LINCOLN–Nebraska state senators continued to vote on legislation as the 2018 legislative session rapidly approaches its end.
Gov. Pete Ricketts signed Legislative Bill 42 into law on April 6. LB42 requires kids in Nebraska between the ages of 2 and 8 to use booster seats when riding in a car.
Tuesday saw the Legislature advanced LB496 to select file. Proposed by Sen. John Stinner of Gering, LB496 would provide tax incentives to cities and villages constructing workforce housing using tax increment financing. Workforce housing describes homes built and offered at subsidized prices to allow workers to live closer to their place of employment. The bill passed 34-6.
On Wednesday the Legislature passed LB1009, introduced by Sen. John Murante of Omaha. If approved by Ricketts, speed limits on certain state highways will rise five miles per hour to 65 mph. Speed limits on I-80 would remain unaffected.
State senators also passed LB776 and LB1132 on Wednesday.
Introduced by Sen. John McCollister of Omaha, LB776 passed 38-8 and requires jails to provide affordable phone services to inmates. LB1132, introduced by Sen. Patty Pansing-Brooks of Lincoln, allows victims of sex-trafficking to have prostitution-related convictions sealed and set aside. LB1132 passed 45-0.
Thurston Sen. Joni Albrecht’s LB1040 was also passed this week. It allows the state to issue a commemorative certificate of nonviable birth for children lost through miscarriage. The bill passed on a 44-1 vote.
The Legislature also OK’d a special oversight committee meant to investigate state-run mental health care facilities. Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont introduced Legislative Resolution 296 after she discovered a woman died at a state-licensed facility in Palmer, Nebraska, in 2017. A report on the conditions at the facility failed to spur reform.
Some senators, like Sen. Merv Riepe of Ralston, said existing committees are adequate to address such concerns. LR296 passed 26-13.
The speaker of the Legislature also revealed Wednesday that 13 senators have requested to extend the legislative session. State law requires that 33 senators must notify Secretary of State John Gale by April 23 that they want a special session to activate an extension.