State senators heard testimony on a wide range of bills this week -- movies, agricultural literacy and taxes were among the topics covered.
Lawmakers also debated whether the right to hunt and fish should be included in the state’s constitution.
Here are the week’s highlights.
• LB 863: Include filmmakers and television program producers in the Local Option Municipal Economic Development Act. The program provides incentives, such as loans or grants, for business. Voters have to approve the incentives before they can be implemented. A public hearing was held on Jan. 31. (introduced by Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln)
• LB 884: An agricultural literacy task force would be created to look at current school standards and see if they include an understanding of agriculture’s role and contributions in the state, if this bill were passed. Sen. Kate Sullivan of Cedar Rapids introduced the bill, and a public hearing was held on Jan. 31.
• LB 903: Exempt youth sports events and youth sports leagues from sales and use taxes. On Feb. 1 there was a public hearing on the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue.
• LB 926: Foster care parents would receive payments based on a standardized minimum payment rate. The bill would base the state’s standards on a 2007 study by Children’s Rights, the National Foster Parent Association and the University of Maryland School of Social Work. The study found that Nebraska foster care parents received some of the lowest rates in the country. For example, to meet the standards from the study, parents of two-year-old foster care children would receive a 181 percent increase in their payments. A public hearing on the bill was held Feb. 2. (introduced by Sen. Annette Dubas of Fullerton)
• LB 952: Certain cuts to Medicaid could not be implemented if this bill was passed. The bill lists the elimination of dental services, an increase in certain co-pays and a 10-per-month limit on prescription drugs as some of the measures that could not be implemented. Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha introduced the bill. The public hearing was Jan. 30.
• LB 1089: This bill would give the University of Nebraska Regents $50 million to build a new cancer research facility at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Sen. John Nelson of Omaha introduced the bill, which also had its public hearing on Feb. 2.
• LR 40CA: This proposed constitutional amendment would add the rights of hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife to the state’s constitution. Thirteen other states have a similar provision in their constitutions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. State voters would have to approve the amendment, which has advanced to the final reading stage. Sen. Pete Pirsch of Omaha introduced the amendment last session.
Concerns over weather postponed Friday afternoon hearings, Feb. 3. The hearings have been rescheduled for Feb. 13 at 9:30 a.m.