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LB 390 – CBD Oil Pilot Research Study
LB 390 was my personal priority bill in 2015. The bill created the Medical Cannabidiol Pilot Study for four years of study within the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UMNC) for patients who suffer from intractable epileptic seizures. It allowed families to access low-THC cannabidiol oil (CBD) for patients under the supervision of a UNMC neurologist, which wasn’t legally available otherwise in the state. Annual reports over the duration of the study confirmed that a majority of patients enrolled saw benefits after taking Epidiolex (the CBD product used in the study). This month UNMC submitted its final report as it wraps up this study.
In 2018 the FDA announced its intention to approve Epidiolex, a cannabidiol oil therapy. As part of the approval process, Epidiolex was rescheduled by the DEA so it was no longer a Schedule I drug. This reduced the availability of the drug for experimental studies like the LB 390 study but made the drug available without the need for participation in the study. I am grateful to UNMC for their excellent work in conducting the study and providing this important access to a number of our families while Epidiolex was not available through other methods.
Much of our time during the interim gets spent on researching bill ideas and holding meetings to determine key needs for bills and to determine who to shape bills to gain support from stakeholders. For example, I met with leaders in the Bellevue Police Department recently. One of their key concerns was distracted driving. They have seen a major increase in fatalities and consider distracted driving to be one of the factors behind these tragedies and many other more minor accidents. It happens that Sen. Hilkeman will be bringing a bill next session to address distracted driving, so I look forward to supporting that bill. As another example Senator Cavenaugh and I met with representatives of various Chamber of Commerce groups to discuss possible next steps to move forward on paid family and medical leave. We are now setting up meetings with various businesses across the state over October and November.
During the interim committees and special committees also meet. The Revenue Committee continues to meet nearly every week to continue to tackle property tax reform and business incentives. This month the special committee to consider the Legislature committee structure, which I chair met to discuss the possibility of adding a new committee to specialize in economic development and tourism. Our discussions of this issue, and other issues related to the committee structure will continue over the interim.
OpenSky Policy Symposium
The OpenSky Policy Symposium is an annual fall event that allows policymakers to get together and discuss key issues for Nebraska. This year the symposium featured a presentation by Dr. Ken Poole of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness regarding a 2018 study the group conducted for the Legislature’s Economic Development Task Force when I served as the chair. The study provides a comprehensive analysis of the state’s economic development landscape and contains specific recommendations for Nebraska. The symposium also included a couple of panels with speakers discussing economic development challenges and successes in Nebraska.
Touring ENCOR’s HUB
This month I toured ENCOR’s “HUB” in Bellevue. ENCOR is a nonprofit that I had the privilege of learning about this past July when they opened up a new Endeavors facility in Omaha. The Endeavors facility helps individuals with disabilities work and volunteer in the community. The location in Bellevue is called the HUB, and focuses on community inclusion by partnering with groups like the Bellevue Food Bank and local churches. It was great to see how far they’ve come and I know they will continue to be an empowering force in the community. For more information about their history and services, click here.
USSTRATCOM Birthday Ball
The 17th annual USSTRATCOM Birthday Ball took place on September 13th. Its an honor to attend this annual event to celebrate USSTRATCOM and the men and women who work there.
Columbus Day Office Closure
All state offices, including my own, will be closed on Monday, October 14th in observance of Columbus Day. Wishing everyone a wonderful long weekend.
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All the best,