NEBRASKA LEGISLATURE
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Sen. Sue Crawford

Sen. Sue Crawford

District 45

The content of these pages is developed and maintained by, and is the sole responsibility of, the individual senator's office and may not reflect the views of the Nebraska Legislature. Questions and comments about the content should be directed to the senator's office at scrawford@leg.ne.gov

Legislative Update: February 24

February 24th, 2014


I enjoyed speaking to members of the Bellevue Chamber Leadership Class about the Legislature

Bill to Allow Online Voter Registration Advances
Thursday morning the Legislature voted to advance LB 661, Senator Bob Krist’s personal priority bill.  LB 661 allows voters with a Nebraska driver’s license or state identification card to register to vote or update their voting information online through the Secretary of State’s website.  Proponents for the bill included Wayne Bena, Sarpy County Election Commissioner, and Secretary of State John Gale.  LB 661 streamlines and modernizes our voter registration process, which allows more Nebraskans to engage in the political process.  For these reasons, I was happy to vote with 34 of my colleagues to advance LB 661 to Select File.

Senator Watermeier Selects LB 916 as Personal Priority Bill
As I discussed last week, there are three types of priority bills in the Nebraska Legislature: personal, committee and Speaker.  Senators can either select one of their own bills for a personal priority bill, like we did with LB 740, or select a bill introduced by another senator as their personal priority bill.  I am pleased to announce that Senator Dan Watermeier chose one of our bills, LB 916, as his personal priority bill.


I was honored to receive the Legislator of the Year Award
from the Nebraska Nurses Association

LB 916 removes the contract with a physician currently required in our state for nurse practitioners to practice.  Several states, including neighboring Iowa, do not require these contracts while other states, like Kansas, limit this type of agreement to a first year of practice.  Currently, nurse practitioners in Nebraska must practice under a contract with a doctor for their entire career.  As a result, it is more difficult to get Nurse Practitioners in underserved rural communities and many nurse practitioners leave Nebraska following graduation.  For example, 70% of new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, who we desperately need here in Nebraska, seek employment in other states, citing fewer practice restrictions in those other states.  I look forward to debating this important bill on the floor later this session.

Bellevue Leadership Day
On Wednesday, a group of sixteen Bellevue Leadership candidates visited Lincoln to spend a day in the Capitol learning more about the legislative process.  The day included meetings with several state senators, Speaker Adams, Governor Heineman, Treasurer Stenberg, and Chief Justice Mike Heavican.

Bellevue Leadership is a year-long program available to local business and civic leaders operated through the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce.  Each year, we are happy to welcome these candidates to the Capitol.  The program lasts from 9:30 to 4:30 PM followed by a reception in the Governor’s Mansion.  A lot of work goes into planning and organizing Bellevue Leadership Day.  Special thanks to Doris Urwin of the Bellevue Chamber and my administrative assistant Courtney Breitkreutz for their hard work in making the day possible.

I enjoyed hosting the Bellevue Chamber Leadership Class as they visited the Capitol and Governor’s Mansion

Asbestos Hearing
Wednesday also marked the last of committee hearings for bills I introduced this session.  LB 852 is a bill dealing with asbestos abatement projects in residential properties owned by Nebraska’s cities and villages.  The issue LB 852 addresses was first brought to my attention by Larry Burks, Assistant City Administrator in Bellevue, who also testified at the hearing Wednesday.

Currently in Nebraska, municipalities who own a residential property with four units or less
must follow more stringent asbestos abatement guidelines than individual property owners who own similar properties. In a 1995 Clarification of Intent letter, the EPA clarified that both municipalities and individual property owners were exempt from these more stringent rules. LB 852 brings Nebraska’s statutes in line with these federal regulations.

Mark Your Calendars!
On Sunday, the Sarpy County Museum will host a presentation and discussion regarding Tuskegee Airmen.  The event will occur from 2 to 4 PM and includes a presentation by Bob Rose, president of the Alfonza W. Davis Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.  There is no charge for admission and all are encouraged to attend.

