First Three Days of Session–My Eye Catchers
Adam went through a list of bills that caught his eye–either positively or negatively–during the first three days of bill introduction in the Legislature. Before Day 4 kicks off, I thought I'd mention a few bills that had me saying "hmm."
First, I should probably note that just about all of us at Platte pay attention during bill introduction, and since we all come to the table with different experiences, we probably "bump" on different types of bills at different times. None of these "bumps" represent official Platte position, of course, and are just Platte staff musings at this point. After we've all had a chance to chew on some of these bills for a while, then the organization will discuss priorities in light of our goals for the year.
So, without further ado…
This bill would have Nebraska join the "Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact" making it easier for audiologists and speech-language pathologists to practice across state lines, and to transfer licensure between states that are part of the compact. I'd prefer to see a universal recognition, rather than a compact, because if states choose not to join the compact, then their licensees are not eligible to come to Nebraska to practice without going through a more extensive licensing process. Universal recognition would just have Nebraska say that "if you're licensed in your home state, we accept your license." Entering into compacts such as this makes universal recognition in the future more difficult.
In 2018, the Legislature approved (and the Governor signed) a measure which would allow for barbers and cosmetologists to create "mobile hair salons"–something which would allow practitioners to take their show "on the road" and perhaps park in a parking lot in small towns that are underserved, and let folks come to them. LB 755 would allow licensed barbers and cosmetologists to provide in-home services in specific types of circumstances, for instance to those who have limited mobility or who are otherwise homebound.
The one-liner for this bill says: "Change motor vehicle registration fees and provide funding for the simulation in motion program." This bill would create the "simulation in motion program" at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and would fund it in part with an additional 50 cents added on to your bill whenever you register (or re-register) your car. The program already exists, but this would provide it with ongoing funding. These types of programs–while perhaps very worthy (and arguably needed, especially in outstate Nebraska) serve to "nickel and dime" us all when we start paying our taxes and registering our cars.
There are a number of bills which would change "scope of practice" for some occupations or change definitions in the medical field. Senator Matt Williams LB 772 would expand scope of practice for physician assistants, and allow them to practice a little more broadly, yet still cooperatively with their physicians.
Senator John Lowe's LB 783 would expand the definition of an "ambulatory surgical center."
There are a number of bills that address property rights, water rights, and eminent domain.
I'll be honest, while there are some "good" bills from my perspective–bills that would protect and expand freedom–there are quite a few that had me rolling my eyes during the first three days of bill introduction. Bills which would tax us just a little bit more ("no one will notice that extra dollar, right?"), bills which would limit our freedom of choice, bills which would impose new mandates on localities and businesses, and a lot of "clean-up" bills.
Sorting through legislation and picking priorities is always tricky. Sometimes it's hard to know which bills have been introduced simply to make some group happy–or to stir them up (but which the senator doesn't expect to move), and which ones the senators think are really important.
As I close this out, I see that the Legislature appears to be starting its first filibuster of the year. Every filibuster will reduce the number of bills that can be debated (and potentially passed) in this short session.