Safe haven bill narrowed, advanced to final reading

A bill intended to expand safe haven provisions for Nebraska infants was narrowed and given second-round approval April 3.

Sen. Rick Holdcroft
Sen. Rick Holdcroft

Current state law allows for the surrender of infants 30 days old or younger in person at a hospital. LB876, introduced by Bellevue Sen. Rick Holdcroft, would raise the age to 90 days or younger and provide additional options for a parent or a person acting on the parent’s behalf to voluntarily release custody of an infant.

In addition to hospitals and other health care facilities, the bill also would allow a parent or designee to surrender physical custody to an emergency medical provider, at a fire or police station that has staff present 24 hours a day or in a newborn safety device installed at an approved location.

Holdcroft offered a select file amendment, adopted 27-0, to remove the ability for a parent or designee to surrender custody through a newborn safety device and limit approved drop-off locations to emergency care providers, hospitals and staffed fire or police stations.

The amendment also states legislative intent to appropriate $65,000 to the state Department of Health and Human Services in fiscal year 2024-25 and $10,000 each year thereafter to develop, implement and maintain a public information program regarding the bill’s provisions.

Following adoption of the Holdcroft amendment, lawmakers advanced LB876 to final reading by voice vote.

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