Next Tuesday, February 25 join me at a town hall meeting in the district.  The town hall will include a summary of work completed so far this session and what to expect during the second half of session. The meeting will run from 7:00-9:00 PM at Richmont Village, 702 Fort Crook Road South, Bellevue NE.

Thank you,
Senator Crawford

Legislative Update: February 10

February 10th, 2014

Capitol Conversations

I recently sat down with NETV to talk a little about myself, the bills I have introduced this session, my efforts in making state agencies more transparent and responsive to citizens, and Medicaid expansion. Watch the video at netnebraska.org.

First Set of Bills Sent to the Governor for His Approval

Last week we sent several bills to the Governor for his signature.  In Nebraska, the Governor has five days, excluding Sundays, to sign a bill.  If he fails to sign a bill within 5 days, it becomes law without his signature.  The Governor can also veto a bill.  If this happens, the Legislature can override a veto with 30 votes.

Included in the batch of bills sent to the Governor for his approval was LB 470, a bill by Senator Scheer focused on greater government transparency.  LB 470 requires school districts to list anticipated expenses related to superintendent contracts or amendments to these contracts as part of their yearly budget proposal.  In addition, it requires school districts to publish the proposed contract for review ahead of the public hearing on the contract proposal. Because of my longstanding commitment to government transparency, I was happy to support this bill.  

Update on Crawford Bills, including Personal Priority Designation

At this point of the session, I am happy to share that three of our bills now sit on General File for floor debate.  So far this session, 8 of our 11 bills have had their public hearing.  The rest of the bills will be scheduled in the next few weeks.  Here is a little update on the status of our bills.

LB 718 and 719 were reported on to General File this week following a vote in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.  These two bills are part of a Responsive Regulations package I introduced this year to bring greater transparency, efficiency and accountability to the rulemaking process.  No one voted in opposition to these bills and I am hopeful the body as a whole is able to vote on them soon.

LB 720, the third bill in the Responsive Regulations package, had its public hearing on Thursday.  Various groups, including Nebraska Ethanol Producers, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska Optometric Association, and Mosaic expressed their support for the bill.  

This week I selected LB 740 as my personal priority bill.  LB 740 grants immediate eligibility for in-state tuition to veterans who left active duty within the last two years and their families.  It has been placed on the Legislature’s agenda and I am hopeful that the bill will be debated and advanced early next week.

LB 769 allows military parents to share their parenting time with a close family member during deployment.  This bill is still in committee.

LB 786 creates an emergency contact registry to reunite families sooner following a car accident, natural disaster or other emergency situation.  We are currently working on a committee amendment to this bill and hope it will be reported on to General File soon.

LB 852 clarifies that municipalities like cities and villages are exempt from asbestos inspection and abatement for residential properties with four units or less.  EPA guidance allows for this exemption (it also exempts individual homeowners) but our state statutes do not reflect this change.  The hearing for this bill will take place on Wednesday, February 19th at 1:30 PM in the Health and Human Service Committee, room 1510 in the State Capitol.

LB 902 creates a tax credit for retired military members who launch second careers or start small businesses in Nebraska.  The hearing for this bill is set for next Thursday at 1:30 PM in the Revenue Committee, room 1524 in the State Capitol.

LB 915 creates a tool for cities and banks to combat maintenance issues in vacant, foreclosed properties.  We are continuing conversations with the stakeholders who testified on this bill and hope it will be up for a committee vote soon.

LB 916 removes the integrated practice agreement for nurse practitioners to better allow them to offer high quality, cost-effective health care, particularly to underserved populations.  The hearing for this bill was last Friday.  We are continuing to work with all involved on this important piece of legislation.

LB 1101 deals with two issues related to the Learning Community: the common levy and school district boundaries.  These two key issues pose challenges for Sarpy County cities and schools.  The Education Committee will hear testimony for this bill, and several others related to the Learning Community, next Tuesday, February 11th.  The hearing will take place at 1:30 PM in room 1525.

