Novelty cigarette lighters would be banned and cigarette taxes would go up more than $1.50 a pack, under bills proposed in the Nebraska Legislature. If LB 403 is passed, novelty lighters are defined as nondisposable lighters made to resemble a cartoon character, gun, toy, etc., with flashing lights, playing music or with multiple buttons. The bill was introduced by Sen. Les Seiler of Hastings.
Under LB 439, introduced by Sen. Mike Gloor of Grand Island, the state tax on tobacco would increase from 64 cents for a 20-pack of cigarettes to $1.60 per pack.
Six-hundred and fifty-five bills were introduced before the deadline Wednesday. Some highlights:
• LB461: With this bill, sponsored by Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber, bucking bull sponsors, professionals or other corporations or partners would not be liable for injury or death caused by the dangers of bucking bull activities.
• LB505: Would require insurance companies to provide medical coverage for children with autistic spectrum disorders until age 21. Coverage would include screening, diagnosis and treatment. Sponsored by Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln.
• LB507: Improve child development and school readiness by improving early childhood education and child care programs (Step Up to Quality Child Care Act). Sponsored by Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln.
• LB528: Allow a medical professional to prescribe and treat the sexual partner or partners of a patient diagnosed with gonorrhea or chlamydia without examining them. Sponsored by Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha.
• LB543: Eliminate the death penalty in Nebraska by changing a death sentence to life imprisonment or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Sponsored by Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha.
• LB564: Allow health care providers not to participate in services that violate their conscience, including morals, ethical principles and religious beliefs (Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act). Introduced by Sen. John Nelson of Omaha.
• LB619: Schools would be required to provide age appropriate and medically accurate sexual health education. Sponsored by Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm.