Senator Sara Howard

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Legislature Reaches Half Way Point in Session

After spending nearly 30 days debating the proposed rules for the Legislature to operate under, we have reached the mid-point of this year’s session using temporary rules to get our work accomplished.  One of the first actions taken by the Legislature was passage of LB 22 which will make across the board cuts to this year’s spending through June 30, 2017 as a first step in addressing the projected $1 billion budget shortfall.  The bill passed on a 42-3 vote and took effect immediately.  The Legislature will soon begin the debate on the 2017-19 biennial budget which will require even more significant budget cuts in order to balance the budget.  As this debate proceeds, I hope that you will continue to share with me your thoughts and opinions on the budget proposal as the Legislature faces many very difficult decisions.

On February 24th, the Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on my bill, LB 188, which would allow the victim of a sexual assault to seek sole parental rights of a child conceived as a result of the assault.  The parental rights of the perpetrator would be terminated if it is found to be in the best interest of the child.   Nebraska currently has no law for terminating a perpetrator’s parental rights so victims must endure the ordeal of co-parenting with their assailant.  There was no opposition to the bill at the hearing and the Judiciary Committee advanced the bill to the full Legislature.  I am optimistic that we can give victims a pathway to protect their children and their parental rights.

As we begin the second half of the session, we face many contentious issues in addition to the budget including repeal of the motorcycle helmet law, voter ID, Medicaid expansion and a constitutional convention to name just a few.  Please do not hesitate to let me know your views on any of the issues that will come before the Legislature.

Sincerely,

Sara Howard
State Senator

March 14, 2017

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