A Variety of Legislation

By Deb Fischer, Senator, District 43Lincoln - Several important bills have been debated by theLegislature over the last couple of weeks. These bills deal withvarious areas of policy from adoption to fluoridation of water. As thesession moves along, I expect the Legislature will continue debatingmore Senator priority bills through March and then begin work on thebudget in late April.A bill I co-sponsored, LB 284, to place restrictions on protestors atfunerals recently passed the first round of debate. This bill wasintroduced to address the problem of protestors from the WestboroBaptist Church who picket at military funerals. If the bill is passed,protestors will have to stay 500 feet back from a funeral; current lawrequires a distance of 300 feet. I am grateful for the service our military provides this country and Ibelieve LB 284 is one small expression of that gratitude we all feel.Members of the United States military put their lives on the line toprotect our freedoms. This bill will help guarantee that if these bravepeople give the ultimate sacrifice and lose their lives defending ourfreedoms, we will be able to bury these heroes with honor. Senator Gwen Howard of Omaha introduced two bills I think are importantpieces of policy. LB 94, currently on Final Reading, would give adoptiveparents the right to access the files maintained by the Department ofHealth and Human Services of the child they are adopting. This is animportant bill that allows parents the opportunity to fully understandthe history and needs of the children they are adopting. Senator Howardalso introduced LB 237 which creates a prescription monitoring systemthat would alert doctors, pharmacists and hospitals when a patient istrying to obtain prescription medication from more than one entity.This bill is on Select File. I support both bills and look forward tothe Legislature passing them soon.Two bills that will have a specific impact on our district are LB 164and LB 36. LB 164 was introduced by Senator LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth.The bill provides for notification requirements before moving buildingsor other large objects on county or township roads. Specifically, thebill requires that if the object and the vehicle moving the objectcombined is 15 feet, 6 inches tall, notice must be provided ten days inadvance to the local authority and electric utility. Any violation ofthis law would be a Class III misdemeanor. LB 164 is currently onSelect File.In 2008 the Legislature passed a bill that required cities or villageswith at least 1,000 people to add fluoride to their drinking watersupply unless the people voted not to by June 1, 2010. Senator JohnHarms of Scottsbluff introduced LB 36 this session to extend the opt outdeadline. Those cities and villages that reach 1,000 people by June 1,2010, could place a proposal to opt out of the fluoride requirement onthe next statewide general election ballot. It is always exciting to read about the successes our students have inthe state tournaments. Recently, several schools from our district hadstudents participating in the State Wrestling tournament, with manytaking home medals. Congratulations to all of those students whocompeted in the tournament, and I look forward to our state basketballtournaments in the coming weeks. Remember, if you are in Lincoln for atournament or for any other reason, please stop by my office or take atour of the Capitol. As always, thank you for sharing in our legislative process, and I'llvisit with you again next week.