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Sen. Sue Crawford

Sen. Sue Crawford

District 45

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On Thursday, the Legislature voted 44-2 to pass LB 390, my personal priority bill for this session.  LB 390 allows patients with intractable epilepsy to access low-THC cannabidiol oil under the supervision of a neurologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  In April, UNMC learned that they will be able to access plant-based pharmaceutical grade CBD that has been through the first phase of FDA trials.  UNMC is also in early discussions with another CBD study option going through FDA trials.  So, the pilot study can proceed to offer much needed treatment to these children and much needed advances in research while remaining compliant with federal research and drug regulations. Several clinical trials and research indicates CBD shows promise in its ability to treat intractable epilepsy, particularly in children.  The bill represents two years of work on this issue.  I am pleased the bill received such strong support from my colleagues and I look forward to Governor Ricketts signing LB 390 into law.  

 

Update on 2015 Crawford Bills

Tuesday marks Day 86 of our 90 day session.  With session drawing to a close, I thought I would update you on the status of the bills I introduced this session.  Because this is the first year of our two year legislative cycle, all bills that are not passed, indefinitely postponed, or bracketed carry over into the next session beginning January 2016.  

When we return next January, we begin with debate of bills that got out of committee the year before but did not receive a priority and did not get heard before the Legislature turned to priority bills.  I have one bill in this category, LB 459.  This bill provides protections for child victims and witnesses in criminal cases who have been interviewed on tape by child advocate experts.  The bill requires a higher standard for allowing pre-trial investigatory depositions and establishes a framework for protective measures for the children when such a deposition is necessary.

I am also making a push to encourage the Government Committee to advance LB 166 out of committee before session ends so it could be heard next year.  LB 166 brings additional transparency and accountability to campaign funds in Nebraska.  Current law does not provide a second check against fraud using campaign funds.  LB 166 provides an important tool to ensure campaign funds are represented truthfully and used as reported by candidates.  There have been several high profile cases over the past decade in which campaign funds were misused for gambling, tattoos and dating services which were only discovered through other investigations.  Nebraska’s Accountability and Disclosure Commission serves as Nebraska’s election and campaign watchdog.  However, they lack the tools to protect donors from potential abuse of campaign funds.  

LB 166 had no opposition at the bill’s hearing and is supported by Common Cause Nebraska,, the bi-partisan Accountability and Disclosure Commission, League of Women Voters of Lincoln and Lancaster County, and the editorial boards of the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald. If this is an issue you would like to see debated on the floor of the Legislature next year, I encourage you to email the members of the Government Committee to encourage them to vote LB 166 out of committee this year.  Their email addresses are:

Senator John Murante, chair: jmurante@leg.ne.gov

Senator Tommy Garrett: tgarrett@leg.ne.gov

Senator Dave Bloomfield: dbloomfield@leg.ne.gov

Senator Joni Craighead: jcraighead@leg.ne.gov

Senator Mike Groene: mgroene@leg.ne.gov

Senator Matt Hansen: mhansen@leg.ne.gov

Senator Tyson Larson: tlarson@leg.ne.gov

Senator Beau McCoy: bmccoy@leg.ne.gov

 

2015 Crawford Non-Urban Affairs Legislation

Bill Number

Short Description

Status

LB107

Eliminate integrated agreements for nurse practitioners. This bill reduces unnecessary government regulation and improves access to healthcare for Nebraskans, particularly in rural areas.

LAW

LB109

Change residency requirements for veterans attending a public college or university to bring a bill we passed last year, LB 740, in compliance with new federal law.

LAW

LB219

Adopt the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act to create a legal process for military families with shared custody during a deployment.

LAW

LB146

Provide for disposition of unclaimed cremated remains in a veteran cemetery. LB146 allows veteran service organizations like Missing in America Project to work with funeral directors to identify and inter unclaimed cremated remains of veterans.

LAW

LB272

Create a voluntary veterans preference in private employment for veterans and spouses of 100% disabled veterans.

LAW

LB390

Create the Medical Cannabidiol Pilot Study at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for individuals with intractable epilepsy.

Passed 44-2; Awaiting Governor’s signature

LB459

Protects child witnesses during pre-trial depositions by creating a process for judges to consider protective orders to protect the child from emotional harm, undue influence or intimidation.

General File

LB108

Appropriate funds to the University of Nebraska to fund behavioral health internships for master’s level marriage and family therapists, social workers, and professional counselors who work in rural or underserved areas.

In Committee

LB147

Streamlines the administration of several public assistance programs, reducing unnecessary paperwork and staff time spent on unnecessary verifications.

In Committee

LB148

Provide for medical assistance program coverage for former foster youth who age out of the foster care system and move to Nebraska for school or work.

In Committee

LB163

Create an emergency management registry to provide additional tools for 9-1-1 operators, emergency managers, law enforcement, and first responders during an emergency.

