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The 104th Session of the Nebraska Legislature is drawing to a close. For these past two years, I have served on the Education Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee.
In the education realm, I came into the 2016 legislative session believing the most imperative issue was changing the Learning Community provisions – especially eliminating the common levy. The Learning Community was created by the Nebraska Legislature and began on January 1, 2009. The Omaha Public Schools attempted to make all eleven school districts part of OPS under an old ‘one city – one school district’ law that had never been used in the past. The Learning Community accomplished the freezing of school district boundaries. However, the common tax levy proved to be untenable to the districts involved. In 2014 the member schools all agreed on changes that should be made. We failed to enact any of those changes in the 2015 legislative session. The eleven superintendents came to me in the summer of 2015 and asked me to use my influence to make important changes in the 2016 session. I was able to work this bill through the process and consider my involvement in the passage of LB 1067 my greatest accomplishment of the year.
In the Health and Human Services Committee, I introduced three bills, all of which passed. LB 722, my priority bill, establishes the Stroke System of Care Act. The main provision of this act establishes a statewide system by designating hospitals as a Comprehensive Stroke Center, a Primary Stroke Center or an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital. The purpose of the Act is to improve the overall outcomes of stroke patients.
LB 721 provides for the licensure of surgical first assistants who help the surgeon in the operating room. As the result of a credentialing review, referred to as the 407 process, completed by the Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Division in January, 2016, LB 721 was introduced. It creates a process for licensure of surgical first assistants and sets the education and training requirements. A grandfather clause allows former assistants to go through an approval process with the department to begin practicing again.
LB 899 brought Nebraska statues into compliance with lead free federal regulations regarding materials used in public water systems. The department has been in compliance with the new regulations for a few years but needed the state statute to mirror the federal law.
I appreciate that many of you reached out to my staff and me on issues that were important to you. On most of the significant issues, public opinion was divided and it was impossible to please everyone. We were always open to listening to the thoughts of District 30 citizens and those from all parts of Nebraska. Please continue to contact me over the summer and fall months if there are state government issues you want to discuss. firstname.lastname@example.org 402-471-2620.