Category Archives: Transportation and Telecommunications Committee

The Health Nazis Are At It Again!

Now they want to outlaw smoking in your car. Not to worry though, it’s For The Children.

According to LB93, it “shall be unlawful for an individual to operate or be an occupant in a motor vehicle while smoking if an individual under sixteen years of age is an occupant in the motor vehicle.” This classic piece of nanny-state nazism, introduced by Sen. Gwen Howard of District 9 (Omaha), would impose a $50-to-$150 fine on anyone who violates this law and it appears to be a primary offense, meaning that you can be pulled over specifically for this.

This bill will be discussed by the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee at a hearing tomorrow, March 10, at 1:30pm in room 1113.

Resist the encroaching Totalitarian State! Contact your senator and let them know you won’t tolerate this tyranny! Better yet, go to the hearing and have your say!

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Free the Bikers!

Motorcycle and moped riders will no longer be required to wear helmets in Nebraska under a new helmet law introduced by Sen. Charlie Janssen of District 15 (Fremont). Show your support for biker liberty at a hearing on LB200 before the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee this Tuesday, March 3, at 1:30pm in room 1113.

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LB106 – Another reason to pull you over

Currently, not wearing your seatbelt (or requiring your passengers to do likewise)  is a “secondary enforcement”  violation.  You must be cited for a primary violation before you can also be cited for a secondary violation. So you would have to be pulled over and cited for something else first.

LB106, introduced by Sen. John Harms of District 48 (Scottsbluff) , would change the seatbelt requirement  to a primary offense, meaning that you could be pulled over and cited just for not wearing a seatbelt.

Personally, I think law enforcement officers (when did we stop calling them peace officers?)  already have enough excuses to pull people over. Not to mention the fact that seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws are just nanny-state interference with personal liberties to begin with.

There is a committee hearing for this bill in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, Room 1113, on Tuesday, Feb 17th at 1:30pm.

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LB 28: Making it Easier for Big Brother?

I’m a little concerned about LB 28, which will be on General File on Monday, Febr. 2.  Here is the “statement of intent” of this bill, introduced by Sen. Pahls:

LB 28 authorizes the Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue undercover
license plates and drivers’ licenses to federal law enforcement agencies, when used
only for legitimate criminal investigatory purposes.The federal law enforcement agency shall designate a contact person and submit an
application on a form prescribed by the director. Prior to issuing the plates or licenses,
the director shall determine whether they will be used for a legitimate purpose. The
records regarding the application and issuance shall be kept confidential. The plates
and licenses shall be returned to the director upon completion of their purpose or upon
the director’s request. All fees normally required for a plate or license must accompany
any application.

My concern for this bill is that it seems–on its face–to make it even easier for federal law enforcement officials to conduct investigations (or arrests) which may or may not be “legitimate” (in reality, if the feds come to the Director of the Department Motor Vehicles and says “this is a legitimate need”, do we really think the Director will question the FBI, DEA, INS, or whoever else it might be?).

Recommendation: encourage your legislators to think carefully about the potential impact on liberty–and the potential for letting federal agencies have too much power–before voting for this legislation.

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Driver’s licenses and privacy

It seems that more and more, the government is looking to use a driver’s license for more than just driving.  If LB261 is passed, you may be sharing the information on that license whenever you buy alcohol, tobacco, or lottery tickets.  This bill allows businesses to use machine readers to swipe the license and verify the customer’s age.  The most troubling aspect, is that your data would then be associated with that transaction and stored in a database for use by law enforcement.  So suddenly the government will know every time we make  purchases of these items.

Also, in another step toward a more powerful federal government, LB372 will make the digital copy of your photograph on your driver’s license available to federal authorities.

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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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