This past week saw more bills introduced, and a little bit of action on the floor. Bills which were addressed on the floor included LB285, introduced by Sen. Riepe of Ralston. This bill tweaked some provisions related to local sports arena facility financing. It had no fiscal note, and I voted favor of moving it to Select file. This was the only bill we dealt with this week which was not filibustered.
The first filibuster of the session was on Sen. Watermeier’s LB47. LB47 would mandate the answering of question regarding anatomical gift/organ registry on driver’s license applications. That question is currently an optional question as we apply for driver’s licenses, and not answering does not affect whether one is issued a license. The bill advanced to Select file after 6 hours of debate. I voted NO on advancement because I believe that mandatory questions should be relevant to one’s ability to drive a car, and I don’t see how whether you answer “yes”, “no”, or “choose not to answer” on a question about organ donation is relevant to the ability to drive a car. I do not oppose added education about the issue, or having it as a question that is optional.
The second bill taken up (and filibustered) was Senator Larson’s LB619. LB619 would have defined poker as a game of skill, and allowed bars with liquor licenses to apply for special permits to have “poker rooms”. This bill was not without problems. Nebraska’s constitution prohibits the expansion of gambling through “games of chance.” Much of the debate revolved around the question of whether Poker was a game of chance (which would be unconstitutional), or a game of skill (which could theoretically be licensed and regulated). Ultimately, the cloture motion on this bill failed, which means that unless votes can be found, the bill is re-prioritized, and re-scheduled by the Speaker, it’s dead.
Finally, Senator Larson’s LB113 continues to be debated on the floor. It would allow correctional facilities (both state and county) to charge a co-pay of up to $10 to inmates for medical visits that are non-emergent, non-chronic care follow ups, and non-psychiatric in nature. The bill was brought to Senator Larson by a county sheriff in his district, who suggested that he was having to occasionally expend man hours and time in his department transporting prisoners to the doctor for “unnecessary” medical visits. This bill is in the process of being filibustered by Sen. Chambers, and will come up for a vote sometime on Tuesday when we return from the MLK break.
My office and I are back in the swing of the “session schedule”, and we’re happy to take your phone calls or email–or to meet with you when you’re in the Capitol. My office is Room 1110, inside the west doors of the Capitol. My office phone is 402-471-2711. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also sending out occasional–sometimes more detailed–email newsletters. If you’d like to receive those, you can sign up here: https://lauraebke.com/sign-up