Nebraska Legislative Chamber
The Legislative Chamber. Photo courtesy of Jill Martin.

LINCOLN– The 2022 legislative session kicked off Jan. 5 with proposals from senators regarding abortion, gun rights and more. It is a 60-day session and the second session of the 107th legislature. 

New bills can be introduced through the first 10 days of the session, or until Jan. 20. Here are some of the major bills introduced so far:

The Heartbeat Act, LB781

Sen. Julie Slama of Sterling introduced a bill on Jan. 5 that would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is typically about six weeks after conception. Providing an abortion after heartbeat detection would be a felony and the bill would have the state prosecute those who do so.

The right to carry a concealed handgun without a permit, LB773

Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon introduced a bill that would prohibit cities, villages and counties from requiring a permit to carry a concealed handgun and therefore would also waive the requirement to undergo training. He is making it his priority bill, which means the hearing will be early on in the session.

According to Nebraska Public Media, Brewer said it is a constitutional right for people to be able to carry a weapon, but not everyone can afford the cost of a permit, which he said is about $125 to $200. Much of that cost goes toward training. He said that doing away with the training requirement would make individuals responsible for their own decisions.

Health standards in schools, LB768

Thurston Sen. Joni Albrecht proposed a bill that would prohibit the State Board of Education from adopting health education standards. A previous controversy about sex-education standards in schools, specifically regarding information on various sexual practices and differences between biological sex and gender identity, was put on hold. Albrecht said she wants to keep those standards from coming back, according to Nebraska Public Media.

Redistricting commission, LR269CA

In an effort to reduce partisanship during redistricting, Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha introduced a resolution for an independent commission to recommend redistricting maps to the legislature rather than having senators redraw the maps themselves. This proposal is a constitutional amendment, so, if senators approve it, it would be on the ballot to be voted on by Nebraskans as well.

Recall power, LR268CA

Albion Sen. Tom Briese introduced a proposal to grant voters the power to recall governors and senators. 

Casino limits, LB876

Briese also brought forth a bill that would prohibit new casinos to be built within 50 miles of another casino. There are existing proposals for new casinos and racetracks across the state. This bill may threaten proposals in Bellevue and York, and there is another in Norfolk that may be near the limit. The bill also describes procedures for creating a “self-exclusion list” of people who are not allowed on the track property. 

Vaccine exemptions, LB906

Blair Sen. Ben Hansen introduced a bill that would require employers to provide a vaccine exemption form for Nebraska residents.

Remove sales tax on feminine products and grooming products, LB881

Sen. Terrell McKinney of Omaha introduced a bill to remove the sales tax on grooming products including soap, shampoo and toothpaste. The bill would also remove the sales tax on tampons, panty liners, menstrual cups and other feminine hygiene products, and it would require detention facilities to provide feminine hygiene products to prisoners free of charge.

Officer misconduct list, LB882

McKinney also proposed a bill that would require cities, counties and the state to make a public list of law enforcement officers whose misconduct has impaired their personal credibility to testify in a court of law. It would also require maintenance of Brady and Giglio lists. Brady and Giglio lists name law enforcement officers who have sustained incidents of untruthfulness, candor issues, criminal convictions or some other type of incident that places their credibility into question.

Requirement for all city-county health departments to obtain approval for health mandates, LB859

Elmwood Sen. Rob Clements introduced a bill that would require the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to get approval from the Nebraska Health Department before issuing directed health measures, such as mask mandates. Under current law, The LLCD has had more authority to act independently from the state health department, unlike the state’s other 15 local health departments. Some Lincoln city officials have stated that, since Lincoln’s health department has existed since 1889 and predates the state law recognizing health departments, it should have more authority when public health is at risk.

Nebraska Department of Corrections

On Jan. 7, the Department of Corrections announced that it would need more than $220 million to rehabilitate the Nebraska State Penitentiary. Lawmakers also gave the go-ahead for work on finding a location for a new prison. There are six sites under consideration in Douglas, Lancaster and Dodge counties.The site will be about 160 acres.

Click here for a full list of the bills that have been introduced.

Click here for live coverage of the legislative session.

Source: Unicameral Update