LB 1102 provides a compassionate decriminalization of hemp oil for severe epilepsy cases that are resistant to traditional treatment options.  When I introduced the bill I said I would only push it this year if our Nebraska Level 4 Epilepsy Center would be willing to support the bill and at least one doctor there was willing to work with families in our state.  There was evidence from Utah that epilepsy specialists in Nebraska might support LB 1102.  Unfortunately, this did not happen this session, so I withdrew the bill.  Sen. Wallman’s bill, LB 1001, provides another avenue for this discussion in this session.  We will have an interim hearing to see how to best move forward after we see what happens in Congress, our state, and other states.  

Town Hall Meeting

Please join me for my next town hall meeting Tuesday, February 25, at Richmont Village located at 702 Fort Crook Rd. South, Bellevue, NE 68005. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM and run until 9:00 PM.  I will be going over what has happened so far in the legislative session followed by an informal meet-and-greet with those in attendance.  I look forward to seeing everyone there!

Thank you,

Senator Crawford

Legislative Update: February 3

February 3rd, 2014

Emergency Contact Registry, Vacant Properties and Nurse Practitioners Topics

Last week marked three more hearings on bills I have introduced this session.  As of last Friday, 7 out of 12 of our bills have had their public hearing.  This week, we will present LB 720 to the Executive Board committee.

On Tuesday, I presented testimony on two bills, LB 786 and 915.  Last week’s newsletter featured both of these bills.  LB 786 creates an emergency contact registry that links emergency contact information with a Nebraska driver’s license.  I was honored to have Sue Sheely, a constituent who inspired the legislation, as well as police officers and police chiefs join us for the hearing and testify in support of the legislation.

LB 915 creates a tool for cities and banks to combat maintenance issues in foreclosed properties.  Larry Burks, the Assistant City Administrator for the City of Bellevue, testified in support of the legislation.  In his testimony, Larry shared that Bellevue spends approximately $15,000 a year when dealing with maintenance in foreclosed properties.  The City of Omaha, the League of Municipalities and the Nebraska Police Chief Association all testified in support of the legislation.

On Friday, I testified in front of the Health and Human Services Committee on LB 916.  LB 916 removes the integrated practice agreement for nurse practitioners to better allow them to offer high quality, cost-effective health care, particularly to underserved populations, while maintaining collaboration, consultation and referral requirements in the Nurse Practitioner Licensing Act.

First Bills of the Session Advance to Final Reading

In Nebraska, bills are debated three times before becoming law.  These three stages are known as General File, Select File and Final Reading.  Amendments can be adopted during General File and Select File.  Once a bill passes on Final Reading, it is sent to the Governor for his signature or veto.

Last week the Legislature advanced the first batch of bills to Final Reading.  This included LB 446 and LB 215.  LB 446, a bill introduced by Senator Bill Avery, strengthens consumer protections for Nebraskans who purchase used vehicles with flood damage.  Under the bill, vehicles with flood damage that have not been repaired and inspected will be designated as a salvage vehicle.

LB 215, introduced by Senator Ken Schilz, allows counties to make grants to local organizations to promote, encourage and attract visitors to their county if the county has created and set aside funds in a County Visitors Improvement Fund.

Meet My Staff: Kaitlin Reece

A few weeks ago, you met my administrative aide, Courtney Breitkreutz.  This week, I would like to introduce you to my legislative aide, Kaitlin Reece.

Kaitlin joined our office in January of last year when I took office.  She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska and was one of my students at Creighton University. While a student at Creighton, Kaitlin also worked as my research assistant on a project examining faith and politics.  She has previous experience working in politics and in nonprofit settings.

She and her husband, Jarrod, who is an attorney in Omaha, live in the Country Club neighborhood in Northeast Omaha with their cat, Woods.  When not working in the Legislature, she enjoys reading, cooking and learning to golf.

In my office, Kaitlin helps me draft bills, prepare for hearings and floor debate, coordinate testimony at hearings, as well as track legislation.  She also helps generate ideas and content for our weekly updates.  Civic education and engagement are among Kaitlin’s passions.  Her proudest moment so far was working on the passage of LB 368 last session which created a four year pilot program which could help create almost 200 jobs each year for low-income Nebraskans.

Today the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, chaired by Senator Annette Dubas, will hear testimony regarding the creation of an emergency contact registry.  LB 786, introduced by Senator Sue Crawford, (District 45, Bellevue) seeks to reunite families sooner following a car accident, natural disaster or other emergency situation.

