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Legislative Update

By Senator Russ Karpisek

Nebraska Senators began legislative debate this week focused on LB 170, a bill that will make changes to motorcycle safety education provisions. Specifically, the bill redirects fees from the Motorcycle Safety Education Fund to the General Fund and updates statutory requirements for motorcycle safety classes and certification of motorcycle training instructors. Furthermore, it strengthens DMV rules and regulations governing these training courses. LB 170 advanced with no opposition.

Also discussed on the legislative floor this week was LB 19, which would amend the Uniform Controlled Substances Act to include the class of synthetic cannabinoids used to make the drug commonly known as K2 or Spice. The bill, introduced by Senator McCoy, is similar to legislation I had planned to propose during this legislative session. Hence, I greatly appreciate and support his effort towards banning this product in Nebraska. Legislative Bill 19 would further implement penalties for possessing, manufacturing or distributing K2 that mirror penalties currently in statute for marijuana.

LB 85, a bill I introduced to adopt the Nebraska Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act, was heard last week by the Judiciary Committee and has already made its way to General File. This particular bill moved in tandem with Legislative Bill 157, which was introduced pursuant to a legislative task force's recommendations to address controversial issues that have recently arisen regarding guardianships and conservatorships. LB 85 was adopted through an amendment to LB 157, which will essentially reform the guardian-conservator system. The bill advanced to the second stage of debate with no opposition.

On a final note, I presented Legislative Bill 218 to members of the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday. Introduced on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, this bill would change provisions of law by increasing the number of positions exempted from the State Personnel System from 25 to 50 for an agency with over 5,000 employees. If enacted into law, LB 218 would provide the Department with the ability to have additional positions considered as discretionary, allowing for efficient recruitment and retention of critical, highly skilled employees.