Lawmakers facing variety of interesting laws

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We know the Legislature will have to focus on big issues like balancing the budget and hope it is successful.

But legislation dealing with a number of othe issues has been introduced, and it will be interesting to see which bills will make it to the governor's desk.

Depending the issues that are important to you, you may want to keep track of their progress.

Some that caught our eye:

* LB226 would change Nebraska's age of majority from 19 -- an artifact of Nebraska's one-time drinking age, perhaps? -- to a more logical 18. Proponents note that an 18 year-old can join the military, but as a minor, can't sign a cell phone contract. The drinking age would stay at 21, and child support probably would stop a year sooner.

* LR5CA, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow State Senators to serve three consecutive terms. They can now serve only two before being required to take four years off.

* LB237 would enter Nebraska into a compact with 35 other states to keep track of juveniles on probation or parole who run off or move to another state.

* LB240 would require schools to spend at least 65 percent of their money directly on classroom instruction. A story elsewhere in today's issue notes that McCook fails to meet that level.

* LB228 would prohibit schools from belonging to organizations -- read NSAA -- that restrict student athletes from participating in club sports while taking part in school sports.

* LB200 would permit people 21 and older to ride motorcycles without helmets if they have taken a safety course. But, they would have to wear eye protection.

* LB177 would allow consumers to freeze their credit scores forever instead of requiring a new call to credit firms every seven years. Freezing your credit report may not protect you completely, but does limit the impact of identity theft.

* LB107 would require employers to list a reason when issuing pink slips.

* LB198 would require fire-safe cigarettes in Nebraska. Already required in 37 other states, they include bands of paper that extinguish the smokes if they aren't being actively puffed.

* LB190 would require convicted felons to submit DNA samples to help solve other crimes.

* LR1CA would cut Nebraska's 90-day session to 60 days and the current 60-day session to 40 days. The sponsor thinks this would allow more people to serve as senators.

* LB111 would have doubled speeding fines apply only when workers are present in highway work zones.

* LB106 would allow police to pull over drivers who are not wearing seatbelts. They currently can only be pulled over for other offenses, then ticketed for not wearing seatbelts.

And there are many other proposals in the pipeline this year.

While many of the ideas will die in committee -- which they should -- others will find their way into the law books. It's up to all of us to let our lawmakers know which ones are which.

Keep up with the Legislature at http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/index.php

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  • The age of majority law is there from the old drinking laws. I think there's only one more state that has it at 19 and the rest are 18. It's come up several times in the unicameral since the drink age has changed.

    Other problems that have come up is that students will come to college from out of state and have medical needs but the hospitals have to contact the 18 year old's parents first.

    It's also a year less for which 18 year olds' can build/wreck their credit.

    -- Posted by npwinder on Thu, Jan 15, 2009, at 12:20 AM
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