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State Senator Ben Hansen’s Column

State Senator Ben Hansen’s Column

This week was the busiest week yet for my staff and I as three of my bills received their public committee hearings.  As mentioned in earlier columns, every bill introduced receives its own hearing where any member of the public can come and testify in front of a committee of senators.  Committee chairs schedule the hearings and notify senators when their bills will be heard. Once a bill is heard in committee, the senators will meet in an “Executive Session” to vote to the floor for debate, hold it in committee, or delay a vote.  Many bills are amended through the committee process as a result of suggestions brought up during the hearing.

LB 378 to require persons under the age of 21 years to wear a helmet was heard on Tuesday in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.  Many District 16 constituents came to testify – some in support and others in opposition.  Fifteen other senators who’ve cosigned this bill agree with me that riding motorcycles without a helmet is a matter of personal freedom and individual liberty.  I’m excited about the debate this bill will see on the floor.

LB 381 to change state agency reimbursement procedures was heard on Thursday in the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee.  I introduced the bill at the request of the Department of Administrative Services, which handles most administrative functions of Nebraska State Government.  The bill, if passed, would cut a lot of red tape currently required to process reimbursement claims for agency travel.

LB 312 to change restrictions placed on dental hygienists was also heard Thursday in the Health and Human Services Committee.  This bill would allow dental hygienists to work in home health or hospice settings and would encourage more hygienists to work in rural health clinics.  In preparing for the hearing, we discovered that 33 of Nebraska’s counties are without the services of a Public Health Registered Dental Hygienist, proving a need for expanded access to care in many rural areas of Nebraska.

My next review of property tax relief bills is a constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Linehan at the request of the Governor.  Legislative resolution 8 CA would limit the amount of property tax revenue raised by a political subdivision to only 3 percent more than what was raised in the previous year – with the exception that political subdivisions could raise more than 3 percent with a vote of the people.   Functionally, this would slow the growth of property tax increases and would likely be paired with other bills providing property tax cuts.  Because it’s a constitutional amendment this resolution, if passed by the legislature, would be placed on the ballot for a vote by all legal voters in the state.  As of February 15th, the resolution has not been scheduled for its public hearing.

You’re welcome to contact our office at (402)-471-2728 to speak with my Administrative Assistant, Ellie Stangl; or my Legislative Aide, Jacob Campbell.  You can also email me at bhansen@leg.ne.gov.  To follow along with the session please visit nebraskalegislature.gov or you may watch the live stream when available at netnebraska.org

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