Author Archives: tracker247

Midwife Regulation Update

The hearing date for the Midwife Bills has been announced: Thursday, March 5, at 1:00pm in Room 1510.

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Filed under Health & Human Service Committee

More Options in Childbirth

Currently, Nebraska has fairly strict regulations on midwife-assisted birth. There are a few bills this session that would change that…

LB406 would prevent hospitals from denying privileges to a CNM (certified nurse midwife) simply because they are a CNM.

LB457 would change the requirement that prevents a CNM from practicing without working under a doctor. Currently, CNMs have to have a doctor sign off on all their patients, even if the doctor never personally sees the patient. This bill would allow midwives to work in free-standing birth centers.

LB481 would allow CNMs to attend home births. This would be a big positive change for liberty. As it stands, this restriction means that residents of Nebraska who want to have a home birth have difficulty finding someone to assist them (since it’s illegal), and especially that certified midwives (presumably more trained than “lay” midwives) cannot attend home births without risking loss of their ability to legally practice. This makes home birth in Nebraska more dangerous, not safer.

Nebraska Friends of Midwives and Senator Fulton are the champions of this cause.

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Filed under Health & Human Service Committee

Hearing Schedule Posted

The hearing schedule for the next week or so has been posted. There are a few bills on there that we’ve touched on (such as LB229 and LB261 about real ID and machine-encoded info on driver’s licenses), so you might consider showing up for some of these hearings.

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Filed under Nebraska Legislature

Life and Death

Nebraska legislators will be looking at two options for the future of the death penalty: LB36 seeks to change the method of death penalty to lethal injection; LB306 would replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

The death penalty is a tough issue. I think we can all agree that taxpayers should not have to pay for the care of offenders. However, the more we move toward a justice system that seeks full restitution (where offenders repay the victim for any damage done and pay for any court or imprisonment costs as well), the less of a burden the criminal justice system in general will be on taxpayers.

There are a couple bills that appear to be moving in the direction of restitution: LB274 would allow the Director of Correctional Services to assign felony offenders (other than sexual offenders) to incarceration work camps, and LB78 would provide for a portion of an inmate’s wages to be deposited in the Victim’s Compensation Fund.

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Filed under Judiciary Committee, Nebraska Legislature

Hip Techie Legislators?

About 70 new Macbook Air computers were purchased for state legislators and other staff, according to an Omaha World-Herald article.

Props to Senator Tony Fulton for thinking that legislators don’t need the sexiest laptop on the block. He is right in thinking that cheaper, regular Macbooks would have served the legislators just as well. (The OWH seems a bit biased in favor of the Air laptops–calling the regular Macbook “chubbier” when it only weighs 1.5 pounds more.)

Let’s hope that Senator Fulton carries that concern for wasting our money into other aspects of his legislative duties.

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Filed under Nebraska Legislature

Kids, Love, and Money

LB91 seeks to make subsidies for foster children continue once they are adopted. Adoption is a great thing…when the parents are being motivated by love for the child.

I can understand that there are situations where the subsidies would be a good thing, especially for children with high-cost special needs that would present a great financial burden. In that situation, the subsidy may make it feasible for a loving family to adopt a child, when otherwise they may not be able to afford it.

But just as we have to be wary about whether foster parents have good intentions due to subsidies, we would now have to be wary of adoptive parents, as well. The difficult part of this is that with foster parents, at least it’s a temporary situation. But adoption is permanent. It would be sad if the subsidy caused children to be permanently placed in the home of someone who only had them around for the money.

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Filed under Health & Human Service Committee, Nebraska Legislature

Up in Smoke

It seems Nebraska hopes to keep the ball rolling on smoking restrictions with LB93, which would make it illegal to smoke in a car where there is an occupant under the age of 16. This bill was introduced by Senator Gwen Howard.

While I understand the concerns of secondhand smoke exposure, the progression of laws that Nebraska is heading for doesn’t make much sense as far as actual risk is concerned. First, we got the smoking ban in public places, which in most cases doesn’t amount to much exposure. Now, we’re looking at smoking in cars, which is probably more exposure than public places, but still, the amount of time spent in a car with someone who smokes is going to be minimal. In reality, living with someone who smokes inside the home is probably the greatest health risk.

Is it wrong for people to expose their children to the risk of secondhand smoke? Probably. But is it the government’s job to regulate it? Will they start coming into our homes to make sure that we’re not exposing our kids to anything they consider harmful? Today it’s cigarette smoke, but tomorrow will it be diet, or who knows what else? Where do we draw the line and let people make their own mistakes?

Also, this bill is similar to the seatbelt law mentioned in an earlier post. An officer could pull someone over for smoking in a car if they believe a passenger under 16 may be inside. This power could definitely be abused.

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Filed under Nebraska Legislature, Transportation and Telecommunications Committee