LB 786 creates an emergency contact registry that links emergency contact information to a driver’s license or state ID card.  Under the bill, Nebraskans will be able to visit the DMV website and use a web-based portal to provide up to two emergency contact names and phone numbers.  In the event of an accident where the victim is unable to provide emergency contact information to law enforcement, officers will use the information in this registry to connect families.

“This session I introduced ‘The Emergency Contact Registry Act’ to aid law enforcement in their efforts to reunite families following an accident or other emergency.  This bill idea began with an email from a constituent, Sue Sheely, last spring who shared her story when her father was involved in an accident and tragically passed away before she was notified and able to say goodbye” shared Senator Sue Crawford.

“The registry could be equally as helpful when officers are dealing with someone who is disoriented due to dementia and cannot remember their emergency contact information,” explained Senator Crawford.  “Situations like this are challenging for law enforcement, a challenge that will only continue to grow as Nebraska’s population ages.”

According to a recent study published by the Nebraska Legislative Planning Committee in December 2013, over 300,000 Nebraskans will be aged 65 or older by 2020.  This growth represents a 31.6% increase from 2010.

If passed, Nebraska would join at least seven other states, including neighboring Colorado, who operate similar registries.

 

Legislative Update: January 21

January 21st, 2014

First Hearings of the Session Scheduled

Bill introduction continued this week as committees began scheduling hearings for the new legislation.  Every bill introduced in the Nebraska Legislature has a public hearing and anyone is allowed to offer testimony in support or opposition or offer neutral testimony.  Several committee rooms now have video conferencing capabilities with 15 remote sites across the state.  Next week, four of our bills will have their public hearings.

On Tuesday at 1:30 PM, the Education Committee will hear testimony regarding LB 740, a bill I introduced to grant residency for the purposes of in-state tuition to recently separated veterans, their spouses and dependents.  Current requirements deter veterans from using their GI benefits to attend one of our public universities or require a delay their education to qualify.

On Wednesday at 1:30 PM, we will testify in front of the Judiciary Committee on LB 786, a bill I introduced to allow military parents with shared custody to delegate this parenting time with a close relative or trusted adult during deployment.

We will end our week with hearings on Friday in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, also at 1:30 PM.  These bills are two I mentioned last week regarding the rules and regulations process.  LB 718 focuses on the beginning of the process by requiring agencies to publish semi annually their agenda for rules under development for revision.  LB 719 addresses the middle of the rulemaking process–the public comment period–by making comments on proposed rules and agency’s responses to these comments a required part of the public record.

Tips on Testifying

You are warmly welcome to testify on one of the bills highlighted above, or another bill before the Legislature this year.  Hearing notices are published as they become available at the following link: http://nebraskalegislature.gov/calendar/hearings_range.php

Here are a few tips as you prepare your testimony:

  • Personal stories are often the most powerful.  If you or someone you know is impacted by a bill and you feel comfortable sharing your experiences, tell the personal story.
  • Committees often ask testifiers to keep their comments under 5 minutes.  Make sure your key points fit within five minutes.  Start to speak as soon as you are recognized to get the full time window.
  • Bring 15 copies of your testimony if possible.
  • During the hearing, you may see senators come and go during testimony.  This is not because they do not care about the testimony offered; rather, it means they need to present on one of their bills at another hearing during that time.

If you need an auxiliary aid or other accommodation, please call the Office of the Clerk of the Legislature at (402) 471-2271.  Translators and interpreters are also available through the Ombudsman’s Office at (402) 471-2035.  Please note that a week’s notice is requested for translators and interpreters.

New Committee Assignments

On Wednesday, I was elected as Vice Chair of the Urban Affairs Committee.  I am honored to accept the position and look forward to serving in that capacity.  I also begin serving on the General Affairs Committee with hearings for both these committees next week.

As a senator from the third largest city in Nebraska and fastest growing county in Nebraska, I am excited to work through the Urban Affairs Committee on issues to help our cities and counties thrive.  This is important work, especially in light of the news that over half of the state’s population now lives in Sarpy, Douglas, and Lancaster counties.

