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Indoor vaping banned, hot car rescues allowed as new laws take effect in Nebraska

Indoor vaping banned, hot car rescues allowed as new laws take effect in Nebraska

Aaron Sanderford recaps a roller coaster election day in Nebraska including Biden's win in the 2nd district.

LINCOLN — Starting Saturday, vapers will have to join smokers in indulging their habits outside of public places and work sites.

A new Nebraska law bans the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices in all places that smoking is now banned. That includes restaurants, bars, office buildings, retail stores and other indoor workplaces.

Under state law, an exception is made for licensed vape shops, which are shops that do not sell alcohol or gasoline and which do not let in customers under age 21. However, local ordinances may be more strict.

“This change is about protecting Nebraskans from exposure to secondhand aerosol from e-cigarettes. It is also a great time to try, or retry, quitting e-cigarettes or tobacco,” said Amanda Mortensen, program manager for Tobacco Free Nebraska.

The indoor vaping ban is one of several new laws taking effect this weekend, including some that allow landowners to get special deer hunting permits, green-light people rescuing children from hot cars and open the door for barbers to clip hair in some customers’ homes.

Among the changes:

Hot cars. People cannot be held liable for breaking into a vehicle to rescue a child in an emergency. The law addresses situations such as a child being left in a hot car or being trapped because of an accident. Previously, some would-be rescuers had expressed hesitancy about stepping in without legal authorization.

Deer hunting. Landowners and immediate family members can get special permits to hunt on their own property during a three-day weekend prior to the start of the regular rifle deer season. A landowner can get up to four permits for $5 each, but no more than two can be for adults and no more than two for youths under age 19. Permits will be available next year. The current rifle season starts Saturday.

Home clips. Barbers can now cut hair in customers’ homes if the customers have physical or mental conditions that limit their ability to get out of the house or if the customers are responsible for caring for a disabled person at home. Barbers must get a permit to provide home services. Hairstylists and nail technicians already can provide home services in similar situations. The new law adds customers limited by their mental conditions to the list of those they can serve.

Newborn testing. A potentially fatal genetic condition called spinal muscular atrophy will be added to the list of conditions that Nebraska babies are to be tested for at birth. Heel-prick blood tests already screen for 32 conditions that can be prevented or reduced in severity if caught early and treated. Spinal muscular atrophy, while rare, is the leading genetic, or inherited, killer of children younger than 2.

Handicap parking. People with neurological impairments that limit their mobility to 200 feet can now qualify for a handicapped-accessible parking permit. The change could help some people with autism, as well as with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or traumatic brain injuries. The 200-foot standard is the same applied to people with other impairments.

Double holiday. The second Monday in October will become Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day in Nebraska, starting next year. The day is intended to recognize the historic, cultural and contemporary significance of people indigenous to America and Nebraska, as well as their contributions to society. The joint holiday was a compromise reached after Italian Americans objected to replacing Columbus Day.

Our best staff images from November 2020

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Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-670-2402

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