A total of 47 bills were introduced Friday in the Nebraska Legislature. Among the highlights:
State laws requiring seat belt use for adults and children and banning texting while driving would get tougher under LB 807, introduced by Sen. John Harms of Scottsbluff. The bill would allow law enforcement to stop drivers for violating those laws. Currently, drivers can be ticketed for violations only after being stopped for some other traffic infraction.
Fountains would be installed in the four State Capitol courtyards, as called for in the building's original design, under LB 797. The bill, introduced by Sen. John Nelson of Omaha and co-sponsored by 30 other senators, would allocate $2.5 million over three years for the project.
LB 786, introduced by Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue, would create a statewide registry to help law enforcement find family members faster in cases of emergency. The voluntary registry would link emergency contact information to a person's driver's license or state identification card. It could be used when a person is unable to provide emergency contacts to officers because of injury, disability, disorientation or other reasons.
People who get advanced college degrees could get a little state help paying off graduate school loans under LB 787, introduced by Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus. The bill would allow people to take income tax deductions for loan principal payments.
Historic automobile museums would not have to start paying sales taxes on purchases under LB 809, introduced by Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln. He said the bill clarifies state law. It would apply to the Smith Collection Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, Pioneer Village in Minden and the Classic Car Collection in Kearney.
Sales taxes collected on motorboats and personal watercraft would be earmarked for maintaining Nebraska's parks and recreation areas under LB 814, introduced by Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln. The bill would provide about $2.4 million a year for the Game and Parks Commission to use in catching up with a $43 million maintenance backlog.