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This week the Nebraska Legislature ended public hearings on bills. Starting on Tuesday the Senators will spend the whole day engaged in floor debates. Due to the shortness of the session, almost all of the bills which will get debated on the floor will be priority bills. Those bills without a priority status and which get voted out of committee will likely become carry-over bills for next year’s legislative session.
One of the last bills to get a public hearing this year was Sen. Friesen’s bill, LB 389. This bill would modernize Nebraska’s telecommunications laws, allowing for greater investments and more improvements by wireless telecommunications providers. The bill would allow newer technologies to move into the State, especially the kind known as small cells, which would expand coverage to the level of fifth generation (5G) wireless capabilities. LB 389 also ensures that local governments would maintain control over the permitting process, giving them authority to approve or deny an application and to be adequately compensated through application fees and other cost-based fees for small wireless facility attachments.
Although LB 389 received a late hearing, the bill stands a good chance of getting voted out of the Transportation & Telecommunications Committee and advancing through floor debate. Because Speaker Scheer has included LB 389 as one of his 25 Speaker priority bills, the bill stands a good chance of becoming a law. I support LB 389 because I believe it will provide better wireless services for our families, it will enable our schools to better educate our students in an age of technology, and it will help our local businesses to better compete in the global marketplace.
Finally, Sen. Brewer’s bill, LB 502, received its public hearing last Thursday, the last day for public hearings. This bill is meant to restore the constitutional rights of Nebraskans to be able to carry a firearm, concealed or open, without being forced to take a State-mandated test and pay a fee. This bill keeps Nebraska’s current concealed carry permit system, thus retaining the option of issuing permits that would allow state residents to carry while traveling to other parts of the country that honor Nebraska’s current concealed carry permit. This bill does not change the law concerning people currently prohibited from carrying a handgun.
The right to bear arms carries with it a great deal of responsibility. Besides the Constitution, the next best protectorate of gun ownership rights is self-discipline. Discipline is a virtue which every gun owner ought to possess in abundance and exhibit often. As President George Washington said in his first State of the Union Address on January 8, 1790, “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined.” May we never forget that lesson our first President taught us.