. Already, nurses are required by their Hippocratic Oath as well as Nebraska state law to report any conduct which could put their patients’ lives in jeopardy.
There have been some big issues debated in the Legislature, such as Sen. Tyson Larson’s LR26CA, which was a Constitutional amendment that would be put to a ballot for the citizens to decide. This Constitutional amendment would have lowered the minimum age to run for public office in Nebraska to 18. Although the bill failed to get enough votes to advance, there was rigorous debate on both sides with lots of good discussion. A bill which gained wide approval and was signed into law was LB471, introduced last year by my colleague Sen. Sara Howard. This bill would help combat the opioid epidemic in Nebraska by requiring providers and prescribers to participate in a database used to prevent this epidemic.
There will be some big issues expected to come up in the following month, such as LB891 by Sen. Lydia Brasch called the “Down Syndrome Diagnosis and Info Act.” This bill will provide parents with crucial information on what to do if their baby is born at risk of Down Syndrome. Another big bill which is expected to garner a lot of debate is Sen. Dan Hughes’ “Anti-Hazing” bill, LB710, which would discourage fraternity organizations from engaging in inappropriate conduct as a part of their hazing practices.
There are lots of issues to debate and little time to do so, so the Legislature will be quite busy over the next month. Public hearings are expected to be finished by next week, and we will get into some late-night discussion on these issues. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact my office at 402-471-2618 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My door is always open. I look forward to hearing from you.
All the best,
Sen. Brett Lindstrom