Veto sustained on child lead testing bill

An attempt to override the governor’s veto of a bill that would require lead testing of children failed May 3.

LB204, introduced by Omaha Sen. Brenda Council, would have required blood lead level testing of children prior to kindergarten enrollment. School districts would have been required to inform families prior to the date of school registration of the testing requirement.

Under the bill, blood-lead testing would not have been required if a student submitted:
• a physician’s statement that assesses a child to be considered at low-risk for elevated blood lead levels based on information provided by their parent or guardian;
• a physician’s statement that blood lead testing would be injurious to their health; or
• an affidavit stating the blood lead testing conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Senators passed the bill April 20 on a 30-12 vote. Gov. Dave Heineman subsequently vetoed the measure.

In his veto message, the governor called the bill “overly broad” and said it would likely result in the testing of children who are not at risk of elevated blood lead levels. The Center for Disease Control recommends targeted screening programs, he said, in order to decrease the unwarranted blood lead testing of children who are not at risk.

Additionally, Heineman said, LB204 would require parents and guardians to cover additional costs to have such tests completed.

Council disagreed.

“LB204 focuses blood lead testing on children who are determined to be at risk and does not test those who are not considered at risk, “ she said.

In response to the governor’s concerns about costs, she said health departments provide tests at little to no cost.

The vote to override the veto fell nine votes short, at 21-20.

Bookmark and Share