One example of the type of legislation heard in this committee is a bill I introduced this session, LB 915.  LB 915 creates a process for cities to work with banks when a home is foreclosed upon due to missed mortgage payments or unpaid property taxes and in need of maintenance.  Without frequent care, vacant, foreclosed properties can fall into disrepair.  This bill creates a tool for cities and banks to be proactive about addressing some of these problems early on before they become larger, more serious concerns.

In addition to these new committee assignments, I continue to serve on the Health and Human Services Committee and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact Commission.

Summary of Our Agenda

This session, we have introduced bills on a variety of issues ranging from increased transparency in our regulatory process to helping municipalities tackle the issue of vacant and foreclosed properties.  Below is a brief summary of the bills I have introduced so far:

✓    LB 718: Brings greater transparency to the rulemaking process.

✓    LB 719: Creates a tool to assess the responsiveness of an agency during rulemaking.

✓    LB 720: Provides a mechanism to streamline regulations and a process to push for reconsideration and revision of regulations that have become out of date or redundant.

✓    LB 740: Grants residency for in-state tuition for veterans, their spouses and dependents.

✓    LB 769: Allows military parents to share their parenting time with a close family member during deployment.

✓    LB 786: Creates an emergency contact registry to reunite families sooner following a car accident, natural disaster or other emergency situation.

✓    LB 852: Changes provisions relating to asbestos regulation

✓    LB 902: Exempts military retirement income from state income taxation

✓    LB 915: Creates a tool for cities and banks to combat maintenance issues in vacant, foreclosed properties.

✓    LB 916: Removes the integrated practice agreement for nurse practitioners to better allow them to offer high quality, cost-effective health care, particularly to underserved populations.

Next week we will feature a few bills you might not have heard about yet as well as an update from the first week of public hearings.  Stay tuned for more information!

Town Hall Meeting Scheduled

Please join me for my next town hall meeting, scheduled for February 25th from 7:00-9:00 pm at Richmont Village located at 702 Fort Crook Rd. South, Bellevue, NE 68005.   I will be going over what has happened so far in the legislative session followed by an informal meet-and-greet with those in attendance.  I look forward to seeing everyone there!

Today Senator Sue Crawford (District 45, Bellevue) introduced a bill to extend tax credits for Nebraska veterans who begin second careers or start small businesses in the state.

LB 902 creates a tax credit program for Nebraska veterans who earn other income in the state of Nebraska.  Specifically, it excludes one dollar of military retirement income for every one dollar of non-retirement income earned in Nebraska.  The bill’s provisions also include caps on tax credits available for high income earners.  These caps are competitive with those found in neighboring Missouri.

“As the Senator from District 45, whose district incorporates Offutt Air Force Base, I hear stories often about neighbors, friends, and family members who are leaving the state or choosing not to locate here because of how their retirement income is treated,” explained Senator Crawford.  “At separation, retiring military members are given a list of states with retiree tax benefits.  Nebraska, with its current tax system, does not make that list.”

“LB 902 provides a competitive tax credit to help Nebraska recruit and retain more military retirees in a carefully targeted way.  This narrow tax credit helps us attract and retain military retirees while maintaining our progressive tax system and preventing shifts in tax burdens in ways that harm working families and our school systems.”

According to a 2010 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states, including neighboring Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado offer some sort of tax credit or tax benefit to military retirees.

Legislative Update: January 11

January 13th, 2014

First Legislative Update of 2014 and of the Session

Happy New Year! This is the first weekly update of the 2014 legislative session.  You are receiving this email because you signed up to receive updates at a meeting or contacted our office.  Each week we also send a paper copy to a few constituents and encourage them to sign up to receive future updates by email.  If you know someone who would like to be added to our email list, please have them email me at scrawford@leg.ne.gov or call our office at (402) 471-2615.

Wednesday marked the beginning of session.  Beginning in 1970, the Nebraska Legislature began meeting every year as part of a two year legislative cycle.  Previously the Legislature met every other year.  The first session of this two year cycle is often referred to as a “long session” and lasts 90 days.  The second session, which we began this week,  a “short session,” lasts 60 days.

