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NEBRASKA’S HISTORIC FLOODING
I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to all of the Nebraskans impacted by the flooding and blizzard conditions this month. I am grateful for all of the hard work, generosity, and compassion from our first responders, our Nebraska National Guard, and the citizens who stepped up to volunteer their time, talent, and treasure. I also want to thank Governor Ricketts and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their work, and I stand ready with my colleagues in the Legislature to provide assistance. I know that Nebraskans are resilient, and we will rebuild.
I introduced LB160 this session to add early childhood infrastructure development to the list of projects available for economic development grants or loans. The bill passed in the legislature on March 15 and was approved by the governor on March 21. Early childhood care and education programs are important tools for communities. They can be utilized to attract new families in addition to ensuring parents have a safe place to take their kids in order to work.
NEBRASKA “KICK BUTTS” DAY
This month, I met with a group of impressive students from Grand Island representing No Limits, Nebraska’s first youth-led tobacco prevention movement, and I was honored to be a keynote speaker for their concluding rally. Thank you to No Limits for giving me the chance to hear a youth perspective on the problem of tobacco and vapor product use in our schools.
LB149 PRIORITIZED TO ADDRESS RISE IN TEENAGE USE OF TOBACCO AND VAPOR PRODUCTS
Due to the large number of bills submitted at the start of the legislative session, each senator gets to prioritize one bill in order to help get important issues to the legislative floor.
This year I prioritized my bill, LB149, in order to reduce the amount of young people who are using and becoming addicted to nicotine products. After working with Grand Island Public Schools, LB149 as advanced would raise the age of purchase and use of tobacco and e-cigarette nicotine products, would require retailers of these products to be licensed, and would include these e-cigarette products in the Clean Indoor Air Act so they couldn’t be used in public places or places of employment. Raising the age and licensing retailers will help keep these dangerously addictive nicotine products out of our children’s hands, and I think it is important to talk about on the floor this year.
Despite a decline in teen tobacco usage over the past two decades, recent reports show that e-cigarette and vapor product usage has rapidly grown among young people. A 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that e-cigarette usage from 2011 to 2017 increased by 680% among high school students and by 450% among middle school students.
In addition to being highly addictive, the nicotine contained in vapor products can have many harmful effects on young people specifically. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nicotine can harm the development of parts of the brain that help regulate adolescents’ attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
Unlike cigarettes, the vapor produced from an e-cigarette can be odorless, and e-cigarettes can come in a variety of shapes and sizes that can make them difficult to detect. Teachers and administrators across the state have brought attention to the growing problem of students using vapor products on school grounds. Grand Island Central Catholic recently banned students from bringing USB flash drives to school, due to the similar appearance flash drives share with certain vapor products.
We are facing the disturbing possibility of an entire generation of kids developing nicotine addiction that will last throughout their lives.
The time to act on this problem is now.
I spent much of the interim working with various stakeholders to make this legislation. I have continued to engage with these groups and the General Affairs committee which held the hearing for LB149, and I will fight for the strongest bill to advance to the governor to be signed into law.
LB149 was the first bill that I introduced this legislative session. I prioritized this piece of legislation because I do not believe the legislature can delay any longer to combat adolescent vapor product usage.
LB424 PRIORITIZED TO GIVE NEBRASKA COMMUNITIES AUTHORITY TO CREATE AND JOIN LAND BANKS
My colleague, Senator John Stinner of Gering, prioritized another one of my bills, LB424. LB424 would amend the Nebraska Municipal Land Bank Act to allow cities across the state to create and join land banks. A land bank is an important tool to empower our cities to clean up problem properties and put homes back on our tax rolls, and I appreciate Senator Stinner’s help in advancing this bill.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2019
Senator Quick introduces bill to provide restrictions relating to the sale and use of vapor products and flavored liquids
Statement from Senator Quick
LINCOLN, NE – Today, Senator Dan Quick introduced LB149, which would provide restrictions relating to the sale and use of vapor products and flavored liquids.
“Although many people may think that the use of vaping and e-cigarettes is primarily as a smoking cessation device for adults, the reality is that many teenagers and children are accessing e-cigarettes with nicotine and using them at alarming rates,” said Senator Quick.
“LB149 will combat this public health issue by restricting the purchase and use of vapor products and flavored liquids for youth under the age of 21. It will also license e-cigarette distributors the same way as traditional cigarette sellers and will add vapor products to the Clean Indoor Air Act. These changes are an important way to reduce the access to these harmful devices by our children.”
The legislation will ensure that vapor product retailers are licensed in the same manner as traditional nicotine products retailers. It will raise the age of purchase for e-cigarettes and vapor products to 21 and will prohibit those under 21 from being able to purchase flavored nicotine liquids used in e-cigarette and vapor products. It will also add these products to the Nebraska Clean Indoor Air Act, which will prohibit vaping and e-cigarette use in public spaces and workplaces.