LINCOLN–The Legislature continued committee hearings and floor debate this week on a wide range of issues, including the legalization of hemp, sexual abuse training for foster parents and expunging records for victims of human trafficking.
The Judiciary Committee heard LB 1133, introduced by Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha. He said the if the bill passed, it would create jobs and capitalize on a growing market for industrial hemp. Hemp can be used to make fabric, rope, paper, clothing, drywall and a variety of other items. Proponents of the bill said legalizing hemp production in Nebraska could mean big money for the state.
Two bills intended to curb gerrymandering were heard by the Legislature’s Executive Board. Legislative Bill 974, introduced by Sen. Tony Vargas, and LB 975, introduced by Sen. Sara Howard, both of Omaha, would prohibit the use of certain data and establish timeline requirements when redrawing legislative and congressional maps. Election districts will be redrawn across the country after the 2020 census.
A bill that would require all Nebraska foster parents to complete sexual assault training was heard by the Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Lincoln Sen. Anna Wishart introduced Legislative Bill 1041 in response to findings from a report that identified 50 verified victims of sexual abuse in Nebraska foster homes from July 2013 to October 2016.
Introduced by Sen. Anna Wishart of Lincoln, Legislative Resolution 293CA would let Nebraskans vote on a constitutional amendment giving them the right to “use or consume medicinal cannabis products, regardless of form, to treat or relieve any medical condition or illness.” If passed, the constitutional amendment also would give the Legislature regulatory authority over medical marijuana, but only if those regulations preserve the right of citizens to consume the drug for medical reasons.
Sex trafficking victims could have their criminal records set aside under a bill heard by the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 9. LB 1132, introduced by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, would provide a system for victims to be absolved of criminal records including charges like prostitution, petty theft and drug abuse.