LINCOLN – Nearly 200 bills have been introduced so far in the Legislature session, which began Jan. 9, just four working days ago. On Monday, state lawmakers introduced more than 30 bills and elected Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk the vice chairman of the education committee.
Among the new bills to be considered is a $20 million appropriation for early childhood education.
Here are some others.
LB171 - handguns: Sponsored by Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins, this bill would expedite the concealed handgun permit process − from 45 days to five days − for applicants who are victims of domestic violence.
LB181 - motorcycles: This bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln, would make it illegal to operate a motorcycle with a passenger under 8 years of age.
LB182 – sex assaults: Also sponsored by Avery, this bill would prevent the biological father of a child who was conceived as a result of sexual assault from being considered a part of the child's family under paternity law.
LB185 – water farm: This bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial, would provide up to $40 million in financial assistance to Natural Resources Districts to invest in projects that enhance stream flows. The state money would have to be repaid by money collected through occupation taxes.
Christensen’s bill is aimed at helping the mega-water farm in southern Lincoln County be established. Four NRD’s aim to connect 30 high-capacity water wells with new pipelines and route water to the Republican and Platte River systems at a cost once estimated at $30 million, on top of $83 million for the land. Organizers have said they want to pump water this summer south to the Republican River.
LB190 – young children: Sponsored by Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff, this bill would appropriate $10 million each from the general funds for 2013-14 and 2014-15 for the Early Childhood Education Endowment Cash Fund.
The fund provides grants to school districts for early childhood education programs for at-risk children from birth to age 3. The need is intense, sponsors say.