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We are halfway through the second session of the 106th Legislature. So far this year we have held floor debate in the mornings and had hearings for bills in their respective committees in the afternoon. I sit on the Banking, Insurance and Commerce Committee on Monday and Tuesday, and the Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It has been very rewarding to hear from testifiers and learn about bills in depth while in committee. I have also introduced my own bills during these public hearings.
In January, two of my bills had public hearings (LB846 and LB911) and the Legislature engaged in debate on one of my carryover bills from the previous legislative session (LB287). In February, committees held hearings on additional legislation I introduced that will specifically address the health and safety of Nebraskans.
On February 12th the Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing on LB840, a bill which would include electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) in the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act and ensure that ENDS devices cannot be used in public spaces or inside places of employment. I made LB840 my priority bill this year because I recognize the detrimental impact vaping will continue to have on our youth if it is not curtailed. There are adverse health effects associated with secondhand exposure to aerosol vapors, and this legislation is one important step in reducing the amount of nicotine and other dangerous chemicals emitted by ENDS devices in public spaces. The bill had its first round of debate on February 26th and was advanced to the second round. I look forward to working with my colleagues to strengthen and advance this bill in the coming weeks.
On February 20th the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on LB1048, a bill which creates the offense of sexual assault by a school employee and requires the Department of Health and Human Services to notify the Commissioner of Education if they are investigating a teacher for assault of a student. This legislation is important because it criminalizes school employees who groom and otherwise manipulate students in order to sexually assault them, and it also allows the Commissioner of Education to coordinate resources and investigate alleged instances of abuse. I appreciate the testifiers who came to share their stories with the Judiciary committee, and I will work with members of the committee to advocate for this change in policy to protect children in our schools.
On February 24th, LB424 was heard on the floor of the Legislature. LB424 is my carryover bill from last session, and it broadens the Nebraska Municipal Land Bank Act to allow cities throughout the state to create or join a landbank. Cities in Douglas and Sarpy County are currently the only areas that have access to this tool. This bill would also help cities address abandoned properties through the use of land banks, allowing them to simultaneously address workforce housing issues.
Legislation like LB424 will make neighborhoods safer by fixing dilapidated, unused buildings by expanding the opportunity to form land banks across the state of Nebraska. There will be further debate on LB424 this session, and I will continue to collaborate with stakeholders to advance this important tool for our municipalities.
As we head towards the second half of the legislative session and engage in all-day debate, I want to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have at email@example.com or at (402)-471-2617.