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Pollutant permits adopted

Published April 23, 2015, in Natural Resources

Municipalities will be required to obtain a permit to discharge pollutants under a bill passed by the Legislature April 23. LB413, introduced by Omaha Sen. Heath Mello, authorizes the state Department of Environmental Quality to issue permits to any political subdivision seeking to discharge pollutants from a point source into any body of water in…

Plan to sell Norfolk’s former regional center approved

Published April 23, 2015, in Executive Board

The site of a former regional center would come under new ownership under a bill passed by the Legislature April 23. LB56, introduced by Norfolk Sen. Jim Scheer, gives Northeast Community College first right of refusal to purchase land that housed Norfolk’s former regional center. The cost will be set at the property’s appraised value….

Senators advance human trafficking prevention

Published April 23, 2015, in Judiciary

A measure that would enhance human trafficking prevention efforts was amended and advanced April 22. Introduced by Norfolk Sen. Jim Scheer, LB294 would: • increase penalties for solicitation of prostitution, pandering and keeping a house of prostitution; • permit search warrants and subpoenas to be issued for entities located outside of Nebraska; • define offenders’…

New commercial pet breeder regulations advanced

Published April 21, 2015, in Agriculture

Senators gave first-round approval April 21 to a bill that would change the Commercial Dog and Cat Operator Inspection Act. LB360, introduced by Wahoo Sen. Jerry Johnson, would list the following as examples of “significant threat” to the health or safety of dogs or cats: • not providing shelter or protection from extreme weather; •…

Cattle brand inspection fee increase advanced

Published April 21, 2015, in Agriculture

The cattle brand inspection fee in Nebraska could be increased under a bill amended and advanced April 20. Introduced by Hyannis Sen. Al Davis, LB85 originally would have permitted the Nebraska Brand Committee to charge as much as $1.25 per head for cattle brand inspections. The bill was amended to cap the new fee at…

Expansion of behavioral health program removed from bill

Published April 29, 2015, in Health and Human Services

A bill seeking to make a children’s behavioral health screening and referral program permanent was amended April 29 to terminate in 2015. In 2013, the Legislature created the Behavioral Health Screening and Referral Pilot Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center to develop ways to address unmet children’s behavioral health needs that could be…

Family finding pilot project amended, advanced

Published April 29, 2015, in Health and Human Services

A bill that would create a pilot project to establish family connections for state wards was amended and advanced from select file April 29. As introduced by Lincoln Sen. Kate Bolz, LB243 would create a four-year statewide pilot program to provide family finding services in two or more service areas. The state Department of Health…

Expanded licensure for sign language interpreters advanced

Published April 29, 2015, in Health and Human Services

Lawmakers advanced a bill April 29 that would expand licensure requirements for sign language interpreters. Malcolm Sen. Ken Haar, sponsor of LB287, said the bill was introduced on behalf of the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. One percent of Nebraskans are deaf and 9 percent are hard of hearing, Haar said,…

Senators advance business and tourism development

Published April 28, 2015, in Appropriations

A bill that would boost business and tourism development in Nebraska advanced to final reading April 28 after senators amended it to allow signage for tourist attractions. LB449, introduced by Omaha Sen. Heath Mello, would increase the maximum amount of microloan funds from $1 million to $2 million that could be awarded annually by the…

Withdrawal from rail compact membership advanced

Published April 23, 2015, in Transportation and Telecommunications

A bill that would withdraw Nebraska’s membership in the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact advanced from general file April 23. Papillion Sen. Bill Kintner, sponsor of LB317, said Nebraska’s dues outweigh any benefits the state gains from membership in the compact. Nebraska has paid $197,650 in membership dues over 14 years, he said. Kintner said…