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A Variety of Legislation

February 28, 2011

By Deb Fischer, Senator,
District 43

Lincoln - Several important bills have been debated by the
Legislature over the last couple of weeks. These bills deal with
various areas of policy from adoption to fluoridation of water. As the
session moves along, I expect the Legislature will continue debating
more Senator priority bills through March and then begin work on the
budget in late April.

A bill I co-sponsored, LB 284, to place restrictions on protestors at
funerals recently passed the first round of debate. This bill was
introduced to address the problem of protestors from the Westboro
Baptist Church who picket at military funerals. If the bill is passed,
protestors will have to stay 500 feet back from a funeral; current law
requires a distance of 300 feet.

I am grateful for the service our military provides this country and I
believe LB 284 is one small expression of that gratitude we all feel.
Members of the United States military put their lives on the line to
protect our freedoms. This bill will help guarantee that if these brave
people give the ultimate sacrifice and lose their lives defending our
freedoms, we will be able to bury these heroes with honor.

Senator Gwen Howard of Omaha introduced two bills I think are important
pieces of policy. LB 94, currently on Final Reading, would give adoptive
parents the right to access the files maintained by the Department of
Health and Human Services of the child they are adopting. This is an
important bill that allows parents the opportunity to fully understand
the history and needs of the children they are adopting. Senator Howard
also introduced LB 237 which creates a prescription monitoring system
that would alert doctors, pharmacists and hospitals when a patient is
trying to obtain prescription medication from more than one entity.
This bill is on Select File. I support both bills and look forward to
the Legislature passing them soon.

Two bills that will have a specific impact on our district are LB 164
and LB 36. LB 164 was introduced by Senator LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth.
The bill provides for notification requirements before moving buildings
or other large objects on county or township roads. Specifically, the
bill requires that if the object and the vehicle moving the object
combined is 15 feet, 6 inches tall, notice must be provided ten days in
advance to the local authority and electric utility. Any violation of
this law would be a Class III misdemeanor. LB 164 is currently on
Select File.

In 2008 the Legislature passed a bill that required cities or villages
with at least 1,000 people to add fluoride to their drinking water
supply unless the people voted not to by June 1, 2010. Senator John
Harms of Scottsbluff introduced LB 36 this session to extend the opt out
deadline. Those cities and villages that reach 1,000 people by June 1,
2010, could place a proposal to opt out of the fluoride requirement on
the next statewide general election ballot.

It is always exciting to read about the successes our students have in
the state tournaments. Recently, several schools from our district had
students participating in the State Wrestling tournament, with many
taking home medals. Congratulations to all of those students who
competed in the tournament, and I look forward to our state basketball
tournaments in the coming weeks. Remember, if you are in Lincoln for a
tournament or for any other reason, please stop by my office or take a
tour of the Capitol.

As always, thank you for sharing in our legislative process, and I'll
visit with you again next week.

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