Last week marked the final week of all-day committee hearings. In the last three weeks, the standing committees have taken public comment on over 300 bills. Beginning this week, the Legislature will return to morning floor debate and afternoon committee hearings. The last day for bill hearings will be March 24. Following that date, we will move to all-day floor debate.
The Legislature will return to floor debate by considering several gubernatorial appointments reports from committees and non-controversial bills. On the agenda for Monday, February 13 is my bill, LB628, which updates the statutes for professional service by limited liability companies and professional corporations. This will be my first bill to be debated on General File.
LB281, my bill to provide funding to rebuild the State 4-H Camp destroyed by the Bovee Fire, will be heard before the Natural Resources Committee at 1:30 p.m. in Hearing Room 1525 on Wednesday, February 15. This will be the first step in moving this project forward and I am optimistic, that with a strong showing of support, I can secure a priority designation for the bill.
Last week was a busy week that included hearings on three bills I introduced. LB434 requires the Department of Health and Human Services to enroll long-term care hospitals as providers under the medical assistance program. This will allow Madonna and an Omaha long-term care provider to free up bed space for patients that are currently at rural hospitals like Great Plains Health who need more specialized treatment provided by these facilities.
I also presented LB433 which allows Regional Health Districts to have greater control over their budgets. Region II, which includes Lincoln County and 16 other west central counties, lost $1.2 million of funding last year due to their inability to move funds around to take care of local needs. The Department of Health and Human Services was the only party to testify in opposition to the bill. I am now working to get the fiscal note on this bill reduced to be in a position to move it forward.
The final bill that I presented last week was LB32. This bill requires insurance companies who offer Medicare supplement policies to include coverage for individuals under the age of 65 who are eligible for Medicare by reason of disability or end-stage renal disease. Today, Nebraska is one of 16 states that does not include this coverage. I want to thank Steve Kay for bringing this to my attention last summer when I was knocking on doors. He has been a true champion for this cause and will be the primary reason that this bill passes. I am hopeful to get this bill added to one of the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee priority bills.
I want to also note that the first bill I introduced, LB31, which requires the trains to be operated with a two-person crew will be heard before the Transportation and Telecommunication Committee on March 6. Supporters need to make plans to testify in person or submit public comments through the bill’s page on the Legislature’s website in order to give this bill a shot at getting out of committee. Please reach out to my office if you need assistance navigating the public comment process. We need a strong, grassroots push to keep this bill moving. It will remain a strong candidate for priority status if we can get the bill out of committee.