Bill outlawing K2 passed unanimously
By Krista Vogel
Nebraska News Service
A legislative bill goes through four steps following its introduction until it is signed by the governor, and bills are currently in all stages of the process. These briefs highlight some of the bills debated Feb. 22 to 25.
LB 19: Gov. Dave Heineman signed a bill on Feb. 22 outlawing the synthetic drug K2. The bill, introduced by Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, was passed 49-0 and goes into effect immediately.
LB 383: Legislators advanced a bill to eliminate aid to cities, counties and natural resources districts, which would save the state an estimated $44 million throughout the next two years. The bill was introduced by Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue and is supported by the governor.
LB 356: Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege introduced a bill that would redirect federal funds to the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Act and the Beginning Farmer Board. The bill was heard by the Agriculture Committee on Feb. 22. The act would offer a tax credit to those renting land to beginning farmers, but funds may also be diverted from agricultural education programs like FFA and Nebraska LEAD.
LB 21: The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee heard a bill on Feb. 23 that would take Nebraska back to a winner-take-all system in the Electoral College. Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha introduced the bill and said adopting it would unify Nebraskans, but those who opposed said the current system supports voter participation.
LB 583: A bill that would adopt the National Popular Vote interstate compact was introduced by Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm and heard in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee on Feb. 23. This bill would require that the electoral votes of any state in the compact would go to the popular vote winner. The compact would be effected once states totaling 270 electoral votes–the majority necessary to win an election–enacted it.
LB 191: A bill to reduce sentences for inmates and parolees exhibiting good behavior passed its first round on Feb. 22. The bill, introduced by Sen. Brenda Council of Omaha, would provide an early release incentive and would save the state an estimated $108,000. The bill would only affect those admitted after its effective date.
LB 658: Handgun application fees would increase from $5 to $10 under a bill proposed by Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber. The bill was heard in the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 23.
LB 197: A bill protecting the right for a mother to breast-feed “in any public or private location where the mother is otherwise authorized to be” was placed on final reading Feb. 25. The bill was introduced by Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullteron.
LB 304: Sen. Amanda McGill of Lincoln introduced a bill before the Health and Human Services Committee on Feb. 24 that would allow expedited partner therapy to treat sexually transmitted diseases. Under this bill, health care professionals could supply oral antibiotics for the treatment of certain STDs to a patient’s sexual partner without an examination.
LB 471: A bill providing additional revenue sources for cities’ economic development was advanced to select file on Feb. 23. The bill was introduced by Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber.
LB 232: A hearing in the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 23 dealt with a controversial bill introduced by Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial that would legalize using force against or killing anyone intending to harm an unborn child. Critics’ concerns stem from the broad language of the “justifiable homicide” bill, which allows any person, not just the mother, to defend the unborn child.