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Law Introductions in Nebraska legislature

Posted: 01/24/13 09:24

Grand Island State Senator Mike Gloor is again trying to increase the state tax on tobacco products. Senator Gloor introduced a bill two years ago that would have brought the state tax to $1.99 a pack total. He says the extra money would go to cover increased costs to the state due to health care reform. 

On the last day of bill introductions in the Nebraska Legislature, Lincoln State Senator Kathy Campbell introduced a bill that would expand Medicaid coverage to those who do not currently meet the guidelines but can't afford health insurance. Senator Campbell says by expanding Medicaid, the program would cover 54-thousand currently uninsured Nebraskans and would save 500 lives by having the option of early and preventative care. She says they crunched the numbers and says it is cost effective to provide the Medicaid coverage as those with insurance are already picking up the tab for their care as well with higher premiums. This would also save the state millions by eliminating assistance programs. Gov. Dave Heineman doesn’t agree, saying expanded Medicaid would drain money from other state priorities.

A Nebraska lawmaker has moved to repeal a law that extends state-funded prenatal care services to illegal immigrants and other low-income women.
State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont introduced the repeal measure on Wednesday, about six months after the new law went into effect.
Lawmakers restored services for women last year despite strong objections from Republican Gov. Dave Heineman. Heineman is also seeking to defund the program in the budget that he proposed to lawmakers.
Pregnant women lost access to the services in 2010, after the federal government ordered the state to stop providing them through Medicaid. The new law offers services through the Children's Health Insurance Program.
Nebraska Appleseed executive director Rebecca Gould says the bill seeks to undermine a fiscally responsible state policy that protects children's health.

A state lawmaker who fought for years to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska is trying again.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha introduced a repeal measure on Wednesday, the final day for lawmakers to submit bills.
Chambers is an outspoken death-penalty opponent who has repeatedly tried to repeal the practice. He returned to the Legislature after a four-year hiatus imposed by term limits.
His measure would replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. In the bill, Chambers rails against the death penalty as a failure that has harmed the state's reputation for fairness, decency and the dignity of human life.
The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Colby Coash, of Lincoln.

A Nebraska lawmaker has introduced a bill that would lower the state's inheritance tax rates.
Sen. John Wightman of Lexington proposed legislation on Wednesday that would reduce the rates paid by both relatives and non-relatives.
The bill would set a new, 9 percent tax rate on property valued above $15,000, if the person inheriting the property was a relative. The current tax is 13 percent. Property valued at less than $15,000 is not currently taxed.
The measure would also lower the 18 percent tax imposed on non-relatives for property valued above $10,000. Wightman's bill would set the new rate at 13 percent.
The inheritance tax is used by Nebraska's 93 counties, which have vigorously defended it.

Other bills introduced for this legislative session include making all in-home daycares and the daycare vehicles smoke-free
Also introduced in the legislature- The Community Enhancement Financing Assistance Act. The Act will allow for state funding of public projects used to provide cultural, recreational, educational, or public purposes that will enhance the quality of life in Nebraska.