Lawmakers introduced 83 bills and one proposed constitutional amendment Friday, the second of 10 days of bill introduction in the 106th Nebraska Legislature.
After falling to a filibuster in the last legislative session, Sen. Mike Groene of North Platte will once again offer legislation that would allow teachers and administrators to use physical restraint on students who become violent toward themselves or others.
Any physical act to restrain a student would not be considered corporal punishment under Groene’s bill (LB147), nor would educators be disciplined if they were “acting in a reasonable manner” based upon a recorded history of disruption or abuse by the student.
Two years ago, Groene introduced the bill to address a “breakdown of discipline in the classroom,” but although his plan was backed by the Nebraska State Education Association, it met resistance from several senators who had experience as teachers or administrators.
Unable to reach the 33 votes needed to end a filibuster last session, Groene pulled his bill.
Other proposals introduced Friday include:
A bill (LB149) by Sen. Dan Quick of Grand Island would make it illegal for people under the age of 21 to buy vapor products or flavored liquids to be used in vapor products. Anyone selling vapor products to persons under the age of 21 could be cited with a misdemeanor.
Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon sponsored a bill (LB154) requiring the Nebraska State Patrol to author a study on the number of missing Native women in Nebraska, the barriers to providing state resources to address the issue, and proposed legislation to address the problem. The report would be due to the Legislative Council by June 1, 2020.
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Brewer also introduced a measure (LB155) that would eliminate the ability of electric suppliers to the state to acquire land rights to put in transmission lines for privately developed renewable energy sources through eminent domain.
Property tax amendment
Schools would be limited to raising 33 percent of their operational funding through property taxes under a proposed constitutional amendment (LR5CA) by Brewer.
Gay conversion therapy
Omaha Sen. Megan Hunt’s bill (LB167) would make therapy to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity illegal, while a second bill (LB168) would classify gay conversion therapy as a misdemeanor.
Certain class I felonies would no longer carry mandatory minimum sentences under Sen. Ernie Chambers' bill (LB176). Class IC felonies, punishable by up to 50 years in prison, would switch from a mandatory minimum of five years imprisonment to a minimum of five years, while class ID felonies would move from a mandatory minimum of three years in prison to a minimum of three years.
Death penalty study
Lincoln Sen. Adam Morfeld introduced a bill (LB207) that would form a Death Penalty Defense Standards Advisory Council to develop and recommend “guidelines and standards for death penalty defense systems,” including the American Bar Association’s Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases, and how such guidelines may be implemented in Nebraska. A report would be due to the Legislature by May 1, 2020.
A bill (LB217) by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks would make it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who discussed their compensation with another employee.