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The second week of the legislative session was a short week as we recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year, the third Monday of January would have been Dr. King’s 89th birthday. With the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights leaders’ assassination this April, we realize the significant contributions Dr. King made in his short lifetime.
Thursday was the tenth and final day for bill introduction this session. There were 468 legislative bills and 9 constitutional amendments introduced this year. During this short 60-day session, it is unlikely that most of these bills will make it to floor debate without being prioritized by a Senator or Committee. A bill may also advance on the consent agenda, if it is not controversial and lacks opposition.
We also heard from Chief Justice Heavican on the State of the Judiciary on Thursday. He reported on efforts to make the state’s court and probation systems more effective. Chief Heavican also provided an update on new problem-solving and re-entry courts.
Last week, one of my colleagues introduced the Irrigation Tax Act, LB 1022. If enacted, farmers would pay a one cent tax for every 10 gallons of ground water used for irrigation. The proceeds would fund the School Aid Fund. Since it generates revenue, this legislation was referred to the Legislature’s Revenue Committee. While I do not serve on this Committee, please know that I strongly oppose this legislation and will work with my colleagues to defeat it should it make it out of the Committee.
This year I introduced thirteen bills including four dealing with retirement issues. Below is a summary of the bills I introduced. Please visit the Nebraska Legislature website if you would like more information about each bill at: www.nebraskalegislature.gov.
LB 698 Changes the Public Employee Retirement Board’s regulation-making authority to permissive for all the plans its administers
LB 699 Technical clean-up bill to insert language omitted from LB 415, which passed last year
LB 700 Removes the obligation of the Nebraska Investment Council to invest the University Trust Fund which is overseen and managed by the University of Nebraska
LB 701 Amends the Uniform Credentialing Act to establish a physician-patient relationship through telehealth
LB 702 Recognizes children covered under Medicaid and other needs-base health care programs
LB 703 Addresses a gap in our medical practice statutes to recognize physicians licensed in another state traveling to Nebraska accompanying a team for an athletic competition or other event
LB 704 Reduces the period of board approved post-graduate medical education requirements for individuals who attended foreign medical schools
LB 705 Changes licensure requirements for an esthetician and an esthetician instructor
LB 706 Clarifies licensing requirements for electrologists
LB 707 Changes provisions of the Uniform Standard Code for manufactured homes
LB 799 Clarifies language in the Surplus Lines Insurance Act
LB 1005 Establishes liability and costs for an entity that elects to withdraw from the County or School Employees Retirement Plan
LB 1127 Creates the Patient Safety Cash Fund
We are continuing to debate bills on General File from last year. Most of the debate this week involved LB 469, the Fantasy Contests Act, and LR 18CA, a constitutional amendment that would decrease the age of eligibility for public office. Both bills were filibustered and received extensive debate. They were both eventually defeated and are finished for the year.
As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. Please stop by any time. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Todd and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address any issues that you may need assistance.