First Bills Introduced

This week I introduced 6 bills.  Work on these bills began as early as July and continued throughout the summer and fall.   I ran on the promise to work for Good Jobs, Good Government and Good Education in Nebraska.  The bills I introduced fit this agenda.

I introduced three bills on the first day of session as part of a “Responsive Regulations Package” that increases transparency, accountability and efficiency in Nebraska regulations and rulemaking.  LBs 718, 719, and 720 each focus on a different step in the rulemaking process from proposed rule to final approval.

In Nebraska, state agencies use the APA (“Administrative Procedure Act”) process to implement bills passed by the Legislature.  Language passed by the Legislature gets converted into regulations that agencies enforce.  As you know, the devil is often in the details.  Our laws are only as effective as the regulations that enforce them.  A more transparent, efficient and accountable regulatory system ensures these rules work as intended for the public good.  Look for more about these bills as the session unfolds.

As the Senator from LD45, I also take my responsibility to military families and our veterans very seriously.  We have two bills related to military and veterans issues: LB 740 and LB 769.

The first, LB 740, allows recently separated veterans to qualify for in-state tuition while the second, LB 769, allows deployed parents to delegate their parenting time to a family member  as part of Nebraska’s Parenting Act for divorced families.

A final bill introduced this week is “The Emergency Contact Registry Act.”  LB 786 creates an emergency contact registry to reunite families sooner following a car accident, natural disaster or other emergency situation.  This registry links emergency contact information to a Nebraska driver’s license or state ID card.  In the event of an accident where the victim is unable to provide emergency contact information to law enforcement, officers will use the information in this registry to connect families.

Bill Drafting 101

In the Nebraska Legislature, bills must be introduced within the first 10 days of session.  The Unicameral is fortunate to have lawyers who work in Bill Drafter’s that help turn our policy ideas into legislation.  It is not uncommon for bills to go through five or six drafts before introduction.  Once a bill is ready for introduction, we ask the bill drafters to “three-part” the bill which produces 3 copies of the bill: one for the Clerk’s office, one for the Fiscal Analyst and a duplicate original.  The introducing senator signs each copy, as can other senators wishing to sign on as a co-sponsor.

We continue to collect and compile the best ideas we receive from constituents regarding potential legislation for future years.  For example, one of the bills we introduced this year, LB 786, comes directly from discussions with a constituent after the tragic loss of her father.   If you have an idea for a bill that you would like to share, please email me at scrawford@leg.ne.gov.

Meet My Staff: Courtney Breitkreutz

 

In Nebraska, each senator has at least two staff people to help them with their legislative duties: an administrative aide and a legislative aide.  In my office, Courtney Breitkreutz and Kaitlin Reece do a great job helping me with lawmaking, oversight and constituent service.

Courtney joined our office in October 2013.  She is originally from Plattsmouth, and most of her family still reside there.  She is excited to work on military and healthcare issues, as her father just retired from a 30-year career at STRATCOM at Offutt Air Force Base and her mother is a neonatal intensive care nurse at The Nebraska Medical Center.

She and her husband, who is a student advisor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, currently live in Lincoln. She comes to us after receiving graduate degrees in sociology and education from UNL. Before going back to school, she worked for a non-profit agency in Lincoln that provides aid to Nebraska’s seasonal and migrant farmworkers. When not at the legislature, Courtney enjoys spending time with her husband Paul and dogs Pax and Greyson.

In my office, Courtney serves as my administrative aide. One of her responsibilities includes helping us communicate with constituents and helping them with any problems they might have with the state, whether by phone, email, or mail. She is always available to answer questions you may have at (402)471-2615 or cbreitkreutz@leg.ne.gov.

Follow me on Social Media

Besides reading my legislative updates, to keep updated on my work for LD45 you can follow me on social media.  You can “like” my facebook page or follow me on Twitter at @SenatorCrawford and use the hashtags #neleg #unicam #dis45.

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Today Senator Sue Crawford (District 45, Bellevue) introduced a bill to create an emergency contact registry.  The aim: to reunite families sooner following a car accident, natural disaster or other emergency situation.