In Committee

LB166

Changes provisions of Nebraska’s campaign finance laws including prohibiting candidates from personal loans with campaign funds and adding the possibility of restitution if someone violates the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Act.

In Committee

LB267

Change the income tax exemption for military retirement income.

In Committee

LB391

Restores a commission received by county for the collection of motor vehicles sales tax to address an unfunded mandate to counties. The higher commission better reflects the cost to counties for performing this service for the state.

In Committee

LB392

Eliminates the common levy for learning community schools and unfreezes learning community schools boundaries. This is a very important economic development issue facing my district and Sarpy County.

In Committee

 

Update on 2015 Urban Affairs Bills

Of the twenty bills that were heard by the Urban Affairs Committee this session, eleven have been signed into law.  A twelfth, LB 455, was passed 46-0 by the Legislature this week and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

This session, including committee-introduced legislation, I introduced seven bills in the Urban Affairs Committee.  Six of the seven have already been signed into law, while the seventh, LB 540, advanced to Select File this week.  LB 540, which has been designated as a Speaker priority bill, would update the state building code.

 

Bill #

Introducer

One-liner

Status

LB 116

Haar

Change election procedures and membership for certain sanitary and improvement district boards of trustees

LAW

LB 131

Craighead

Change provisions relating to annexation and prohibit sanitary and improvement districts from spending certain assets

General File

LB 149

Urban Affairs Committee

Change provisions relating to election procedures for sanitary and improvement districts

LAW

LB 150

Urban Affairs Committee

Redefine terms under the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act

LAW

LB 151

Urban Affairs Committee

Provide for a person designated to accept city or village notices in cases or mortgaged property or trust deed default

LAW

LB 152[1]

Urban Affairs Committee

Authorize cities and villages to borrow from state-chartered or federally-chartered financial institutions as prescribed

LAW

LB 168

Mello

Authorize expansion of existing business improvement districts

LAW

LB 197

Scheer

Provide additional powers to certain sanitary and improvement districts

LAW

LB 238

Groene

Change provisions relating to tax-increment financing under the Community Development Law

In Committee

LB 266

Crawford

Change provisions relating to jurisdiction for municipalities to enforce ordinances

LAW

LB 295

Scheer

Require municipalities to have county approval before enforcing ordinances in the extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction

General File

LB 300

Schumacher

Change provisions relating to enforcement of ordinances by sanitary and improvement districts

In Committee

LB 304

Hansen

Adopt the Municipal Custodianship for Dissolved Homeowners Associations Act

LAW

LB 324[2]

McCollister

Provide authority to sanitary and improvement districts to contract for solid waste collection services

LAW

LB 378

Groene

Change requirements for voter approval of borrowing money for public improvements by a first-class city

General File

LB 420

Crawford

Require acknowledgments from purchasers of real estate in a sanitary and improvement district

LAW

LB 445

Groene

Authorize audits of redevelopment plans that use tax-increment financing

In Committee

LB 455

Gloor

Change provisions relating to employment of a full-time fire chief by cities of the first class

Passed 46-0; Awaiting Governor’s signature

LB 540[3]

Crawford

Adopt updated international building code standards

Select File

LB 596

Davis

Change the Community Development Law and create the Tax-Increment Financing Division of the Auditor of Public Accounts

In Committee

 

Death Penalty Repeal Passed by the Legislature, Governor Ricketts Veto Promised

As a senator, my support for LB 268 is deeply rooted in my values: as a person of faith and as a pro-life legislator.  For me, this vote is a matter of conscience.  However, as a senator who cares deeply about effective policy, my support for LB 268 is also rooted in the knowledge that the death penalty simply does not work. The evidence against the death penalty’s effectiveness and the evidence of the negative consequences of the death penalty continue to accumulate year after year.

LB540Crawford5-20-15a.jpg

Photo taken during Final Reading debate on LB 268 Credit: Nebraska Unicameral Information Office

Recent tragedies in the Omaha area show us in painful terms that Nebraska’s death penalty system is broken and even with a death penalty on the books, it does not deter those who wish to do others harm.  Nor is the death penalty necessary to protect society and ensure these horrible murderers never kill again. Since 1991, states with the death penalty have had consistently higher murder rates than states without the death penalty.  A review of Nebraska’s neighboring states show similar trends.  The death penalty does not deter violence against our law enforcement either.  Research shows that law enforcement deaths by homicide went down in all but one state (New York) after those states ended the death penalty.  The states where the most law enforcement deaths have occurred have been states with the death penalty.  What’s more, a review of Bureau of Justice statistics show that prison murder deaths in states with the death penalty are four times higher than in states without the death penalty.   The death penalty, clearly, does not improve public safety or protect law enforcement officers from being killed.

This vote was not one I took lightly.  While we may respectfully disagree on this issue or a variety of issues before the Legislature, please know that I considered this vote very carefully, spoke with many constituents and remain committed to serving Nebraska the best way I know how.   

 

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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