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Last week, several bills that I support were passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor’s office for his signature. LB216 allows for specialty license plates for motor vehicles of any age that are being collected, preserved, restored, or maintained by the owner as a leisure pursuit and not used for general transportation of persons or cargo. LB427 includes provisions for commercial dog and cat breeders relating to licensing of breeders, the required veterinary care and disease control plan, and space in regard to primary enclosures and exercise areas. LB612 increases the statute of limitations for plaintiffs suffering injury from sexual assault as a child to 12 years after the individual’s 21st birthday. LB470 requires city or village approval of the personnel policies of public libraries, reading rooms, art galleries, or museums to address concerns with the city being liable for an employment decision made by a library or museum board. LB677 adds a new criminal charge specifically for assault in the first, second, and third degrees against a health care professional who is assaulted while on duty at a hospital or health clinic. These bills all include important statutory changes, and I voted to pass each of these.
The Legislature also took on several bills related to Nebraska’s child welfare system. Five bills, LB821, LB1160, LB949, LB820, and LB961, were discussed in turn and each advanced to the second round of debate. Collectively, these bills would accomplish the following: transfer case management of child welfare cases to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and away from the private lead agencies that have handled case management for the preceding two years; create the position of Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare to investigate and audit the system; create a commission to further evaluate the problems of the child welfare system; place limits on case loads for each case worker with DHHS; develop and implement a web-based, statewide automated child welfare information system to integrate child welfare information into one system; engage a nationally recognized evaluator to provide an evaluation of the Nebraska child welfare system; increase pay for foster parents; and establish the child welfare system as a separate budget program. These changes seek to improve our broken and inefficient child welfare system and provide much needed accountability by DHHS in regard to case management as well as the cost to the taxpayers of the state.
Senator Tyson Larson