LB 786 creates an emergency contact registry that links emergency contact information to a driver’s license or state ID card.  Under the bill, Nebraskans will be able to visit the DMV website and use a web-based portal to provide up to two emergency contact names and phone numbers.  In the event of an accident where the victim is unable to provide emergency contact information to law enforcement, officers will use the information in this registry to connect families.

“Today I introduced ‘The Emergency Contact Registry Act’ to aid law enforcement in their efforts to reunite families following an accident or other emergency.  This bill idea began with an email from a constituent, Sue Sheely, last spring who shared her story when her father was involved in an accident and tragically passed away before she was notified and able to say goodbye,” shared Senator Sue Crawford.

“Nebraska families deserve an opportunity to be present with their loved ones following an accident or other emergency to share medical histories, make treatment decisions, and unfortunately in some cases, say goodbye,” explained Senator Crawford.  “Our law enforcement officers work hard to reunite families after an accident; however, challenges such as password-locked cell phones, often make it difficult for the officer to locate next of kin.”

“The Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police is pleased Senator Crawford is leading on this issue.  As law enforcement across the state know, first response is a delicate time and situation for families.” Said John Francavilla, President of the Nebraska Fraternal Order of Police.  “It is important that law enforcement contact next of kin in these situations.”

“I am so very grateful that Senator Crawford is introducing this legislative bill. This emergency contact registry will help law enforcement in the future to make contact with the next of kin or emergency contact of a loved one involved in an accident or tragedy.  This will hopefully spare a family from any additional trauma in tragic situations.” stated Sue Sheely, a constituent of Senator Crawford’s and who was an inspiration for the bill.

“Such a simple idea that took way too long to become a reality and the real tangible successful program that it is.” shared Christine Olson, Florida mother of Tiffany Olson, who in 2005 worked to establish the first emergency contact registry in the country.  “Funny how taking just a few moments out of your day can bring you and your family ‘Peace of Mind’ knowing law enforcement has the contact information at their fingertips to reach you and loved ones.”

If passed, Nebraska would join at least seven other states, including neighboring Colorado, who operate similar registries.

 

Today Senator Sue Crawford (District 45, Bellevue) introduced a package of bills to bring increased transparency, accountability and efficiency to Nebraska’s rulemaking process.  Each of the bills focuses on a different step in the rulemaking process from proposed rule to final approval.

For example, LB 718 focuses on the beginning of the rulemaking process by requiring agencies to publish semi annually their agenda for rules under development for revision over the next six month period as well as requiring the posting of fiscal impact statements online on the Secretary of State’s website.  LB 719 addresses the middle of the rulemaking process–the public comment period–by making comments on proposed rules and agency’s responses to these comments a required part of the public record in the rule-making process.  LB 720 concentrates on existing regulations at the end of the process through a petition.  This petition allows citizens, political subdivisions, as well as senators to push for reconsideration and revision of regulations that have drifted from legislative intent or have have become out of date or redundant since their initial approval.

“A periodic review of all existing regulations is time-consuming and expensive.  LB 720 provides a more cost-effective way to focus attention on regulations that are in most need of review and reconsideration.” said Senator Sue Crawford.

“Today I introduced a Responsive Regulations Package that increases transparency, accountability and efficiency in Nebraska regulations and rule-making,” reports Senator Sue Crawford.

“Rule-making, like law-making, should be democratic, accessible and transparent.  Our regulatory system, and our state as a whole, benefits when citizens and legislators are involved in the rule-making process,” explains Senator Crawford. “This is is why the work that the Secretary of State’s office is already doing to make regulations more accessible to the public is so important and why their innovative approach has earned them national recognition.”

In 2012, Nebraska’s Secretary of State website received national recognition for its proposed rule tracking and notification system when it received the first ever IDEAS Award from the National Association of Secretaries of State.  The system allows citizens to track proposed rules online and sign up for email notifications on rules of interest to them free of charge.

Sen. Sue Crawford

District 45
Room #1016
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Phone: (402) 471-2615
Email: scrawford@leg.ne.gov
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